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
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,000 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #1

Dec 222005

XC90 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles


I am experiencing continuing safety problems with my Volvo XC90. This vehicles all wheel drive (AWD) system is malfunctioning without warning and at random times. This results in unpredictable and erratic vehicle handling which creates serious safety issues to the vehicles driver and occupants. This has been occurring for at least one year and was confirmed and documented by a Volvo dealer during the summer of 2005. I must point out this safety problem involves an active system that cannot be controlled, adjusted or disabled by the vehicles driver. This safety problem caused an accident during the winter of 2005. At that time, the all wheel drive system failed suddenly and without warning on a snow covered road. This caused sudden and uncontrolled front wheel spin which led to a loss of vehicle control and with the vehicle sliding off a road. A tow truck was required to move the vehicle back on the road. The Volvo dealer that confirmed the problem has made several failed attempts to repair it. They have documented communication problems within the vehicles high speed network and reloaded vehicle software. They have also replaced: 1) the vehicles front wheel sensors, 2) the mfi module used for vehicle diagnostics, 3) the BCM module used by the AWD system, and 4) the AWD aoc unit with clutch and transmission. None of this has resolved the safety problems I am experiencing from this vehicle. This Volvo dealer has told me the problem cannot be repaired because: 1) the vehicles diagnostic system does not report any diagnostic codes, 2) their own technicians cannot diagnose the problem, and 3) Volvo technicians cannot determine the problem. My requests to Volvo cars of North America have been ignored or rejected, even by Volvo Consumer Affairs and Volvo regional managers. I am left to driving a vehicle with obvious safety problems that cannot be diagnosed or repaired by anyone.

- Wildomar, CA, USA

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