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:
38,604 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 - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #4

Nov 052010


  • 10,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that the owner's manual provided inaccurate information pertaining to the towing capacity; however, the 2005 and 2006 owner's manual specified the accurate weight reduction with the vehicle occupants. In addition, the entire electrical system became inoperative intermittently. The relay switch, internal rem and yaw modules were replaced at different times. While driving the engine would completely shut off when the contacts knee was close to the ignition key. The failure continued after the vehicle was repaired. Currently, diagnostic testing was being performed by the dealer. The failure mileage was 10,000.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #3

Sep 242010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Swivel and spring on remote control stop working. This has been an ongoing problem for us, beginning less than 1 year after we purchased car new. The dealership replaced swivels on remote and upgraded swivels on remotes. After several times they told us there was nothing else they could do. Have since changed the engineering but now, probably due to the number of times the remote fell on ground because of faulty swivels, the spring for the actual key doesn't work anymore and remote will tilt down sometimes while driving so my wife and 16 year old son have both had their knees hit it and turned the car off while driving it. Thank god they did not have an accident. Went to Volvo and they said this is a wear and tear item and they want $400 to replace 1. inspite of fact they have tried to fix this multiple times and inspite of the fact they never were able to make it work properly they will not stand behind their product. Now it is dangerous. I am shocked a car touted as "safe" like this one would have this kind of problem and they would not fix it!

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #2

Jan 282010


  • 32,400 miles
Driving on 210-West, my car lost power without warning. The fuel pump had been replaced on Jan. 26, 2010, to correct the strong smell of gasoline inside and outside of the car. Other problems have been replacing the brake pads twice, replacing the ABS, faulty gps and cd player, front passenger door automatic lock needs motor replaced, sloshing sound of water heard inside the car after rain.

- Alta Loma, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 212008


  • 32,014 miles
On 10/21/2008 I was driving my 2004 Volvo XC90 on the highway rt.93. It was raining and the interior of the car was foggy. I could not see outside so I turned on the A/C but it was not functioning. Also, the cd player was not worked. I bought my car new in 2004 with has only 32,014 miles on the car now. The boston Volvo village dealer inspected the car and said the blower motor, resistor and the cd player need to be replaced. The cost of parts and labor of the blower and resistor was $1,650 and the cd $700. I contacted the Volvo head office and they were willing to provide the parts free but the labor cost on me. I have no choice to do it right away because I have two children. I need the car to carry them to school everyday. It is a safety issue if the ventilation and heat is not working. I cannot drive the car if there is no ventilation and the car is foggy during rainy or snowy days. If I was in the highway, I have to park on the side for the poor visibility. It would put me and my family in a dangerous situation. I paid $1,058 for the labor and $57.50 for the inspection cost. If the Volvo admitted the parts has problem and willing to replace them free, they should not charge me labor cost.

- Milton, MA, USA

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