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:
2 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
98,739 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #121

Nov 032010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


While driving our Volvo xc-90, the entire electrical system shuts down (dashboard display, lighting, ac, power windows, power door locks, everything electrical etc.). additionally, for a split second the engine/transmission jerks and/or stalls before resuming. The first time this happened was in 2010 and never occurred again for several years. Then suddenly on a recent trip in August 2014 this happened repeatedly and the electrical system never returned to operation during that trip. In that August 2014 occurrence we were traveling down narrow state highway 1 in big sur, California. Had we lost control of the vehicle during the jerking episodes we could have gone off the narrow road and down the steep cliff side to our deaths. This put our family in a very perilous situation. Additionally, since the above incident in late August 2014 the vehicle has experienced numerous other flashes/jerking incidents while at highway speeds. This occurrence seems to be increasing. This is a very dangerous situation and needs to be addressed with a national re-call.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #120

Sep 102014

XC90 5-cyl

  • 148,000 miles
I have experienced the known issue with the central electronic module many times now. I have been driving at highway speeds and then experience the momentary jerking, loss of power, loss of instrument panel, and more. Sometimes I start my vehicle and it starts in limp home mode. Very frustrating and dangerous. This should be recalled and repaired by Volvo.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #119

Jun 102014

XC90 6-cyl

  • 136,298 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. Whenever the vehicle was driven over a bump in the road or if the contact inadvertently hit the key, the vehicle would stall. The latest failure occurred while driving 70 mph. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. Updated 10/30/14 updated 04/27/2015

- Dunedin, FL, USA

problem #118

Jul 302014

XC90 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While driving 55 mph, the vehicle stalled intermittently. The contact stated that the instrument panel and radio would shut off and the windshield wipers activated. Also, the ABS and anti skid traction control warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing, but was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was 104,000. Updated 10/8/14 the consumer stated the manufacturer was notified and did not offer any assistance due to the vehicles age. Updated 3/23/15

- Gerrardstown, WV, USA

problem #117

Jul 122014


  • 104,500 miles
2004 Volvo XC90 2.5T...driving at about 65 mph with no warning aloud thump noise, windshield wiper comes on radio goes off dash lights go off, last for a sec. Then resumes to normal. This has happened several times now, while I have only owned this vehicle for a month. Today it happens again only worse..after the initial thump and jerk it happens three more within 5 miles the last time I was going about 35 mph, big thump and jerk, wipers comes on, radio goes off, all dash lights hazards available and I get several warnings on dash brake failure, SRS failure and anti skid failure..I turn car off then back on and continue happens again 5 minutes later at 15 mph....I am reading many, many complaints like mine. This issue needs to be addressed asap..I almost was rear ended twice. Volvo needs to take responsibility.

- Gerrardstown, WV, USA

problem #116

Jul 072014


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While driving various speeds, the vehicle would stall and unknown warning indicators would illuminate. It took the contact numerous attempts to restart the vehicle. In addition, the contact stated that the windshield wipers activated independently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 76,000.

- Bronx , NY, USA

problem #115

May 172014

XC90 5-cyl

  • 155,000 miles


3 hours into a 3-1/2 hour weekend road trip there was a clunk in the engine compartment. Thinking I hit a pothole, I continued on cautiously. While continuing on these unfamiliar 2 lane windy roads going 43mph (the speed limit was 55) about 2 miles from where the clunk happened my entire dash cluster stopped working. All my dome lights and leg lights came on. The car clunked harder this time. I lost power to the engine, steering was like trying to turn a tank, and the brakes were very spongy. Still traveling on windy roads with large semi trucks behind me and cars passing by in the opposite lane I veered to the right to avoid being rear ended by a semi. Not being able to steer or stop as efficiently as before I coasted into a residents 2-3 man rock landscape traveling at about 5mph. I dented my front license plate and scratched the bumper. With my heart pounding, I turned the car off and got out to see the damage. I went to the residents home and told them my story. They were thankful my fiancé and I were okay. Since I hit rock there was no damage done to their landscape. After 20 minutes I started the car. It was hesitant to start. The brake failure light was on for a few seconds then the SRS service warning light came on and stayed on. For the remainder of the weekend trip the car would lurch like the tranny was slipping. Especially after taking off from a stop light. It still clunks once in awhile but we only drive it around town. It's currently at a certified Volvo specialist being serviced. This morning all lights stopped working and I couldn't get it out of the garage. The key stuck in the ignition. In conclusion, this mishap could have resulted in a serious injury or fatality. If every car of this make and model is doing this, they need to be recalled and repaired!

