So… New Car

Here’s how that sort of thing happens around our house…

Sometime in the summer, a mechanic at Zandee’s Auto Repair points out that the van I’m driving has a rusty frame and floor boards.

How rusty? Rusty enough that they aren’t sure it would come down in one piece if they put it up on the lift.

That’s not good.

So Kristen, being Kristen, thinks about this a lot. More to the point, she checks the used car classifieds regularly. Over the course of a few months, she talks about how nice it might be to have a Volvo station wagon. The idea being that we’d buy a used (but still new-ish) wagon that she would drive and pass on her Saturn to me.

Which would be fine.

I’m totally OK with having the second best car because I really don’t care what I drive–as long as it works. Oddly enough, this is exactly why I’m a bit leery about European imports. When things do go wrong with those, the parts are often insanely expensive. I know. I had an Audi at one point. It had many good points (the speedometer went up to 200 mph for a reason), but one painfully bad point–the cost of repairs.

Except here’s what happens…

Kristen sees an ad for a Volvo wagon in the paper. It’s a good price. An affordable price.

I go for a test drive.

It’s nice.

I decide that we might as well buy the car, but that I should talk to people who know cars well about the potential risks (like maintenance) as it’s a 1998.

After talking to mechanics, I learn that it was a good year for that particular model. I decide it would be good to take it into Betten Imports as a last step before buying it to make absolutely sure…

Except I don’t.

The owner calls me and let’s me know that someone else has test driven it, wants desperately to buy it, but that I’ve got right of first refusal…

So I buy it.

I find out later that the other potential buyer actually called back trying to outbid me, but the Volvo’s (then) owner said, “No.” He didn’t feel comfortable doing that.

Which makes me the owner of a 1998 Volvo v70, a car that Kristen likes, but oddly enough doesn’t drive because it’s older than the Saturn.


P.S. Our daughters both like it better than the Dodge Caravan it replaced. There are a variety of reasons. For example, there’s a third seat in the back that pops up, allowing them to sit facing backwards–and possibly make funny faces at the people in the cars behind us. Another reason… The fabric on the ceiling doesn’t hang down (as it did in the van) and touch people’s heads.

Personally I just like the fact that the gas doesn’t randomly cut out for no good reason. Near the end, the only way I could stop that from happening on the van was by gunning it every so often. Or maybe constantly. It just depended on the van’s mood that day.

2 thoughts on “So… New Car”

  1. I have a 1998 C70, very good car – very similar to it’s wagon cousin the v70. I have had it for a good while and currently have 160K miles on mine. A few things you will inevitably run into.. The ABS module will go bad eventually. It’s an $900 fix at the dealer, but there are several people online that will rebuild them for around 150 (you send them the module, they fedex it back – google it when your trac light comes on). I keep synthetic oil in mine but that’s a matter of preference I guess. The window motors may go bad, this may be just a C70 thing though. Be sure to replace the timing belt when it is due. is a good resource for your car. Keep up with the maintenance and you’ll enjoy the car!

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