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Are Volvos Expensive to Maintain: Your Top Questions Answered!

Are Volvos Expensive to Maintain: Your Top Questions Answered!

Long known as some of the most dependable cars in the world, Volvos are driven by millions of people on a daily basis. 

But like any vehicle, a Volvo will need to be properly maintained. Will it be expensive to do so? Here are the answers to your questions.

If you want to buy a Volvo, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that when compared to similar European cars such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and others, Volvos stack up very well against the competition in terms of maintenance costs.

On average, you can expect to spend just shy of $800 per year to keep your Volvo properly maintained. Though slightly higher than the $650 average annual maintenance cost associated with other European luxury cars, the difference is negligible enough to make little if any difference in your buying decision.

However, we should note that the annual cost to maintain a Volvo is almost twice as much as that to maintain comparable U.S. or Japanese brand vehicles, so you may want to keep this in mind when looking for your next vehicle.

As to why the maintenance costs are higher with Volvo, much of it has to do with the fact that most Volvo vehicles require very specialized parts and software.

Since these parts are so specialized, they can sometimes be hard to find. Thus, when they are in high demand but in short supply, the cost always increases.

Another bit of good news is that once you buy a Volvo, regular maintenance is about all it will need in most cases. 

In numerous surveys, we have found that the typical Volvo will maybe need service beyond its normal maintenance perhaps one time per year. 

Of those times, less than 10% were for repairs considered to be major, meaning you won’t be spending a tremendous amount of money for any unexpected repairs.

Average Volvo Maintenance Costs

As we’ve already noted, you can expect to spend just a bit less than $800 per year to maintain your Volvo, which is less than most European cars but more than U.S. such as Cadillacs.

Overall, if you own your Volvo for 10 years, most experts estimate the typical owner will spend around $13,500 over that 10-year period on regular maintenance and any unexpected repairs. 

While this may sound like a big number, it actually is not. 

Averaging out to only $1,350 annually, this is still about $2,000 below the average 10-year maintenance costs of similar European vehicles.

As we discussed earlier, most Volvos do not need major repairs very often. 

In most studies, it has been found that the average Volvo will have a 30% chance of requiring a major repair within the first 10 years of ownership.

Overall, Volvo maintenance costs over a 10-year period are only about $1,700 more than the industry average for other luxury cars, including U.S., Japanese, and European. 

As for its chances of needing a major repair within a decade, Volvo’s 30% is actually almost five percent less than other cars. 

So while you may need to spend a bit more now and then for a specialized part, chances are you won’t have to worry about extremely expensive repairs very often.

Typical Volvo Maintenance Schedule

Once you own a Volvo, the recommended Factory Scheduled Maintenance is every 7,500 miles or once per year for model years 2012 or older. 

If you have a 2013 or newer Volvo, your Factory Scheduled Maintenance is once per year or every 10,000 miles.

When you take your Volvo in for its regularly scheduled maintenance, a technician will usually perform an oil change using 5W-30 oil, and will also change the oil filter. 

Along with this, your Volvo’s tires will be inspected and likely rotated to ensure even tread wear. If your Volvo has a touchscreen, its software will also be checked and updated as needed. 

This is very important since the software is critical to maintaining your car’s various systems and alerting you to any problems that may develop while on the road.

Should you drive your Volvo an extremely large number of miles per year, in the range of 20,000 or more, you will need to take your vehicle in for service twice per year. 

However, since you will be properly maintaining your vehicle, there is little chance you will be met with an unexpected and expensive repair surprise!

Do Volvos Have a Lot of Problems?

While Volvos do have a worldwide reputation for excellence and reliability, they are like most vehicles in that they do come with some problems that seem to occur in many of its models.

For many Volvo models, the most serious problems include excessive oil consumption, as well as transmission failure and even sudden engine failure. 

However, when these problems take place, they usually don’t do so until your Volvo has been driven between 75,000-100,000 miles or even more.

As for which Volvo models seem to have more problems than others, the Volvo S80 appears to top the list. 

In production from 1998-2016, the S80 has had engine and transmission problems reported far more than other Volvo models. Typically, repairs of this nature cost between $4,000-$7,000.

The Volvo V70 wagon has also garnered complaints regarding transmission and engine failure. Like the S80, these problems most often take place once the car reaches 100,000 miles.

Finally, the Volvo S60 sedan seems to experience problems not only with its transmission and engine but also with excessive oil consumption. 

Manufactured since 2000, the 2001 and 2012 models have received the most complaints from owners.

However, if you are looking for a silver lining in this, we think we have one!

Even if you do need to have a major repair done to your Volvo, chances are it will pay off in terms of how long your car will last. 

If you follow the recommended Factory Service Schedule and tend to a major repair that may happen now and then, research shows the average Volvo vehicle will last a solid 20 years.

Thus, the money you spent to purchase your Volvo and whatever money is spent on maintenance and repairs will be looked at as a smart investment.

Tips for Lowering Volvo Maintenance Costs

Since you don’t want to spend an excessive amount of your hard-earned money on car maintenance, we do have a few tips for you that can help to reduce your expenses in this area.

To begin with, always take your Volvo in for its regularly scheduled maintenance! 

Though we know you’ve got plenty of other things to keep you busy personally and professionally, failing to keep up with your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule is a recipe that will result in a major repair later on. 

Thus, get your oil changed, have the tires checked, and everything else in between. Along with this, trust your Volvo only to a mechanic and service center that knows everything there is to know about Volvos. 

If you don’t, chances are a mechanic who is not trained on servicing Volvos will create much bigger problems for you and your car.

Next, pay close attention to your Volvo’s tires. 

Even if you take your car in for regular maintenance and have the tires checked and rotated, take some time now and then to check your tires for anything unusual, such as excessive tread wear, punctures, or other damage.

Also, don’t ignore any unusual sounds, knocks, or other things that may signal a problem has developed. 

Even if it’s not time for your car’s regular maintenance visit, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to your mechanic so they can check out the problem. 

Even if it turns out to be nothing, you’ll have peace of mind once you get behind the wheel.

Finally, make it a point to be smart when driving. 

By this, we mean don’t do things that put excessive pressure on your brakes and tires, since this will make them wear out faster than they should. 

By obeying speed limits, avoiding as much stop-and-go driving as possible, and slowing down as needed when making turns, you can keep your Volvo in great shape for decades.

Is a Used Volvo a Good Car to Buy?

While a brand-new Volvo will be somewhat expensive, you may have noticed there are many used Volvos for sale at low prices. 

However, this does not mean they are ready for the junkyard. Actually, finding used Volvos at low prices is not uncommon!

Generally, these cars are priced so low when used due to the simple fact that luxury cars, of which Volvo is included, tend to depreciate at a faster rate than other makes and models of standard cars.

Since they depreciate quickly, many Volvo owners decide to trade in their vehicles when they start to get outdated. 

When this happens, an ample supply of Volvos are available to buyers. 

However, since the cars are already considered to be outdated, require parts that can be expensive and sometimes hard to find, and require service from mechanics who have been specifically trained to service Volvos, some people hesitate to buy a used Volvo when seeking another vehicle.

Now that all of your top questions have been answered to your satisfaction, the time has come to decide if you want to purchase a new or used Volvo. 

Though some models may experience various problems, Volvo has not gotten where it is today by manufacturing substandard vehicles. 

Once you start looking closer at Volvos, you’ll soon see the positives associated with owning these cars far outweigh the negatives.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!