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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've spent the last couple of days reading through old threads on this fantastic forum about the S60R's reliability, common issues, and cost of repairs. My conclusions are as follows:

-2004 models had more bugs with electronics/adjustable suspension
-get a 2006+ if you can swing it, the 6-speed auto was improved
-These cars don't like abuse and angle/collar gears can give out
-when wear items do go (clutch, struts) they carry a premium $$

I was pretty much set on a S60R to replace my 02 WRX as it seemed like a more comfortable, liveable, version of the same car, with plenty of punch when you need it. However, after reading more threads, I'm starting to wonder if a S60R around 100k is a financial disaster waiting to happen? Lots of the threads on this forum include input from S60R owners at well under 100k, I'm curious what other issues have popped up for people in that 60-100k area?

I'm 21, moving to college next year and wanted something that would take the 4 hour drive from Malibu to San Luis Obispo in it's stride. What I don't want is a car that is going to cost me thousands in wear items over the next two years...

Any input is greatly appreciated!
 

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Buy a Honda or Toyota until you get out of college. I know it sounds lame but R's are expensive and it's normally constant repairs here and there.
 

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IMO, buying an R with 60-100k miles and hoping not to spend thousands in wear items in the next two years is a recipe for disappointment.
 

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My 04 has ~110k and hasn't caused me any great financial stress yet, most of that was covered by my now-expired VIP warranty. That said, I'm planning on getting a timing belt service done soon and that'll cost me $6-700 easy, which I expect. If I were you, I'd get something cheap and easy to maintain until you get on your feet. It'll just be a money drain, especially once you start upgrading.
 

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Enjoy CalPoly.. it's a great campus. I agree though. @ 100,000 miles, you're looking at the timing belt (if it hasn't been done already), trans flush, replacement of angle gear & haldex fluid; suspension components (shocks... yikes!), possibly even the upper & lower motor mounts. I just hit 100,000, and I'm looking at doing all that minus the trans flush. I need brakes too. Probably going to cost me a little over $1600.00, and that's me doing it myself. If I get stuck, I'll have to shell out some more $$ to a mechanic.

If you find one that has just been serviced, all those things taken care of, and it's not priced too high.. then go for it. Otherwise... I'd have to agree with the rest. Have fun in SLO. I've lived here since 2000. Great place to live!
 

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ANY used car is only as good as its service history. That said, a 100K mile R is not a good idea for a college budget.
 

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Skip the R, get a regular S60
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies, and for confirming what I was thinking. I love the S60R but I most certainly won't be in a position to make regular repairs on a 100k european vehicle.

Guess I'm either keeping my 02 WRX, or buying an older Legacy GT wagon and a miata track car:cool:


and blairboy, thanks! I'm really excited to move to SLO! Love the city/people.
 

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The thing I've found with mine ('04 bought with 48k, now have 92k) is that it is relatively reliable on a day-to-day basis, but when something breaks, it is usually BIG. I've done the collar gear ($700), clutch/slave ($a lot), and a new transfer case ($1600+ labor), so don't expect for it to never break on you. That said, I just graduated college and I bought my R with my savings at the end of sophomore year. So it's not doable, but you do have to have an income and discipline. Good luck!
 

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Agree. In college, I was super excited to get my dads 1992 960. 10 years later, and I just sold it two months ago.

Having just turned about 107k, I need a front motor mount, but will be getting under her for a more thorough inspection. No garage or driveway is no bueno if you have a volvo and are on this website.
 

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I had my car my last year of undergrad and have had it as a grad student for the last 4 years. I have been very lucky to not have anything break and I understand the cautiousness regarding buying a higher mileage R. You can always keep an eye out for an R that has a good service history with major things already replaced, you never know what might pop up and be a good car, even on the budget of a broke college person :D.
 

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I bought my car a little over 15 months ago with 70k. I currently have 111xxx (don't we love commuting?) and have only had to do routine maintenance (oil changes of course and timing belt). However, I am starting to get a weird sound coming from the engine bay at idle (only audible if outside the vehicle). So I am thinking, with the day in and day out beating that this car takes (both mileage wise and the occasional WOT blast that is ever so fun (cannot wait for colder weather!) it is only a matter of time before something costly comes up I'm sure. Hell for all I know I could have a few blown struts. But yeah at the end of the day it all boils down to prior maintenance. When I got my car, I received a laundry list of maintence that had been done to my car prior to my ownership. So I'm pretty sure that mine was well maintained (and not to be sexist, but I believe female owned) so my cars reliability can possibly be attributed to that. Now the search for the closest piece of wood for me to knock...
 

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Keep ur Subie til you're done with school. WRX is plenty fun for now. Almost everything on an R costs more to fix, but they are magnificent cars when everything is working.
 

