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NHTSA — Exterior Lighting Problems

2005 Volvo XC90 (Page 1 of 2)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,251 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Volvo XC90 lights problems

lights problem

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2005 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Jul 012015


  • miles


Front head lamps go out while driving. This happened at night. The next day I drove the car and the lights were on but one is very dim. I have already replaced this light. It is still dim and I got a warning from a police officer on 01/30/16.he stated this is a safety hazard and next time I would get a ticket.

- Blair, OK, USA

problem #21

Jun 152015


  • 162,189 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that when it rained, water entered the vehicle through the passenger side and onto the dashboard, causing the instrument panel lights to dim. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and the radio no longer worked. Additionally, the headlights turned on and off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was unable to diagnose the failures. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 162,189.

- Newburgh, NY, USA

problem #20

Jul 132015


  • 130,000 miles
Aside from normal care, I have only replaced my tires and a gas cap. I started to experience some water seepage onto the driver-side. I covered the vehicle when it rained and figured I would have a look at it when I had time. July 2015, I took my Volvo to savannah Volvo, fixed my breaks along with other safety fixes, after 14 hrs of having my vehicle and 2800 later, pete stated everything was taken care of and the water seepage was due to the drains being clogged, but, they are all clear now, we did a water test and everything is ok. You will experience some more water seepage but it should dry up in a few days. He also mentioned some other work that needed to be done though not until November, December. I said great and got on my way. Three days later it did rain, confident I did not need to cover my vehicle and was still experiencing water seepage from my visit, I did not think any thing of it. The next day, my control panel started to light up. I called savannah, and he mentioned it must just be because you put a full tank of gas....what"?? ok. As the week went on the control panel continued to light up one by one. The day before going back, my driver side turn signal was on. Hoping I did not have a dead battery the next day, I headed to Volvo. After 4 hrs they tell me the roof drains were cloggd and seeped onto the cem, and it is damaged. I said to pete, I thought the drains were clear when I left a week ago??? yeah, well, we can't create a problem with your drains. Though, after 10 yrs I leave there and 3 days later experience a problem, after you told me my drains were all cleared" several phone calls to the dealership and Volvo headquarters, not one person is taking responsibility for this bad design, which could have caused my transmission to limp and a possible accident! it now sits in my driveway, after spending $2800 I will never purchase another Volvo!

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #19

Apr 092015

XC90 6-cyl

  • 54,300 miles


After rainfall we began experience power failures in our Volvo. No windows were left open and the interior was not exposed to any water. But while driving the dashboard went out the needles for the fuel, miles per hour and everything went out. It came on shortly after then off again this time with the radio and windows could not roll down or up. Once the car was off it came back on only to repeat the same issue the dash and radio come on and off while driving and at one point will shut off everything until the car is turned off again. The headlights will flicker as well from time to time. This is extremely frightening considering I have a toddler and small child and while driving on a highway to have everything shut off was beyond frightening and extremely worrisome. I have been told it has something to do with the cem and I have read many forums with people with the same problem and even a friend whose car did the same thing. I am extremely frustrated that I don't feel safe driving my car and that I have to pay a lot of money for something that does not seem like a normal failure especially since my car does not even have many miles on it. Please investigate and look into this please. Thank you.

- Cedar Glen, CA, USA

problem #18

Aug 202014

XC90 8-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
While driving vehicle at 55-60 mph all dashboard lights came on and car lost power. This caused a frightening and extremely dangerous situation. Without headlights or tail lights I could not be seen by other drivers. I tried to cross 2 lanes and get onto the shoulder with no power steering or engine power. While I was very fortunate I was not in or did not cause a serious accident I had an extremely close calls. I changed lanes and almost collided with another vehicle traveling at 55. Once in the lane another driver who was unable to see my vehicle (no lights) came up behind me at a high rate of speed. Only a last minute swerve avoided a rear end collision that no doubt would have caused a terrible accident with very serious if not tragic results. Additionally other drivers had to swerve to avoid the vehicle-causing a very dangerous, chaotic situation. The loss of power and loss of lights came close to causing a major multi-vehicle accident. Many are aware of this problem. Please do not wait until people are killed to reopen the investigation and re-consider a safety recall.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

