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Car of the Month

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Car of the Month January 2008 belongs to Yuriy Krasnikov from Ukraine.

This is a story about my Volvo 480

First time I saw a picture of a Volvo 480 was in a Volvo brochure in 1993. It was a picture of “signal red” color Volvo 480ES. I saw this picture and I said – “I want to have this car!”. But I only started to search for this car seriously at beginning of 2000.

Generally I can say that I'm fond of Volvo cars. My first car was Volvo 245 from 1984. I used it untill 2002. Then I change it to Volvo 760 Diesel, which I sold last year due to financial problems. But it 2000 I started to search for a 480. I checked our newspapers and I found one for sale in our capitol-city – Kiev. I called to the owner and he explained me that car is grey colored, from 1989, in good condition, but has some problems with rear dampers and suspension. I asked my mechanic and he told me that I shouldn’t buy this car for offered price, because I would spend a lot of money on it for repairs. My mechanic – he is also my friend - provides service for all my cars from the beginning. I can say that due to my cars he now is, I think, the best specialist in Volvo car repairs in our city… Then, after some months, he found a Volvo 480 at our local car market! It was 480 ES, white color, from 1987, and it looked in not such a bad condition. And the price was half that of the previous car I found. So I bought it, this was in May 2000.

I bought this car from very rich guy. In his 24 or 25 years he was one of the owners of the private shipping company in our city. He had at the same time 4 or 5 quite good cars. His Volvo 480 has staying without use in about a year. That’s why, perhaps, the price was not so high. …This is a very interesting family. I permanently spot this guy’s mother in the city. She still looks very nice and slim, driving a brand new yellow VW Beetle. She usually stops and says: “Hello ! I’m so glad to meet you and this car again! I also used to drive this car. I liked it so much! How is it? Not so much problems, I hope? It was so nice to see you! Good luck to you with your car!".
One more episode connected to this family. In begin of summer 2005, when I was driving in the city, I spotted a luxury "Mercedes" with a young woman driving it and a small child inside. The woman opens the window and ask me to stop. I stop, she stops also and came to me. She says: “So nice to meet you! I’m the wife of the previous owner of this car. This is our daughter 3 years old. This August we have a celebration – 5 years of our marriage. I want to make a surprise for my husband. Please be so kind to sell me back this car! I want to band it by blue tape with big bow on top and present it to him. I’m sure he will be extremely glad!”. I say: “I’m glad for you both, but I don’t want to sell my car because I like it!”. She says: “Oh, please sell it! This car are very important for us! Our first meeting was in this car! We have driven together so much time before the marriage in this car! I even can say that our love starts inside this car! Please sell it! I will pay you rather big money! Much bigger then you buy it!”. I could only say: “That’s nice, but I don’t want to sell it !”. …I didn't even discuss a price. Now I think – maybe I should have? It could have been a very good deal, he-he… She then said: “O’K, I have another proposal. Give me, please, your phone number. I will call you and rent the car for some days in August.” “That could be possible, - I said – but please note that in August I will go to Formula-1 race at Turkey and maybe not be available on my phone…”.
That’s all. Maybe she will really call me, but I was in Turkey by ferry for about two weeks and my phone was not working some days… Time will tell…

Problems, problems

Regarding problems with my car, I can say I had enough of them, even more than enough… Truly speaking, compared to the Volvo 240 and 760, this car is much more sensitive to service and outside conditions, like quality of fuel, oils, roads, etc. In our country all of these can still be problematic sometimes. Rear arches? Yes, I get this problem two years ago. We tried to manage it, but after some months it started again, mainly on left side. I permanently have problems with my fuel pump. I changed it 3 or 4 times since 2000 (quality of fuel causes this). Also I permanently have problems with my suspension (tie rods, ball joints, steering ties, stabilizer, front/read dampers, rubber bushings, etc. (this is caused by the quality of our roads). Then there are the problems with the electric system. The idle valve is not working so good. I changed it some times also, but without real effect. I even changed my main computer once. The alternator is also causing problems. Some weeks ago it started making a lot of noise again… I changed the front wheel discs. I changed steering rack in 2006. Now I have a problem with the wheels. The nut in the wheel hub is practically destroyed. Sometimes it’s a problem to fix a front wheels. It needs to remember which bolt was in which hole before. I think I need to change both front wheel hubs. Now I have a problem with oil-leaks. It’s leaking at the top, through cylinder head. I think it’s a problem with the valve seals and camshaft oil seal. To fix it I need to open the engine, but I’m not in position to do it now due to my financial situation.

It's not so easy to find spare parts here, and the price for spares is rather high here. I have to use second-hand spares from Volvo 440/460. Oh, yes! I also have an air conditioner which is not working since the beginning. I have a compressor, but I don’t have any pipes connected to it... I checked and I found that the compressor I have is the old model, and pipes for it are no longer available. They promised me to change the compressor for a new model together with pipes, but it turned out tobe too expensive. Honestly I miss the airconditioner during summer, when we can have up to +40 C. But our summer only lasts three months, and after that I forget about this problem…

I can say, I know two types of drivers. First of them are feeling the car, listening to it. When they hear some unusual noise, knocking, scratching, they immediately try to find the cause of the problem and fix it before it becomes too serious problem. The other type of driver don’t care about this. They think that as long as the car drives all is OK. Any noise, knocking, scratching doesn't matter to them. But, when finally the car fully stops, they say: “Oh, shit, I think I have a problem with my car!”. I’m the first type of driver, and for me it’s even double uncomfortable since I can’t give my car attention now as it need it! But… It is still driving! And I enjoy to drive it, when “she” is in “good mood”! …Sometimes I call it “she”, like old mariners calling their ships…

Best regards from Odessa, Ukraine.
Yuriy Krasnikov

Pictures of my Volvo 480 in the Ukraine!

Yuriy Krasnikov, member 2434