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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
106 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2004 Volvo XC90 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #1

Feb 012013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 106 miles


I just loved the Volvo XC90 and had leased 2 of them and 04 & 06. We finally decided it was time to purchase one out right and found an 04 with low kms. It had nothing but problems. The water being the worst as it only just missed the nest of electrical wires. We kept emptying it ourselves as we were 2.5 hour drive from the nearest dealership and because of other problems we couldn't risk making the drive.

It would suddenly lurch forward while driving below 20kms and the fluid would continually leak out of steering making it impossible to steer. Because we purchased it second hand from a non-Volvo dealership and this happened a few months after we purchased it we simply assumed there was nothing anyone would be responsible for - plus a tow charge of approx 1k wasn't something we could afford at that particular point in time as I had become seriously ill.

We started to read that these were common occurrences with 04's and 03's. Anticipating high repair bills and a towing cost to our nearest dealership and we simply parked it.

We spent over 100k as perfect clients with Volvo Financial but unfortunately our regular dealership ruined our relationship with them by over charging us - or attempting to - when it came time for us to transfer our lease in order to purchase one.

Volvo Financial was amazing and made the Volvo dealership refund the transfer fees the overcharged us $500.00 - but it was clearly something they had been getting away with for years and they were such jerks the last thing we would ever do was spend another dime on their lot. We loved the vehicle however.

With no Volvo dealership we could trust and having stupidly made our purchase from a dealership that didn't represent Volvo what could we do? We didn't think to buy the extended warranty because we had never had any trouble with our previous 04 and 06 models so we weren't worried.

The transmission had been replaced prior to us taking delivery so we knew we were okay for awhile as that was another significant problem we saw noted over and over online.

Because we were only going by our own experience having driven them trouble free over 6 years but for a Turbo issue which was replaced due to being under warranty on the 06 XC90 - we didn't bother researching prior to buying an 04 as we know now we should have. Don't buy used from a non-representing dealer and even though you have experience with an identical model follow up with research were the two lessons we learned.

We also learned that it is extremely difficult to really trust any dealership. Some are great others are not.

We had an experience with Jeep Chrysler who took back our vehicle at the end our lease, leased us another one - an upgrade- but they didn't pay Chrysler Financial for the buyout so we began receiving hate letters asking for us to pay monthly or buyout completely the lease ended vehicle - when I already had the newer model.

It took us lawyer fees for one year to get it off our credit report and never received any apology from Chrysler - and again - we had been a perfect credit clients with their financial department. It was the specific dealership that was the problem. Even though we explained to Chrysler financial that they had financed a second lease for us we were still technically on the hook for the returned vehicle. Their dealership was a dud.

This is why we took our business to Volvo.

Not sure what to buy now. None of them seem to care. It doesn't matter how good a customer you are. They just don't value loyalty enough to think outside the box. The dealers (some) can't admit a mistake for the life of them and forget about an apology. To say we are jaded is an understatement and currently just paid cash for a used car bought privately and to heck with a dealer - for now. Just beware and find places recommended by friends. They won't be as likely to do something dumb when there is a risk of losing multiple clients.

As this is the only time I will write in to complain my last note is for the dealers to reconsider their leasing contracts as 4yr or longer terms are far to risky for things can change dramatically in people's lives - like an illness. We only did 3yr terms but even then we were caught by an illness and hearing "you signed the contract" is not a helpful response when simply trying to come to a solution that would work for everyone. The dealerships have far too much power over the consumer.

Thanks for letting me rant and for reading. I'm not an idiot, we aren't stupid, we didn't try to pull a fast one on anyone, we simply wanted what we paid for and to be treated with respect and honesty. We were great clients and didn't deserve to be ripped off. No one does and if that is the only way some car dealers believe they can make a buck they deserve to be publicly embarrassed and hopefully having their licenses yanked. Next time I'll name names.

- , Vancouver, BC, canada

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