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problem #17

Mar 202014

XC90 6-cyl

  • 119,150 miles
We purchased this 2005 Volvo XC90 used in October 2011 and since that time have had to replace the headlamp module 3 times. The left headlights would sometimes work and other times not. Each time we took it in for diagnosis, we were told that the headlamp module needed to be replace. This is a $460 part, one that has a long history of failure. My wife is afraid to drive this vehicle at night, for fear that the headlights will go out. I can understand if the module failed once, or maybe even twice, but three times in only 2.5 years and less than 20,000 miles. It appears that this is a recurring problem with other Volvo owners as well, yet Volvo has not taken steps to remedy the issue. I consider this to be a significant safety issue, one that need to be addressed. I am very disappointed with Volvo's lack of action to correct this problem. Checking online, I see that many other Volvo XC90 owners have been experiencing the same problem. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

- Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #16

Sep 032013

XC90 6-cyl

  • 146,342 miles


While driving back from work the passenger low beam went out. I bought a new bulb and the light still did not work L then checked. The wiring going into the headlight and there was no power for the low beam how does this happen it was bad enough I had to replace the whole transmission just 3months ago and now this I also read nonlinear they had problems with the trannys.

- Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #15

Apr 212013

XC90 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
2006 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD April 21, 2013 approx 8:30 pm driving at approx 8:30 pm, traveling at about 55 miles per hour, remote 2-lane highway (US191, eastern Arizona) on twisty mountainous road, switched from high-beam to low-beams to accommodate oncoming vehicle approaching around a bend. A moment or two after switching to low beams, the Volvo's headlights lights flickered and went out all-together. Error message reading something to the effect of "low beam bulb failure" appeared on message screen. High-beams didn't appear to be operable either. I activated fog lamps and proceeded cautiously to destination (approx 25 miles away). Approx 15 miles from that point, I was pulled over by dps patrol advising I had no headlights...and that my license plate light was also not operating. The next morning, investigated further, discovered there were no issues with the headlight bulbs (low beam and high beam) or with license plate bulbs specifically (they were not burnt out), nor were there any issues with any blown fuses related to those exterior lights. I did discover that the drl (daytime running lights) were still operating as normal (which utilize the same bulb as the low headlights) confirming that there were no issues with those bulbs. All research since this event is pointing me to conclusion that this monumentally unsafe condition was caused by a bad/faulty cem design by Volvo (online research, speaking with Volvo mechanics and reviewing similar NHTSA complaints). There is no preventative maintenance that I could have done to prevent this from happening. This is not an owner maintenance issue, this is a design or materials issue. Volvo should be required to recall & repair to prevent this safety issue. I request NHTSA open (re-open?) investigation into this issue, as this very dangerous safety issue that needs addressing before much worse consequences result.

- Morenci, AZ, USA

problem #14

Jan 032013

XC90 8-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
I purchased a 2005 Volvo XC90 for $16,000. 6 months later the engine freezes up. That cost $10,000 to replace the engine. Looked on google, very common for these V8 engines to freeze up. Now the headlights are acting up. Looked on google and found the headlight issue is very common. This will cost $3,000 to repair. This car is going to cost me almost as much to repair it as I paid for it!! Volvo is loosing control. I would like you to issue a recall for these engine issues and issue a recall for these headlight issues. Please google 2005 Volvo XC90 V8 engine and google the same year and model about the headlight issue. You will be astounded by all the pages of complaints about what is supposed to be a great car. These cars where $62,000 brand new, what a joke they can sell this car with so many problems. Please issue a recall. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Glenview, IL, USA

problem #13

Dec 272012

XC90 8-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Driving in pitch black night on backroads of charleston, SC. Lights went out after left headlight flickered for a few days. Lights went out and car went off road as we were in a curve. Regained control after spinning on wet grass. I need the headlights repaired by Volvo at their expense and reimbursement for the failed engine I had to replace.

