Why Volvos are Painfully Average – 2022

Volvos aren’t necessarily bad – but they are far from the perfect purchase if you ever decide to go for one. This brand is all about safety, and sometimes they achieve their safety-related goal at the expense of pretty much everything else, turning a Volvo into a painfully average luxury car.

I suppose the words “painfully average” and “luxury car” shouldn’t be put in the same sentence – but that’s the only way to describe Volvos.

Because of how Volvos look and work, some people tend to describe them as “premium cars,” something that seems like a less-than luxury car category.

Either way, this brand tends to be the go-to option for people who prefer a safe and sound car over everything else. And if that sounds like you, a Volvo isn’t a bad choice at all!


On the other hand, if you’re more of a full-package kind of guy, buying a Volvo could be far from your number one choice.

Simply put, Volvos tend to be safer and more dependable than certain luxury cars – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good option.

There are certain maintenance-related issues I’ll talk about below, alongside other details as well.

In the end, it’s all about what you want, though.

Are Volvos Bad?

Volvos do not have a lot of problems. The main issue is that, when they do present a problem, it’s going to be something that’ll cost more than usual to fix. Certain car parts are by default expensive, but Volvos take repair costs to a whole new level.

Unfortunately, you may have issues with your Volvo after the 3-year mark.

It could be worse, though: I once had a problem with a car – the battery died a year on the dot after I bought it!

While a dead battery is far from a serious issue (and not that expensive if you compare it with other car problems), that’s not what you should expect out of a Volvo.


After three years, Volvos tend to have issues with the:

  • Engine
  • Exhaust System
  • Computer Software

Believe me when I tell you none of these three issues are cheap to fix – and most of the time require a mechanic to deal with them.

Not only are these issues expensive to fix, but they also tend to cost more than usual if you own a Volvo.

Why are Volvos expensive to fix? Because Volvo-specific car parts tend to cost more than others. Maintenance-related costs for Volvos are the same.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, though! Volvos are well-known as luxury cars.

What are the common problems with Volvos?

Most Volvos tend to have issues with their computer and navigation system. Other issues tend to be model-specific; in other words, you may face one issue or another depending on the specific Volvo that you buy.

Cards on the table: Volvos aren’t exactly the least reliable brand out there – but they are far from the best as well.

As I’ve said before, this brand tends to make painfully average luxury cars.

And there’s also a distinction to make: new Volvos are not the same as old ones. You’ll probably have nothing to worry about for two to three years, give or take.

Unfortunately, problems start when you’re in the three- to eight-year timeframe.


Once your Volvo is three years out of the manufacturer, you will face certain issues. On average, Volvos tend to have engine, transmission, or computer issues when you’re at that point.

Some first-generation models also had defective sensors out of the gate, but most of that is fixed by now.

Word to the wise, though: try to avoid first-generation anything (cars, phones, computers, etc.) – because, nowadays, products tend to come out in a rush. Anyway, Volvos are no different.

Later models tend to be more stable within that timeframe. After that, it’s all about chance. You may have no issues at all for years – or you may have to fix your engine on day 731.

Are Volvos expensive to fix?

Luxury cars tend to be more expensive to maintain than usual. Even though your average Volvo may not be as expensive to fix as other luxury cars are, you may have to spend quite a bit of money when something goes wrong.

There’s a good side and a bad side when it comes to Volvos and maintenance.

Let’s cover the bad side first (that way, the good side will sound even better).

Volvos are expensive to fix – or, at least, they’re expensive when you compare them to the average car.

Repairing your Volvo is going to be bad, but it’s not going to be breaking the bank kind of bad. Let’s just say it’ll cost you more than usual – an above-average bill.

Wait! There’s something great about Volvo. A few years ago, this company introduced a lifetime warranty for all cars.

That’s right! If you have a problem with certain car parts (not all of them), Volvo will pay the bill for you.

What does Volvo’s lifetime warranty cover? Batteries, spark plugs, filters, fuses, and a bunch more stuff. Then again, it doesn’t cover everything: you can only get it for free if it broke because of defects, not accidents.

In other words, Volvo will take care of anything that wears out or stops working – but not because you had a car crash. If your battery dies, Volvo will take care of you; if someone steals your battery, you’re on your own.

Policies and warranties change all the time, so you better check yours before you get any ideas, though.

Is Volvo the most reliable car?

Volvos are not unreliable but they are not the most reliable car you’ll ever drive. Most studies claim these cars rank halfway through when it comes to reliability.

There are two things you have to consider: time and warranties.

I have talked about both these things in this article, but let’s go through them again (and compare them).

First, you have to consider a Volvo is a reliable car – for up to three years. After that timeframe, you should expect a drop in reliability and know something will break.

Of course, you may be lucky and have no issues whatsoever. Unfortunately, most Volvo owners report something going wrong somewhere past the three-year mark.

Then again, you have to consider the lifetime warranty Volvo offers. Sure, something may break – but Volvo may cover it.

Sure, going to the repair shop never feels like a good trip to make, but you won’t be as upset if you know someone else is paying for it.

As a caveat, remember the lifetime warranty doesn’t cover absolutely everything.

And, also, you may have a different warranty if you own a Volvo, so make sure you check it out.

How many years does a Volvo last?

A Volvo usually lasts for up to 20 years or 200,000 miles. You should keep up with yearly maintenance, drive carefully, and consider climate conditions to make the most out of your Volvo and extend its lifespan as much as possible.

I always come back to this point: I’m talking about averages here. There’s a chance you buy a Volvo and it lasts for 25 years. Or it may stop working altogether somewhere in the 15-year mark.

On average, you have 20 years’ worth of Volvo driving.

Then again, those 20 years depending on your driving habits and maintenance. You should also consider mileage.

If you clock 200,000 miles in two years, your Volvo is going to be pretty beat up by the time it turns 20 – or it may never reach 20 at all.

Your average driver has two decades to enjoy their Volvo, though.

I highly encourage you to keep an eye on your engine, oil, coolant, and all that stuff to make sure your car lasts as long as possible, Volvo or otherwise.

Do Volvos hold their value?

Volvos don’t tend to hold their value over time. You can expect a 10% value loss in the first year alone. After five years, you’ll sell your Volvo for 35% of its original price.

In certain scenarios, Volvos lose 20% of their value in the first year alone. That’s not a good look at all!

Why do Volvos lose their value over time? Nobody knows for sure why Volvo’s resale value drops so steeply. It may have to do with that three-year window these cars have before something breaks. Or it may be because nobody wants a used Volvo.

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t look at a Volvo as an investment.

Fortunately, this weird resale condition presents a great opportunity. You can buy a two-year-old Volvo for half the price, give or take.

Should you buy a used Volvo? Well, it depends. If it comes with a lifetime warranty and is cheap enough, you may have a great deal in front of you.

Then again, buying a second-hand Volvo close to its brand-new price is far from the deal of a lifetime. Remember, the resale value will drop even more by the time you decide to sell it.


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