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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:43 am

In the past, Volvo built some of the strongest cars everbuilt, but they boxy, now they are all curved and looks less strong now, so do you think Volvo's are still as strong as they used to be?
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:46 am

Looks can be deceptive. They are still built very well and safety is their major selling point. May be this will help convince you.

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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:29 am

Like with all brands, you can be lucky or your may not be lucky. With Volvo, I was very unlucky, particularly over the last year when my Volvo V50 was towed to the dealer 8 (!) times to fix a problem with the engine that Volvo couldn't fix. Luckily, the car died in a cloud of acrid smoke on the Autobahn on August 2 and my company has given me a rental until my new company car (Volkswagen) is delivered.

I ordered my V50 in 2006 because I thought it was a great car and in all honesty, it was a great car. However, I started to question the quality that Volvo was famous for and really, I can now hand-on-heart say that Volvo is basically a Ford with more up-market packaging and branding. The durability of my V50 was good for four years, then diabolical for one. I see no differentiation between Volvo and other brands I have driven over the years.
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:41 am

I have no idea how strong Volvo's are "these days", but I'll tell you something "quirckie" about them that I don't think very many Volvo owners ever caught onto;

From 1972 until 1997 ( when I retired ) I transported new cars. The company I worked for had a terminal in Buffalo, NY;
I used to take a lot of loads to New York State; every once in a while, after unloading in the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse area, I would have to go into the Buffalo terminal to get a "back-haul"; ( these were all units which came into Buffalo via rail, and we picked them up at a rail-head ); sometimes it would be Ford trucks, ( which work your butt off loading ), and sometimes it was Volvo's; this would have been in the mid to early 90's; some of our equipment in that "era" still used old-style, two-piece loading skids; ( think: two 9 ft sections, pinned together, with each skid being about 10 inches wide, and a 2 in vertical flange on the inside edge.

The thing about Volvo's back then was, the rear wheels were about 6 or 8 inches closer together than the front wheels were. Because of this difference, loading them was very "tricky" ! So tricky in fact, that almost every time I went there to load the things, someone would would miss the skid with a front wheel when backing on, and end up upside down between the loading skids.

If you're wondering what they do with Volvo's that get turned upside down, the answer is, a wrecker comes and takes them to a local junk yard, and the carrier buys yet another new Volvo. ( Which, I might add, makes them extremely pissed off at the driver who did this terrible thing ! ) ( It has even been known to result in a trip to the unemployment line. )

Because of this "quirk", the company HATED Volvo's, and the drivers who got fired for turning them over probably weren't too fond of them either. Before I retired, I asked a lot of people why Volvo made cars like this, but I never got an answer. To this day, anytime I hear Volvo,s mentioned, I tend to "shudder" ! BTW........Saabs were even worse, ( but for an entirely different reason. ) So I have always wondered........what IS IT with these Swedes anyway ?

Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:50 am

Quite strange to hear about the Volvos with a 6 to 8" narrower track on the back axle, I owned a couple of older series Volvos and they were the same track width on both axles.

As to are Volvos as strongly built as they once were, with modern safety standards a present generation Volvo will be streets ahead of its predecessors, where they do differ is that in the 70's when they were heavily sold on their strength, the competition was really bad in comparison, now all cars regardless of manufacturer are far better and the difference between them is far less.
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:06 pm

They are very safe. I think the Ford era Volvos (such as the V70 2008-2012) are really strong durable machines. They are built to last.

The 850/V70 from 1993-2006 were really not durable. I compared them to contemporary Saab, Audi, BMW. Compared to those, the Volvos were about as well engineered as a Trabant. Constantly having basic parts fail due to lazy engineering and severe cost cutting. I saw this over a decade with 3 different fresh new Volvos (it wasn't me choosing). As expensive to run as a Mercedes, as safe, and more discreet. But as cars, I saw a ridiculous amount of failures (basic powertrain items such as electronic throttle modules, interior squeaks, electronics, wiring, brake system, A/C, amateurish AWD systems) that would be totally unacceptable on a Hyundai or even a Tata.

You can go on Volvo boards and conclude these "FWD" Volvos pre-Ford are just not worth having. They mostly all have the same failure points (i.e., they are not supposed to stay strong like a BMW will).

It really depends whether you have a "good" Volvo (usually RWD or 6 cylinder) or a bad one (5 cylinder models or Mitsubishi ones IMO)

[Edited 2011-09-23 06:09:46]

[Edited 2011-09-23 06:11:55]
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:25 pm

Our neighbors used to drive nothing but Volvo and we bought one of their old ones for our son. Solid, but expensive to keep up.

My opinion of Volvo today is that is it a basic car, like a Ford. It is not the luxury car they want to believe they are. They need to get their pricing in line with basic competition, like Ford or Kia. And they need to get their maintenance costs in line as well. Otherwise there is no need for a US consumer to buy one.
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:03 pm

They have strange methods to turn on the windshield wipers:


Video shows an automatic brake test, and as you can see, the car did stop.  
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:54 pm

My parents had a couple of the old tanks when I was growing up and they were extremely strong cars, bodywork wise. However the mechanicals, particularly the electrics were fairly horrendous and the size of the bills swore them off Volvo completely. They were even worse on the Dutch built Volvos (340/360 and the 440/460/480), a friend of mine lost a 480 because of an electrical fire which took out three other cars!
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Are Volvos, Still Strongly Built?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:22 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 5):

I have a '99 V70, 5 cylinder with 219000km on it. It runs and runs giving me no trouble at all. It's built like a tank, has no rust whatsoever. They are easy to maintain, even doing major engine overhaul is semi easy for a guy who knows the difference between a nut and a bolt. Stating it's built like a Trabant clearly shows some lack of automotive knowledge.
I'm sure there are some bad examples out there, but that goes for any make. My worst cars was a BMW and a FORD!
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