- Glenview, IL, USA

problem #12

Oct 012012

XC90 6-cyl

  • 110,550 miles


The left headlight will suddenly go out, sometimes while driving and other times the headlight will not light when the vehicle is started. At times it remained off for only a few minutes and other times it will be for days. I'd taken the vehicle in for service, but each time I did, the left headlamp was again working. I'd also replaced the headlamp in question, but still the headlamp worked only intermittently. I just returned from my 4th visit to the dealer, at which time they replaced the left front light ballast ($440). The headlamp is currently working. My wife has been reluctant to drive the vehicle at night, for fear that both headlamps would go out. In researching online, I'm finding that this has been a recurrent problem with 2004 and 2005 Volvo xc-90's. I understand that the NHTSA has been investigating this problem with the Volvo xc-90 and a recall is being considered. We purchased the vehicle primarily due to it's 5-star safety rating, but we are not convinced that Volvo has adequately addressed a known problem.

- Eau Claire, WI, USA

problem #11

Dec 252011

XC90 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph, the engine stalled without any warning. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to an independent auto shop for diagnosis. The technician stated the counter balance shaft bearing was frozen and the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. In addition, the headlights would intermittently operate and had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 88,000. Updated 10/3/12 updated 10/09/2012

- Glenview, IL, USA

problem #10

Aug 302011


  • 90,000 miles
A complaint was previous filed regarding to turn signal problem. Situation getting worse. Volvo XC90 V8 2005; replaced cem unit two years back. Recently following problems happened. 1. turn signal stop working 2. no high beam 3. no windshield washing 4. no cruise control 5. no vehicle information function problems look like associated with faulty cem again. Vehicle is very risky to drive with unreliable or not-functioning turn signal.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #9

Aug 202011

XC90 8-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Volvo XC90 2005 low beam bulb failure error and one beam turns off. Then comes back on, and sometimes all lights go off. Very dangerous at night. If you turn the headlight dial to another setting they will come back on, but then blink off again, and sometimes off completely. The biggest issue is the intermittent occurrence of this. The car is not safe to drive.

- Centerton, AR, USA

problem #8

Aug 012009

XC90 5-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
1. normal city/highway driving. 2. turn signals sporadically do not function. Ambient temperature does not matter, whether in winter or summer. 3. nothing was done to correct.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #7

Feb 192011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
While driving on the highway in rain, the headlights of the car began flashing on and off (sometimes drivers side, sometimes passenger side, sometimes both) intermittently. I pulled over and turned off and restarted car. This solved the problem for a few miles, then it did it again. Now, the right light is out completely, but at least the left seems to be staying on. This exact same thing happened one other time. The dealership claimed they could find nothing wrong with the vehicle.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #6

Aug 282010


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the driver side headlight would shut off intermittently. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer where the contact was informed that they would have to replace the cem unit. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 70,000.

- Greenville, SC, USA

problem #5

Aug 142010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
Vehicle has driver's side headlight failure. Replaced bulb with certified Volvo replacement and still did not work. Certified Volvo mechanic traced fuses and all electrical components (5 hours paid service) and found that a plastic part designed to keep water out of the interior (via windshield) was defective, therefore, causing water leakage to damage the central electrical module.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #4

Dec 012009


  • 41,000 miles
I have a 2005 Volvo XC90 AWD. My head lights have intermittent failures almost every time I am driving at night. It started about 10 months ago and has been getting more frequent. Sometimes left head light fails, sometimes right head light fails, sometimes both go out. They will resume working, sometimes if I do nothing, but always if I turn them off & back on. But will continue to fail. The dealer said they cannot find any problem.

- Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 202010


  • 63,000 miles
This is a second report I submit. The other day I just reported malfunction of turn signal switch of my Volvo XC90, 2.5T, 2005. I tested and observed the performance of the turn signal switch carefully and I think the potential severe design defect in the turn signal switch, or, maybe the electronic control module, will cause fatal incidents. Its performance is totally unpredictable. It refused to respond at any time, either stopped or running. Moreover, I found that sometimes a right movement of the lever gives a left signal, which is extremely dangerous. Here I would like to strongly request that the investigation of Volvo XC90 electronic system be conducted thoroughly. I would not be surprised at all to hear any fatal incident caused by the unpredictable malfunction. And I hope this could be part of a recall. Interestingly, I observed that all the functions related to the switch lever either disappear altogether or works well altogether. This partially support that there is defect in the control module. I would like to help the investigation. I also have two witnesses who helped me to test drive my XC90.

- Houston, TX, USA

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