My Moment of Weakness: Buying a 2000 Volvo V70R

We are all guilty of it. We browse Craigslist all the time, searching for "it". We all have one car that we hunt for. We all have that one car that we always joke about buying instantly if it showed up at the right price. That was the case with Vikkie: my 2000 Volvo V70R. I bought her during a moment of weakness in my life. I thought she would make me happy. It didn't. This is the story of admitting defeat and learning from your mistakes. This is a warning to all you opponauts out there.

A little bit of backstory. My name is Justin and I have an addiction. I am addicted to everything automotive. I am 16 years old, still in high school, now working two jobs to make ends meet. I was not gifted anything. I pay for both my cars, the insurance, and other things like most of my food and my cell phone bill and my clothes. I also give back to my parents to help them out. I have been working since I was 14 years old to try and help them out. I have not had a very easy life by any means.


When I was about 15 and a half, I began making the gear head's biggest decision ever: the first car. I spent hours a day browsing Craigslist ads. I sent hundreds if not thousands of texts and emails to sellers throughout my area. I had no real restrictions: just a budget of around $5,000 and a need to be an automatic. This was because I would have to share this car with my grandma (she was loaning me about half of that money). I looked at everything from a Honda Element to a Volvo C70 to a Camry. Nothing really seemed right.

One day, very early into the search, I found something for $6,000. It was beautiful. A black 1998 Volvo V70R. It was a one owner gem with around 120,000 miles. I was hooked on the car. But before I could even do anything, it was gone. I lost this car. It was essentially my first dream car. But I kept looking. I drove a 240, a Mercedes C class, Honda Passport, a Saab 9-5, none of which were right.

I ended up with something not used. It was brand new: only 24 miles on the odometer. She was a 2013 Honda Civic LX Sedan in Polished Metal Metallic with the five speed automatic. A lease. Grandma decided that this was the better, more reliable choice. On one hand, I had a brand new car. It had Bluetooth, a backup camera, room for my friends, and a warranty. It smelt new; I was the first owner. But, it was a Civic. It was just… boring. I will never have a problem with it, but it just is somewhat dull. So I kept looking.

About one month ago, I found my dream car again on Craigslist. This time, a 2000 Volvo V70R for only $2,000. I had been saving my money from working and still wanted a second car. This car, from the pictures seemed nearly perfect. I had to drive it. So I contacted the seller and scheduled a test drive.


It should also be noted that around this time, I began suffering with my rather severe depression. I had hit a rough patch in my life. Nothing was going my way. I began getting lonely and felt worthless and useless. I had feelings that no one really cared for me at all. I was dangerous. I had considered suicide many times, and had days where I missed school because I lacked the motivation to move. I had become snippy; having an attitude towards my parents. But my pride had gotten in the way. I refused help. I never told my parents. Meanwhile, I was losing friends, gaining weight, was falling behind in school, and nearly drove into a tree to try and end it more times than I'd like to admit. I was weak. This car, it gave me hope. Maybe it was what I needed to help.


When I got behind the wheel of this Volvo, things felt right. It was so powerful. I loved the noise of the turbocharged inline 5. I loved how comfortable the two tone seats were. I loved how much space there was in the back for everything. I just… didn't have the money.

I began talking to grandma again, who agreed to loan me $2,000 so I could fully buy and register the car without affecting my bank account too badly. I needed this car. Even though dad said no, I went behind his back and purchased it, for $1700 cash. My friend drove me there to pick it up and follow me home. It was as I was driving it that I already began feeling some regrets.


Every once in a while, there was a rough shift. It creaked and rattled. The door ajar light didn't go off. It had a white bumper from a stock S70. It even had a rebuilt title. Had I gotten in over my head? As I pulled into the driveway, I walked in rather quietly. I had just gotten my dream to come true, but it didn't make me happy like I wanted.

I drove the car everywhere at first. My big purchase was new tires, at the cost of $400 I had brand new Dunlop around all those beautiful Pegasus rims. I was enjoying her more. I loved the sound and the passing power and the looks I got flying past everyone.


Dad meanwhile was trying to find every way out of this car. He began researching laws and rules and found out that since I was a minor, I could somehow return the car and he would have to agree since dad could sue him otherwise. But I kept telling him NO. This was MY car and I wasn't giving her up.

As sad as it sounds, one main reason I got the wagon was to impress this girl whom I liked at work. She had a bicycle and I would always give her rides home. Her bike barely fit in the Civic and she would end up having to hold the wheel just to make sure it didn't fly out of the open trunk. So, with the wagon, it'd fit perfectly!


It was the first time driving her home in it, the bike fit like a dream. Being young, I had to show off. I gave it a lot of throttle pulling onto the highway. The speed limit was 55. I floored it, putting her through her first acceleration test. Being 11 PM, the road was empty. Before I knew it I was going about 85 MPH. I backed off; now cruising at about 60. I took a turn a little fast, her bag flying across the backseat. I apologized to her, saying I'd clean up once we stopped. She turned to me, smiled, and said that it was alright and she was having too much fun to care. As I stopped in front of her house, I pulled the handbrake and she put her hand on top of mine. We shared a glance, she kissed my cheek, and got out. I lifted the bike out of the wagon and walked her to the door. As I walked away, I felt accomplished.

