R&CC Fleet: Ram Kanadia – Running Report: Volvo V70 2.4 (170) SE

I thought I would take this opportunity to update the running report of my car for the last 3 months. I will eventually do this with all my cars but thought I would test the water with the Volvo.

Cost this period: £2180 excluding insurance

Mileage this period: 2703 Miles

Cost per mile: 80p excluding Insurance

Since buying the V70 earlier this year, there were a few things that I wanted to get sorted as soon as I had the chance. The first thing on the list was to get the cambelt replaced – I heard a few horror stories on the specialist Volvo forum where cambelts failed before its recommended change time of 75,000 miles. This was more a precautionary measure rather than necessity but considering it was such an involved task I took the chance to get a few other bits replaced. Second on the list was an Automatic Gearbox Oil change – this made a huge difference on my previous Range Rover and it was well recommended to do this to prolong the life of the gearbox. The oil change was also supposed to provide a smoother gear change – when comparing my previous Jaguar XJ and Range Rover the Volvo seemed a little agricultural in its power delivery. Other items which were changed included the fuel filter, spark plugs, coolant, brake fluid and power steering system flush. All this work, as expected cost an arm and a leg but after negotiating with a few dealers I was shocked to discover the charges were higher than any of my previous cars – even the Porsche GT2!  The initial quote of £2600 was quickly renegotiated to just over £1000 at a Volvo main dealer. I was happy with the quote but the dealer was still some distance from where I live and my age meant I could not be offered a courtesy car.

Volvo ownership proving to be trouble-free but expensive

As an exercise I called a small but very knowledgeable specialist who managed to quote me £700 for the agreed work. I much prefer to deal with small specialists as they often offer unrivalled levels of knowledge – this service centre was no exception. Fine, the centre did not offer a cup of coffee or a Swedish designed chair to sit on – rather it was a matter of speaking to the technician and handing over the keys. In my experience of large franchised dealers, you need to constantly chase them for updates and the person dealing with you over the phone is almost never the person working on the car; there always seems to be a clueless service representative who does not know much about the mechanical parts of the car.  The old boy working on my car had many years’ experience under his belt – a service task like this was not a problem and any concerns could be voiced directly to him without waiting days for a call back. The car ran faultlessly after the service!

The service revealed that the inner parts of both front tyres were bald and at most, there was 2mm of thread! The car loved to spin its wheels with the slightest of application of the throttle. There was also a problem of the car wheel knocking, but the specialist assured me that the tyres were causing this despite me contesting otherwise (They were correct!). The rear tyres were a different brand and still had 6mm of thread across them. After a few calls I decided that Michelin were the best tyre brand for my needs and my search revealed that Costco and Kwik Fit were among the cheapest suppliers. The tyres came in at a little over £500 which was fairly reasonable considering the cost of new tyres on my other cars.  When I replaced the tyres, the fitter told me that one of my wheels was buckled and despite not releasing any air it did have a negative effect on the handling.  They offered a solution for £50 from a local company but they would not fit the new tyre in the meantime – I had no option but to use the car space saver.

As the new tyre wasn’t fitted straight away meant that Ram was left to use the space-saver

After spending some time thinking and researching I decided that a repaired alloy will never be as strong as an undamaged one. My only resort was to buy a replacement from Volvo as time was of the essence for a further cost of £310. I then decided to get the new tyre fitted by Kwik Fit who were surprisingly good. My first local Kwik-Fit decided they charge £35+VAT for fitted the tyre and balancing the alloy – I think they must have been drunk! Another Kwik-Fit said they could do the same job for £12 all inclusive! The chap was very helpful and another American car enthusiast – an owner of a classic Mustang. He cleaned the space saver before putting it back and greased the hub before fitting the new wheel and tyre – he even used a torque wrench rather than a machine to mount the wheel to avoid damage! I was more confident in that specific Kwik-Fit than most other dealers and I am confident that I will use them again.

So far then, I had spent £700 on a service, £500 on tyres, £310 on a new alloy wheel, and £12 on fitting; a grand total of £1522 in the space of a month. The next month cost me nothing – the car was better than ever and everything worked. Keeping to tradition; every time I spend a fortune on my car I tend to sell it soon after, Friday saw the sale of my Volvo V70 to a trader mainly because the car did not offer anywhere near the level of refinement that I was used to on my previous cars. So, excluding insurance costs, the car cost my £658 on fuel and the £1522 stated above – a grand total of £2180, not bad for a total of 3.5 months of ownership.

Luxury? Yes, but not quite on par with the Range Rover or Jaguar XJ X350

The next car has also arrived, but all will be revealed upon release of the next running report. That concludes the report for this period and I hope the next will be much less expensive.



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