Holy crap, I bought a car! What now?

Well, we bought a car since I can’t drive. MrsIteki got her license about 2 months ago at the ripe old age of 34 or so, and now we have gotten our first car! Neither of us have ever had a car, so this is very exciting. It is a Volvo v40 from 2001 with only 90,000 kilometers on the clock (I have heard this is not bad). It is dark blue and shiny. It has half-leather interior and walnut bits on the paneling and is very nice. We had to drive it home in the dark and snow which mrsIteki had never driven in before so it was very scary, but we went to McDonalds for some dutch courage. So, I now have a car key on my keyring, so I can put things in it and take them out if mrsIteki isn’t there. I also have my first ever creditcard, a volvo card, so I can pay for parking and petrol (whee…).

We will be able to leave the tiny town we live in and go to other tiny towns nearby. we will be able to go to bigger towns, even farther away and eat at nice restaurants and go to the movies!
We can go shopping at the supermarket instead of spending arseloads of money in the local shop, and if I need to buy some screws to put up a shelf I won’t have to take the bus out to the hardware store!

The world is opening up for us. We are free and can go anywhere we want! We could drive to China from here. We won’t, but we could. We could drive to the south of France from here, and we may well do so.

We know nooooothing about cars! Nothing at all. Is there a dummys guide? Are there any good beginners websites? I know you should check the oil, and I know where to check it, but I don’t know what I am checking it for or how often I should check it, or what I should do if the checking of it turns up negative results. How often should we check the tyres, can I use my the 12v jack in the car when the car isn’t running, for how long before the batterys run out? What other things do we need to know? We haven’t tanked it yet, it has some petrol in it and I have done that before (like twice, ten years ago, at least…) so we should manage.

Awww, how great for you guys! Congratulations!
Before the techy guys elbow their way onto this thread and leave huge posts of lecturing advice, I’ll put in my two cents:

  1. You check the oil to see if you need more. If it gets low, put a quart in (your owners manual should tell you where to put the oil in) and then check again. If your car seems to be using a lot of oil, this is a sign that something may be wrong.
  2. Get your oil changed every 3000 miles. Your car will live much much longer. P.S. Volvos are well known for their longevity :slight_smile:
  3. You’ll find that you get better gas mileage and your engine will behave better the higher quality gas you put in it. Higher octane = better quality.
  4. Don’t use the 12V jack more than say an hour or so without restarting your car to recharge the battery. Dead batteries make you feel dumb. Plus, they are a pain.
  5. Check air pressure on your tires occasionally (say, every two or three months) if you feel you must. Also you can have a mechanic check them for wear and to see if they need to be rotated.
  6. Also, always check to see which country you’re in and what side of the road they drive on.

Enjoy your new wheels!

I just had things checked as per my driver’s manual. For more info, try looking for a good bulletin board on line. The ones for my type of car really helped save me a lot of aggravation and money.

Plus, you need a really cool rear view mirror ornament. Mine is a toy cricket dressed as a boy scout. Very smooove.

Congrats on the car. What you really need is a Good Friend who knows about cars. There’s a certain type of guy who is deeply flattered by questions of what to do in the event of a leaky widget or whatever. Instantly, he’ll be coming around with boxes of adjustable wrenches and other arcane devices.

You’re based in Sweden. Your car is only 2 years old. It’s a Volvo. I’d start planning the road trip to end all road trips. With some dedicated driving, you can make it from Skåne to Dubrovnik in about 24 hours. Take a dip in the Adriatic. Or Trelleborg-Sassnitz and off you go. You might decide to make a detour to Prague or Munich and sample real beer… Or why not toodle across to Denmark, over Holland and Belgium and take the Channel Ferry over to England? Or you could do Gothenberg-Harwich direct and take a motor tour of the great Bed and Breakfast joints of Yorkshire. The world (or at least Western Europe) is your oyster. :slight_smile:

Volvos are built like tanks. Regular vehicle service check-ups and you’ll be just fine. Of course, a friend with a set of socket wrenches helps, too.

Good luck.

  • PW

We visited just such a boy today Palewriter! He poked around at the car and declared himself satisfied except for a strange noise that can be heard when it is idling. We will take it into the dealership on friday to have the noise looked at (so to speak). We put half a tank of petrol in it, and he showed us the stuff we need to check, said we could learn about the wheels another time.

