Are Volvos Considered Reliable Vehicles?

by JRO on October 1, 2013

Volvos have long held a reputation for being one of the most reliable cars on the market. This reputation has been earned over a long period of time, but late-model Volvos are made differently. To find out if Volvos are reliable, one must consider actual facts. Irv Gordon’s story is one such fact. Irv Gordon, a retired schoolteacher, is breaking every automobile record with his high-mileage Volvo. He turned over three million miles in his 1966 Volvo, and he said while he is confident the car could get to four million, he’s not so sure that he is capable. Since 1966, automakers have all been through major revolutions. Cars are not what they were before. However, the use of a car covers was key in the durability of this vehicle, since a good cover will help with the body and the engine, avoiding scratches that sometimes are inevitable when driving so many miles Volvo was sold to a Chinese manufacturer in 2010 and since that time, Volvo’s reputation has frequently come into question. Volvo sales were down in the beginning of 2013 compared even to 2012, but sales may pick up in the second half of the year. August Volvo sales already show an improvement.

Volvo Recall

This September, Volvo issued a recall for 7767 sedans, citing software glitches. The company stated that no injuries were reported from the malfunction. Back in 2007, Volvo had to recall more than 46,000 vehicles for faulty fuel pressure sensors on some models and left door assembly on others.

Specialty Mechanic Training

Volvo mechanics are specially trained, and the company pays for specialty certifications. Most mechanics believe that Volvos are great cars to have for the family. They are reliable and they last. The problem is, when something does go wrong, Volvos are very expensive to fix. The trade-off is that fixing a Volvo is an investment in a car that you can keep for a long time, whereas putting that same kind of money into a lower-quality vehicle might not make the most sense in the long term. With a Volvo it makes sense to go ahead and make those repairs. 

Safety Ratings

Since, for the most part, mechanics either work for Volvo or likely do not work on Volvos at all, a true unbiased opinion should come from media services that test all types of cars. The 2013 Volvo S60, one example of Volvo’s craftsmanship, received the highest safety rating levels issued by US News, but in reliability it only got 3.5 out of 5, lower than most upscale mid-size vehicles. Car and Driver’s testing of the 2012 Volvo S60 was disastrous: the vehicle broke down and needed dealership repairs twice during the test. This incident resulted in some unfortunate reviews for Volvo, which could have been different had the car that the reviewers used to test actually been reliable. The concerning factor in this review was that the car was not reliable.

In 2006 in a listing of the top 100 most reliable cars of the decade showed the first Volvo to come in at 15th place. This was below several models of less prestigious cars. A 2013 list of the 18 most-reliable cars does not even include a Volvo.

Award-Winning Remote Diagnostic Service

Volvo Trucks won an award for diagnostic service. The 2012 award was for Commercial Vehicle Repair and Maintenance from Frost & Sullivan.

Historically, Volvo cars have shown themselves to be very reliable and safe. But recent models have not lived up to the company’s standards.

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Martin Meriwether writes on car mechanics, car functionality, car repair & maintenance, car upkeep, car upgrades, car technology and other such topics. For issues pertaining to Volvo vehicles, Martin knows it’s best to consult with a reputable and established Volvo mechanic.




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