Notes: The XC90 took its “freshman 15” of transmission complaints and turned it into a “sophomore 45.” The 2004 XC90 saw 3X as many complaints about the transmission failing as it did in its inaugural North American model year! By the following year, transmission complaints fell back in line with the 2003. That sharp spike in complaints means we recommend avoiding the 2004.

On top of transmission complaints, the 2004 XC90 also has problems with a sudden loss of power. The lucky ones are met with a “reduced engine performance” message, while others are left stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
35,000 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.

2004 Volvo XC90 accessories - exterior problems

accessories - exterior problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #2

Apr 152008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


2004 xc90T6 has failed transmission at 82,500 miles. I first noticed problem when first starting from stop. The vehicle would not accelerate and then it felt like I had been rear ended. Problem persisted and now problem occurs at first acceleration and at further attempts to increase speed the transmission falls out of gear and catch. The failure of the transmission poses a significant safety risk and appears to be a wide spread problem particularly with the 2004 XC90 T6. The last time it failed I was stuck in the middle of an intersection and was almost struck broad side by an approaching vehicle. The Volvo dealership advises me that the original transmission is not compatible with the T6 engine. Reported failures have occurred as early as 1,500 miles and Volvo's corrective measures of replacing the transmissions with remanufactured transmissions does not appear to be correcting the problem as there are numerous reports of repeat failures. Volvo has agreed to replace the transmissions with a remanufactured transmission but has refused to pay for labor. The dealer has agreed to pay for half of the labor. I have requested the dealer to retain the transmission and the associated parts. I have also asked Volvo if they have notified NHTSA of the widespread failures and they have refused to provide me with this information. The drain lines from the sunroof had to be replaced. Updated 05/15/08

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #1

Oct 112007

XC90 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
We purchased our XC90 2005 from gengras Volvo in meriden, ct on Dec 24, 2006. It is now Oct 11, 2007. Since we've had the car we've put around 8,000 miles on it. It is not our primary vehicle and sits parked in our garage most of the time. On 10/10/07, upon leaving work and getting into my SUV I saw a rather large puddle of water on the floor of the driver?S side of my XC90. The car obviously had been parked outside and it was raining that day. Since we were bringing the car into stamford Volvo on 10/11/07 to replace the front headlights - the seal on both headlight were cracked and needed to be replaced (these parts were under warranty and I figured it was best to do that), I also requested stamford ct Volvo to look at the water problem as well. On 10/11/07, stamford ct Volvo informed me and my husband that the sunroof drains were clogged and have been for sometime. We were led to believe that the problem was in fact a pre-existing condition. In fact he elaborated to say that this is a common problem on this car. It is probably the reason why the car has always had a musty odor to it. In fact, we noticed this odor at time of purchase from gengras Volvo in meriden, ct and the sales man (matthew martin at gengras Volvo in meriden, ct) had also noticed the odor as well and at our request was going to looking into it more. On 10/11/07, I called paul smith the general manager and supposed owner of gengras Volvo in meriden, ct to notify him of the drain problem and damage to the interior and to let him know that this probably should have been dealt with at the time of purchase since it is a common problem with this car and there was an musty odor his salesman had acknowledged. He immediately said it was my fault that the drain was clogged and he was absolutely not going to pay the $150 to unclog the drain and the $800 to repair my interior damage.

- Trumbull, CT, USA

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