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:
144,370 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Oct 262011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 126,025 miles


I purchased this vehicle thinking it would be a life long vehicle considering I had already purchased a reliable Volvo car in the past, the urgent service transmission appeared and I took it to a local transmission shop (being that there is no local dealership) as soon as the message appeared the transmission started to skip constantly causing a hazard, and then confirmed that the transmission needs to be replaced. I have done extensive research on the internet and I came to find that many of your XC90 transmissions fail and I would like to know how Volvo North America stands behind their vehicles in these situations. I would like to continue being a Volvo owner but being that I will be forced to spend thousands on a defect from Volvo it will make me think twice. I hope somebody can help me with this.

- Weslaco, TX, USA

problem #8

Sep 212011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 101,861 miles
My recently bought 2004 Volvo XC90 T6 transmission failed while I was driving on a major highway during rush hour. It took the entire length of the light to cross the intersection and several near-misses by other cars. Volvo refuses any responsibility for the faulty transmission and after further research, I found that the transmission was replaced at 50,093 miles in 2008 while under warranty by a previous owner.

- Freehold, NJ, USA

problem #7

May 182011


  • 132,694 miles
Transmission failure, loss of power and power steering. Updated 07/28/11

- Chico, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 252011

XC90 5-cyl

  • 130,342 miles


Moving about 70mph in cruise we felt a severe jerk followed by near instantaneous hard acceleration. The jerk/thud action so extreme it was almost like the Volvo tried to reverse gear by itself. It's strange how an ¿event¿ can conjure up common thoughts. After the uncontrolled hard acceleration, I had thoughts of that state patrol officer driving the Lexus in California who was killed along with his family when he couldn't control the bizarre behavior of the car. Turns out it was the same thoughts my brother had. ¿as we pulled over and call for help our Volvo did something bizarre again. We thought the rear wheel going backward at this time, almost at the same time most all the power in the Volvo went dead. O gauges incl. Speedometer, the tack, the gas, the battery, all out. Othe windows stuck in the up position. Ono taillights, no brake lights, no directional. Othe transmission stuck in a gear - either 4 or 5th. ¿while waiting for help at the auto zone, I searched what this issue might be. I found a Volvo forum that shows many people that had similar, dramatic issues with same year same model Volvo. ¿after re-connecting the battery, the power came back on oabout ½ hour later the Volvo repeated a very dramatic thump-jerk and the power started to go out. The tack and speedometer started dropping - dash lights dimmed and all of sudden the power came back - lights back and gauges popped back up. Oonly to be followed by another thump about one minute later and this time the power failure was similar to above (not sure about taillights as I was moving on the highway and not about to get out and check.) oon our next trip even at the reduced speeds - 5 or 6 times he Volvo did some bizarre jerk maneuver with 3 of the times followed by power failure. ¿we talked about options and we agreed that selling this vehicle to someone and possibly putting another family at risk. It is not the right thing to do and not a christian thing to do.

- Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA

problem #5

Dec 192010

XC90 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
2004 Volvo xc 90 T6 transmission. Purchased this vehicle new from dealer. @ 35,000 the transmission failed. Prior to the failure transmission began to slip and the vehicle was non responsive. Due to the delay of the transmission catching and propelling the vehicle forward we were in a near collision with another vehicle. Unit was replaced with a refurbished one from the dealer. @ 85,000 the vehicle began to show symptoms of transmission failure again. This time it was corrected with a software update. Now vehicle has 125,000 miles and transmission failure again. Vehicle showed no signs of transmission wear and tear. Just all of the sudden vehicle came non responsive to drivers gas inputs. This could be a huge hazard in high traffic conditions and potentially resulting in serious injuries and even death. Volvo refuses to recall this units. They only offered to cover 50% of the cost to repair. Volvo knows that these vehicles are prone to premature transmission failure and should recall and replace this units at no cost to the consumer. A quick inter net search and you will find thousands of people like me experiencing transmission problems on these vehicles. something needs to be done before someone gets hurt.

- San Diego, CA, USA

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problem #4

Sep 242010


  • 104,000 miles
A rubbing noise began in late September. I had an inspection and diagnostic at the dealership on September 23rd. They told me the front bearings and the lower engine mount pad should be replaced. The next day, while I was driving, the transmission seized. The car was towed and the dealership said they had to replace the transmission and entire coolant system. Their diagnostic specialist was unable to detect such a catastrophic failure the day before it happened. Who knows what would have happened if I was on the highway. Volvo acknowledged the problem but only paid for half of the parts and labor. I still had to come out of pocket $3000+.

- Oak Forest, IL, USA

problem #3

Jul 042010


  • 76,751 miles


We just purchased a 2004 Volvo XC90 T6 on June 2, 2010 from a private seller who originally purchased the vehicle and have it maintained fully at rickenbaugh Volvo in denver. We are first time owners of a Volvo vehicle. The car currently has 76,783 miles on it. After just owning the vehicle for 4 weeks and adding just 400 miles on the vehicle, the check engine light went on and while driving to the rickenbaugh Volvo service station, a message came up with 'urgent transmission service required'. we were told by the service manager that the car needs new transmission with radiator, oil cooler and oil cooler lines in the amount of $7,800. My wife and I were shocked and decided to take the vehicle home because we cannot afford this expense after just saving money for a year to purchase the vehicle 4 weeks ago. The vehicle was fully serviced at rickenbaugh and a 75,000 mile service was done on may, 2010. We went and searched the internet for problems with 2004 Volvo XC90 and found that there are a lot of reports of transmission issues/problems. Please call me at [xxx]. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #2

Jul 082008


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that he experienced tons of failures with the vehicle. The rack and pinion was replaced at 52,000 miles. The struts failed on the rear of the vehicle and the dealer had to repair the U joint. While driving 60 mph, the vehicle would not shift gears and the dealer stated that a new transmission was needed. Later, the contact discovered hundreds of complaints in regards to the same year, make, and model vehicle. The seals for the power transfer unit failed. Recently, the entire thermostat unit had to be replaced and the transmission failed. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 75,000 and current mileage was 76,500.

- Cortemadera, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 262007

XC90 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
Grinding noise in drive train rf wheel bearing seized, replaced for $257.50 labor charge. Vehicle is making noise again now.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

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