We bought special bags to put our summer tyres in (they are Pirelli, the ones with the tennis-bumscratch ad! So are the winter ones we have on now) and I am going to put them in the attic now. Hope it isn’t too cold for them up there? We did other shopping and put it in the big boot! :slight_smile:

Use the highest grade of gasoline available. What you have there is a 1.9 litre turbo charged inline 4 cylinder. The turbo requires higher grades of gasoline to avoid pre-detonation (AKA - knock).
Also, make sure to use turbo specific motor oil when you do change the oil. Look in your owner’s manual and use the Volvo recommended stuff.
The odd noise at idle could be the turbo. They are normally not heard until you give it gas, and the turbo spins up, but who knows. Those Swedes are tricky ;).
Listen for the high pitched whine at full throttle. That is the turbo.

Good luck with the new car. And have fun.

2.0 but no turbo I am afraid. We would have liked a 2.0T, but since we were buying used we had to take what we could get. 2.0 is plenty for us tho. The sound is more like … hmm… you know the fan belt (see, I am learning!), well imagine if there was about an inch of the fanbelt that had something stuck to it, say velcro. The noise is cyclic and mechanical, it sounds literally like there is a bit sticking out of something that goes round that is banging into something else once each cycle. The sound is literally a purr or brrr. Would have liked the turbo tho, the mrs said it was fun to drive :slight_smile:

Sorry, but this is just plain bad advice. High-octane fuel is a complete waste of time and money unless you have a high-performance engine, and in fact may damage your engine. Check the owner’s manual or ask a dealer which fuel to use.

Check the oil, check the oil, check the oil.

Oh, and ask when you’ll need to replace the timing belt. When one of those snaps, your valves can get beat to death, and then you’ll really wish you’d spent the money on the preventative maintenance.

Damage your engine? Where’d you get an idea like that? There is zero chance of high-octane fuel doing anything bad that the low octane fuel wouldn’t. You might be wasting your money on high-octane fuel if the car doesn’t need it, but there’s certainly no chance of hurting anything (other than your wallet).

Since the high-octane suggester was under the impression that the car had a turbo(a high performance engine), his advice was very sound. Turbo cars are most likely to benefit from high octane fuel.

As for oil changes, every 3000 miles is generally a waste of oil and money. Don’t believe what the Quik-Change ads say. Just follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and buy a good quality (synthetic if you can afford it) oil in the recommended viscosity (5w-30 or whatever) and with the correct certifications as recommended in the manual.

Re: the cyclical noise - make sure it’s not the timing belt. As mentioned before, a broken timing belt usually means a severely damaged engine, as the internal parts go out of sync and collide violently with each other.

The 12v jack can be used for varying times depending on what’s plugged in(how much power it uses) and the condition of the battery. For example, I usually leave my cell phone and radar detector plugged in and turned on overnight with no problem. If I let the car sit more than 2 or 3 days with these items plugged in, the battery will be dead. On many cars, this is a non-issue because the 12v jack only works when the key is on.

Since you live in snowy territory, you should try to learn some snow-driving techniques. Things like what to do in a skid, how to best stop/go when on a very slippery surface, how to avoid skidding in the first place. Be aware that a front-wheel-drive vehicle will behave quite differently than a rear-wheel-drive (or all wheel drive) in slippery conditions.

You go to McDonalds for a drink?? How very odd. :slight_smile: Unless it’s an Irish pub and not a hamburger joint…

There probably is a “cars for dummies” book. For example: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0028644328/qid=1072923900//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i0_xgl14/102-2829947-6792153?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
or
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1580627323/ref=pd_sim_books_2/102-2829947-6792153?v=glance&s=books

I’m sure there are one or more Volvo enthusiast websites out there. Find one and introduce yourself. They will probably be very happy to share tips and tricks for your particular car, and maybe you can find someone in your area to help with car maintenance or to recommend a good mechanic.

Sounds like you’ve found your “socket wrench” guy, Iteki. That’s great. As tadc wisely says, I wouldn’t worry about the octane of your petrol. It tells you in the manual what kind to get. If you make a mistake and get a higher octane, it’s no big deal. I’ve owned several Volvos and they generally just keep on going despite just about anything you care to pour into them. So the next step is to learn how to drive, right? I’d start right away, regardless of icy roads. The major roads in Sweden are so well maintained that nothing awful is going to happen as long as you keep the speed down. Winter tires help a lot, though it’s a horrible chore to have to switch tires twice a year.

