What should I look for in a used Volvo V50 estate?
As a rule, Volvos tend to wear high mileages very well, but this could lead to neglect from complacent owners. As such, look for evidence that the car has been properly maintained, both in the obvious areas such as a full service history and lots of documentation, but also in the details. For example, are the tyres all from a premium brand? If not, you might question whether costs have been cut in other areas too.
The V50 is also known to work its way through air conditioning condensers, so ensure the climate control blows cold. Also rock the car from side to side and listen for any clicking noises from the suspension as the lower suspension arms and drop links could need replacing.
The V50 has been recalled numerous times, most noticeably for potential leaks in the fuel pipes and power steering pipes, faulty handbrakes and faulty cooling fans. It’s good practice to ensure this remedial work has been carried out.
What are the most common problems with a used Volvo V50 estate?
If you only ever do short runs, look for a petrol model rather than a diesel due to the risk of blocked diesel particulate filter (DPF). Note too that from 2008, the 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesels require new Eolys fluid every 37,000 miles or so to allow the DPF to operate at lower temperatures, and will also require a new DPF at about 75,000 miles or six years, which can cost in excess of £500. The same applies to some V50s from 2007, depending on whether they are Euro 3 (no DPF) or Euro 4 (DPF) compliant.
With other diesel engines, the DPF should in theory last the lifetime of the car, providing you regularly do long runs to allow the soot to burn off. As ever, failure to do this can result in expensive repairs.
If you’re looking at a five-cylinder T5, D4 or D5-engined V50, ensure that the timing belt and tensioners have been changed every four years or 60,000 miles, because failure to do so could result in a four-figure repair bill for a wrecked engine.
V50s with an automatic gearbox require a fluid and filter change every 40,000 miles, while blocked sunroof drains can also result in wet interior carpets.
Is a used Volvo V50 estate reliable?
The V50 scores an average rating in the What Car? Reliability Index with axle and suspension problems and electrical faults accounting for the majority of claims. Volvo itself finishes 23rd out of 38 manufacturers, although that's still ahead of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.