Is a used Volvo S40 reliable?

Buying a used Volvo S40 can be a gamble because of its below-average reliability scores. The Volvo S40 series had some low reliability scores with other problems like high fuel average or oil pressure sensor problems. However, if we talk about maintenance or repairing of the vehicle, then the car is not actually that bad and can be a good pick.

Volvo S40

The S40 was a series of Volvo cars that included both sedan and estate models. The S40 was in production from 1995 to 2012, when it was discontinued for the new Volvo V40. There were two generations of S40s.

The Estate model from the first generation was called the “V40,” but the Estate model in the second generation was called “V50.”

The car came in two drivetrains: front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive options. The sedan models had 1.6 to 1.8 liter straight engines with a 1.9 turbo engine, and the Estate model had 2.0 T engines. The second generation had many models, with the most powerful S40 SE T5 having a 2.5 L turbo engine.


The reliability of a car is always an important measure if you are planning to buy a used car. Reliability can tell you about the maintenance cost, major repairs, and the previous owner’s reviews about the car. The car’s reputation is everything when it comes to buying a used car.

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The reliability of the S40 is certainly not the greatest, and it has a score of 52.35, which is below average. It competes with cars like the Hyundai Elantra, Audi A4, Acura TSX, and Subaru Impreza. If you’re planning to buy one of these, then the Volvo S40 is not a bad choice. Apart from Hyundai Elantra or Acura TSX, the S40 has better reliability scores than others.


The S40, being a Volvo, has one of the best ratings when it comes to safety features. The car was made just like other Volvos, which are made for safety in the event of any crash or collision. The IIHS gave it brilliant ratings in all of its departments. The driver’s injury measures are exceptionally good. The side collision safety is also really high and overall, it’s a solidly safe car.

Other safety features include all of the active and passive safety features like electronic stability control which helps in stabilizing the car, in case of any loss of balance or destabilization. The car has airbags and side curtains. All in all, the safety features of the S40 can be compared to any modern car from today.


The maintenance of a car is not an easy task. Buying a used luxury car like the Volvo S40 is easy due to its high depreciating rates of luxury cars, but maintaining them is not a piece of cake. The maintenance cost of the S40 is not above average, but it is still higher than its competitors.

The other factor of measuring the maintenance of a car is to see how often a car requires maintenance. This includes if a car demands any expensive major repairs in a 3-year span. The S40 has a very high chance of needing a major repair, with a score of 1.53. This score is way below average and lower than its competitors.

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People’s reviews

Despite its high maintenance costs and low-reliability scores, the comfort and luxury of the S40 are still liked by many people and the average owner’s rating of this car is 4.4 out of 5. This is a very good rating keeping in mind the hefty repair bills of the car. This means people are still satisfied with the S40.

Buying a used S40

If we look at the time when this car was launched, it was really famous. It won awards in Canada and in South Africa. People are still buying S40s because of their practical safety features and normal maintenance rates. The luxury of driving a Volvo is also something that is hard to beat.

Issues to look for before buying

If you are still planning to buy a used Volvo S40, then there are some things you should avoid and issues you should look out for, including:

  • Fuel rail pressure sensor – it controls the fuel pressure, and if broken, you will have issues with lack of power and low acceleration.
  • Headliners – the headliners inside the car experience issues with falling down from the ceiling of the car.
  • Oil leak – there might be some oil leakage issues from the turbocharger’s return pipe seal.

The S40 has mixed ratings in all of its departments. The reliability and maintenance scores are pretty below average. However, the safety features are still some of the best. People’s reviews are also not that bad, which means people like the practicality of the car. Therefore, it is up to the buyers that what kind of features they want to focus on.

  Why do Volvos depreciate so fast?


What car replaced the Volvo S40?

The Volvo V40 replaced the S40 in 2012. The V40 is a 5-door hatchback. The shape of the car is different than the old S40, but they share many of the same features like front-wheel drive and turbo engines. The V40 improved many things like the fuel economy of the car and the car’s overall reliability.

What are the things to look for before buying a used car?

If you’re planning on buying a used car, then you should be very active and patient with the buying process. You should look at many things like:

  • Rust or paint job
  • Vehicle’s accident history
  • Look under the hood, and also, if possible, try to take out the engine cover and look deeply
  • Tire condition
  • Mileage

Is buying a used Volvo worth it?

Volvos usually depreciate more than other luxury vehicles. Volvo cars also have excellent safety features plus drive comfort. However, the maintenance bills can be a problem, but if you’re careful enough, then you can avoid hefty bills. So, you can buy these luxury vehicles at half the price and enjoy Swedish luxury.

Muhammad Arifeen

Muhammad has a broad knowledge about cars. On Luxury Cars A2Z he mainly write about Volvo and BMW.

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