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speedf50 - Just remember, though, that you can't only prejudice the S60 R when it comes to expensive repairs/maintenance. ANY used, high-performance European luxury car (or Japanese, for that matter) is prone to the same thing, especially if the previous owner drove it hard. The S60 R DOES NOT respond kindly to teenage driving habits, abuse, stunts, etc., so keep that in mind if you find out the seller's high school kid was the primary driver (not uncommon in West County St. Louis - plenty of spoiled brats out here!).. I'm on my second SR, a 2005 GT. I've only owned this one for 3,000 miles, so far so good. My first was a 2004 SR GT, owned from 37,000 miles to 67,000 miles. In that time frame, in addition to the regular fluid flushes & oil changes (60K service was several hundred bucks), I had to replace a pair of wheel hub bearings (common failure, a few hundred bucks a pop) and that was it. I sold it to a local family and remained in contact with them -- it now has 94K and they did end up spending about $1,600 to replace all four 4C shocks which were shot at around 80K, plus a few hundred bucks every-so-often to replace mounts, gaskets, and other wear-and-tear items that go out in the 80 - 100K range. They HAVE NOT had any angle gear issues to date. Good luck, -Scott in St. Louis
 

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Just going to agree with everyone else. The cost of ownership of a luxury car isn't the car payment... it's the upkeep.

You buy the service record of the vehicle. I recently bought my 2004 at a huge premium because I had what had been done to the car from day 1 right in front of me. The fact that it was a one owner car that had been maintained by the Volvo dealers where the owner had lived it's entire life, and that the dealership had just completed about $3000 (their price) worth of work to the vehicle when I bought it all went into the equation.. This was a 60,000 mile car. That said, I still ended up having to put another couple hundred in parts and some time in my labor on the car to get it where I am satisfied with it for now... all little stuff, like wheel bearings for the rear, rear parking brake shoes (which kind of torques me off, as they replaced the disc pads all the way around and resurfaced the rotors... apparently with an on the car lathe (if at all), and didn't bother to pull the rears off and inspect, trust me I KNOW they didn't take them off... that's just one example of a shortcut that can happen, even at a dealership or a good indy.

So, even though you can purchase a car that was well taken care of, you will still be putting money into it. That's the way it is. Whoever said the cheapest car is the one you already own is pretty much spot on. Enjoy your WRX now... that would be a great school car. Maybe by the time you get out and into your career, the new R-Spec Polestar S60 will finally be available and might actually outperform the 04-07 R's (blasphemy, I know) or you can find a creampuff like mine out there in the older ones that has been a garage queen and is ready for you.
 

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I'm in college and have an 04 R with 75,000 miles on it, never had any big issues. Money/time management is key, I have $8k set aside for any repairs I need done over the course of my college career. If you work your butt off and save your money it's a great car to have, just don't abuse it and you'll be fine. Of course doing your own work will save you tons of money, but it can still add up. My advice would be to check out other cars first, and if you are dead set on an R determine if you can do the repairs yourself, or if you can find a good friendly/cheap garage to help you on the big items.

Contrary to what most R owners will tell you, since most of them have a "I drive a premium car, you couldn't afford it" mentality, the R is no more expensive to maintain than a basic BMW or Mercedes, and only barely more expensive to maintain than a regular Volvo. My family has owned 5 2002+ Volvo's now, and the R hasn't taken any more money than our 2005 XC-90 or 2002 S60 2.4T. When you go online to these forums typically you'll only find the horror stories, no one takes the time to post up a history of all the parts still working properly on their cars because no one cares. The R will take money, but it won't drain you of everything you own, look at cheaper asian cars first, but if your heart lies with an R you will only be happy driving one. Believe me I learned the hard way...
 

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I bought my 04 S60R with 84k miles from Santa Monica Volvo with full service history and I have had to do only minor maintenance, it now has 98k on it. I had to do a trans flush which I did myself with the IPD kit and I went to Toyota to buy the fluid, my car is an auto by the way. I had to replace 2 coil packs but I went ahead and replaced all 5. I lowered the car with TME springs then had Marks Volvo do the sum calibration. I replaced the right front axle myself with a unit from Fast Undercar. I just recently replaced both lower control arms that I got from IPD and I added there poly engine cradle mount inserts"highly recommended". Everything else I have done to the car has been performance oriented. I did go ahead and buy a timing belt kit with water pump from IPD when they had there garage sale and I will probably have Marks Volvo install it when my car hits 100k, that will be around $500. Overall it has been a great car and it responds well to mods, plus the seats are the most comfortable EVER!
 

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Check the CARFAX on whatever you're about to buy... these days if the vehicle was serviced regularly at a Volvo dealer it WILL show that on the CARFAX so I'd avoid buying something that lacks this.
 
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