Good luck on your travels!

  • PW

I hate to be a party pooper but Im not very happy with my V40. We have a 2000 V40 and its been pretty unreliable. 2000 is the first year they were made so maybe thats the source of the problems. Hopefully on your 2001 they have sorted out some of the problems. Also, its not really a Volvo. Its one of those collaborations, its actually a Mitsubishi design. And Mitsus arent terribly reliable either. :frowning:

We have the 1.9 Turbo. A very fast, sweet driving car. But its had a few check engine lights, leaky oil return on the turbo, bad thermostat. bad motor mount and numerous blown light bulbs. And its only got 50k miles. It worries me because Volvo parts are expensive and I might have to wait for them to be shipped from Sweden. Obviously you won’t have the shipping problem. :slight_smile:

Use the octane recommended for the car. Using higher octane is a waste of money.

I also agree that changing the oil every 3k miles is probably a waste. Follow the recommendations of your owners manual.

Synthetic oil is better but probably overkill for a non turbo engine. Not worth the expense. I use regular oil in my non turbos and synthetic in my turbo cars.

Modern cars dont require much regular maintenance. Check the oil every other fill up. Once you get a feel for how much oil the car uses you will probably check it less often.

The only thing I specifically recommend for this car is check the light bulbs. Ive had numerous blown tail lights and headlights. They arent very expensive but since its a safety issure keep an eye out for them.

Actually, I’m not sure where I got that idea either (thought I read it in my car’s manual). But the person I was quoting was NOT assuming a turbo engine. And the notion that premium fuel will make your car perform better and get better mileage is simply not true. Most engine knock is a result of lack of maintenance or mechanical failure. 90% of the cars on the road today are designed to use “regular”.

Using high octane gas when not required will not damage your engine just your wallet. :slight_smile:

High octane gas is used to prevent knock. This is sometimes
required on high performance engines because of their higher compressions and/or turbos. Sometimes high mileage cars will knock and require higher octane gas. This is caused by carbon build up in the combustion chamber which results in a higher compression.

Ive had some LAWNMOWERS that say do not use high octane gas as it could damage the enigine. Perhaps this is what youre thinking of?

Generally so. However, an additional wrinkle is that the “premium” grades tend to have more/better additives, in addition to higher octane. If your car is suffering from, say, dirty injectors, the higher level of additives in the premium fuel would help clean them. but you’d probably be better off just buying a bottle of injector cleaner and dumping it in the tank.

Most modern cars use knock sensors to allow the engine computer to advance the timing as much as possible without causing knock. Using higher octane fuel CAN allow the engine to operate with more advanced timing, resulting in better performance/mileage/whatever. But it all depends on the condition and individual variations between cars… many/most probably wouldn’t see a difference.

So, “simply not true” is a bit of an overstatement.

One other suggestion. Go find a big empty parking lot. Preferably one with a bit of gravel. And one where the cops won’t take too much notice. Play around for a few hours. See how the car reacts to quick stops and changes in direction. See what it takes to get the car to skid or spin. Just don’t get too wild. Go back when it rains. And go back again when it snows. Keep doing this. Knowing what your car can and can’t do, as well as how it reacts prior to getting “cranky” can save you damage or health in the future.

Thanks for the tips, these are great. Getting lots to think about!Strangely enough it never struck me that there would be an instruction manual :smack: but there is! It suggests 95 octane, but a minimum 91.

The tips on skidding etc are great, luckily however it is required as a part of taking your license that you go to umm, basically “The Sliding Range” :stuck_out_tongue: They put you through your paces on various road surfaces, make you slam the brakes on (with ABS both on and off) make you swerve around stuff and make you put the car into spins. You also turn a car upside down and make you climb out, etc :smiley: It is supposed to be great fun and people feel more confident in their driving knowing that they have already experienced a car that is out of control. We got brand new winter tyres with studs too, so we should be sorted. We will be driving carefully tho. Getting the weird noise checked out on monday :slight_smile:

Having the car is really, really making me want to learn to drive!