Now I needed some gas. The gas station was right down the road. As I pulled up to the pump, the car began idling extremely rough. The whole car was shaking. I thought maybe my gas gauge was a little off and I was out of fuel. I turned the car off and began trying to fuel. It wasn't taking any fuel. It kept acting as if the car was full and the pump stopped itself. After very slowly getting a gallon of gas inside, I started the car up again. It made some horrible noises as I watched the RPMs go extremely high then drop below idle. The car stalled. I was very confused. I pulled the key out and started again. It stalled once more. I put the car in neutral, gave it some throttle and then put in drive, trying to stop it from stalling. I just squealed my tires a bit before stalling, now in the middle of the gas station. I immediately call my dad, fighting back the tears. He says he will be right over. Some guy in a lifted Tacoma asks if I'm alright. I explain that it just killed itself and he agrees to help me push it out of the way. With his GF in the driver seat, we pushed it out of the way, and miraculously, it started. With the hood open, it sounded like it was leaking air. There were no fluids on the ground though and it was okay. I limped the car home; not breaking 20 MPH. Once I stopped in my driveway, it stalled out again.


Dad and I began playing mechanic in the driveway. We were not really sure what had gone wrong. It just kept acting very strange; with no control on the RPMs. When I gave it full throttle, I wasn't even hitting 3000 RPM. According to Google, I assumed the worst. My electronic throttle module was shot. This was about a $1500 repair at the dealer or $800 at the independent shop. Volvo knew this part was faulty. They actually put a 10 year warranty on it because of these issues. My car was now out of that window. I thought for sure I was toast. The next day, in the light, I noticed that my ETM was actually replaced at one point in its life. It would have been rare if it died twice, but I still thought that. I didn't touch the car for about 5 days. Finally, I got the courage to open it up again. Dad then found the problem, it was a loose air hose which connected to the ETM. Of all things, it was the little hose which gave air to the ETM. We tightened the clamp, and it was alive again.

I posted it on Craigslist again. I had enough of this car already. It was costing me too much money. And now, I was scared to drive it. I had messed up. When I had someone about 40 minutes North show interest, I agreed to show it. This led to the other story (link) where long story short, the car killed itself when I tried to sell it but miraculously came back to life when I was taking it back home. I now learned my car was possessed. It refused to leave my possession. This added to my fear of driving it. Once a week, I would take it to work, and it would be fine.


I had a night about a week ago when it was 60 degrees out. I had my break at work and it was hotter inside than outside. I went out to the wagon, folded the rear seats down, and just laid in the back of her. It was why I had gotten a wagon. I began to appreciate the car more and more.

Unfortunately for me, the girl who I drove home, had gotten a boyfriend. And I looked like an idiot when I tried to ask her out and learned the hard way she was in a relationship when she started telling me about the sex they were having. This put me into a deeper funk. Again, I was miserable. It didn't help that I was coming home to a now unemployed dad who would be fighting with my drunk mom. My whole life was falling apart. I had so much stress from still being in school and the hours of homework. I'd also have 25-30 hours of work a week. My bank account, which used to have around $700 in it, now had about $50. I was living pay check to pay check. It got to the point I couldn't even go out to the store and buy my $10 CD. My dad was cutting back on everything and hounding me for the insurance money I didn't really have at that exact moment.


The wagon is still for sale. I still can't get anyone to look at it. I have virtually no money left in my bank account. My parents are still fighting and miserable. I am still lonely and single. I just failed my math test and destroyed this 10 page essay I had to write for history. I am losing my friends and fighting with my parents. I missed school on Monday because I didn't want to move from my bed. I sleep too much. The only good thing is I lost about 50 pounds just because I was too stressed to eat.

I bought that Volvo to make me happy. It was my dream car. Sadly, it has been a disappointment. The car has made me worse. I look at it every morning with regret. When my parents make fun of it, I just want to break down and cry. I fucked up. I hate that car. It has just made me so much worse. I'm about to drop the price on Craigslist. At this point, I just want to break even or even take a little loss.


My tip to you fellow opponauts is to be careful. The car of your dreams, may not be as special as you thought. Also, buying on impulse is a horrible idea. We have a passion that unfortunately costs a whole lot of money. And although many of us don't buy a car every single day, when we break down and buy one, it'll consume your life and wallet. I'm at a point now where I don't really know what to do. This is my warning to all of you. Just be careful out there with what you do.

As for myself, I am still hanging in there. When I think I am getting better though, my life seems to fall apart again. I just... refuse to seek help. Mainly because I have too much pride to admit I need it. Also, we can't afford to see anyone professional. My dad would also laugh at me and not believe how stressed I am. I am in a bad spot here. My nose is just above the water line. Just every once in a while, when that wave comes by and I go under, seriously bad thoughts come into play. I just don't really know what to do anymore. I do know one thing, impulse buying... do NOT do it.

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