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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,000 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 cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #2

Jan 142009

XC90 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


I was driving on the parkway and notice a warning light on the dash. It stated urgent transmission needs service. I've taken it to the dealer and needed to replace transmission and radiator among other things.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #1

Oct 142008


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact noticed transmission and radiator fluid near her vehicle. She experienced hard shifting when changing gears. While driving approximately 55 mph, the transmission light illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact pulled over and turned off the vehicle. The vehicle would no longer "pull" and was towed to the dealer. She was informed that a new transmission and radiator were needed. She also found out that the radiator coolant contaminated the transmission. The repair would cost approximately $5,900. The contact wrote a letter to the president of the manufacturing company, but did not receive a response. She also spoke with the manufacturer's customer service line and was informed that they could not assist because the vehicle was outside of the warranty. The current mileage was approximately 122,000 and failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Bowdon, GA, USA

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