What should I look for in a used Volvo S40 saloon?
Visit the Vehicle and Operator Safety Agency website at www.vosa.gov.uk for a little bedtime reading. Over its life, the S40 has been recalled for faults including possible fuel leaks, brake problems and airbag concerns. It's essential to check that the car you are interested in has had all the necessary work done (a Volvo dealer will be able to help).
If you're looking at an early model, check thoroughly for loose trim, because they do not have very well-built interiors. On the mechanical side, suspension ball joints wear all too rapidly. Turn the steering to full lock in both directions and listen out for knocking.
Even if all the electrical kit works, have a knowledgeable acquaintance check the wiring loom for you. These are prone to corrosion, which can lead to all sorts of expensive electrical problems.
Finally, GDI engines were designed to run on super-unleaded fuel and can give problems as the miles mount if they have been run on lower-octane petrol.