- Everett , WA, USA

problem #114

Jul 092014

XC90 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
While going up a hill about 45 mile per hour the lights on my dash as well as the radio turned off. I pulled over turned the car off and back on all the lights returned however my gas gauge no longer works as well as unlocking back doors and door to gas tank. There are many complaints about this part I don't see why there are no recalls this is very unsafe I could've easily crashed due to loss of power breaks and the car not making it up the hill.

- Newburgh, NY, USA

problem #113

Jul 102014

XC90 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Driving vehicle at 45mph and key switched out of the "run" position while being driven. Vehicle's engine completely shut off, rendering power brakes, power steering and airbags as not operational.

- Kingwood, TX, USA

problem #112

May 162013

XC90 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo xc 90. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the windshield wipers activated independently and the instrument panel went completely dark. The vehicle started making a clicking noise and stalled. The vehicle was merged to the side of the road and the battery was disconnected. The vehicle was restarted and resumed its normal operations. The failure recurred. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 86,000 and the current mileage was 93,000. Updated 10/1/14

- Pleasant Ridge, MI, USA

problem #111

Jun 302014


  • 18,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that after several attempts the vehicle failed to start. The contact mentioned that for a moment the entire instrument panel illuminated, but then the check engine light continued to illuminate. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who diagnosed that the ce module needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 18,000.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #110

Jun 172014

XC90 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
While on the interstate at 60mph, experienced temporarily loss of power, the ip displays and an abnormal 'jerking' in the transmission/drivetrain. The SRS airbag and brake failure error messages appeared in the ip error display. The wipers momentarily came on. Lights dimmed. Power failure was only for a split-second (at 60mph) before returning to normal. After normal power was restored, error messages continued to be shown in the ip error display. The brake failure message instructed me to pull over and bring the vehicle to a safe stop. Upon bringing the vehicle to a safe stop and turning off ignition, I heard excessive electrical clicking under the dash (like relays clicking). All ip displays were non-responsive (dark). I locked the car (alarm armed) and later returned with a tow-truck. Upon return to the car, I was unable to unlock it or disarm the alarm. Car was unresponsive. Alarm was armed (unable to be disarmed) and the engine bypass feature of the alarm prevented me from starting the car. Could only gain entry into the car from the driver's side door with physical key. Car was placed in neutral and loaded onto a flatbed truck for tow back to Volvo dealership. Temperature at time of failure was 110F.

- Washougal, WA, USA

problem #109

May 252014


  • 95,000 miles
While driving down the road around 50 mph the XC90 skipped and temporarily turned off all elections. Thought it was a glitch so continued down the road more carefully. Then it happened again and the electronics never came back on. I couldn't make it up a small hill on the road to get safely home. My transmission wouldn't pull. The speed gauge and rpms were completely unworking. Windows would not roll down air had went out. Power steering temporarily went out. Made it home finally and nothing seems wrong now but there is obviously a problem that needs to be fixed. I could have easily been in a wreak or stranded on the side of the road with my babies. Volvo needs to take responsibility.

- Lyerly, GA, USA

problem #108

Aug 142013


  • 105,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph, the vehicle momentarily lost power without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the technician could not diagnose a failure however, the battery was replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 105,000 and the current mileage was 109,000.

- Trinity, NC, USA

problem #107

Apr 182014


  • 95,000 miles
On two separate occasions, our vehicle would not restart after stopping for gas. This occurred after it was serviced and battery replaced a week prior. Aaa was unable to jump start it as well, and vehicle had to be towed back to dealership for repairs. According to the two separate dealerships, the central electronics module is the culprit, and needed replacing. Across multiple online forums, Volvo owners have complained about similar problems with the cem, often placing drivers and occupants in danger as they experienced complete electrical outage at highway speeds. We were fortunately that our vehicle just did not restart, instead of shutting down in traffic at 65 mph. This is a significant safety issue, and Volvo should be responsible for replacing the faulty units.

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #106

Dec 022013

XC90 5-cyl

  • 76,000 miles
The ignition turns to the accessory position if the key is bumped, while the vehicle is in gear. The vehicle loses power steering and power brakes. This has happened twice in the last year.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #105

Nov 172013


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that the electrical system failed and the instrumental panel became dark as the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where a diagnostic was performed. The technician advised that the electronic control module failed due to water intrusion. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 115,000.

- Atlanta , GA, USA

problem #104

Dec 032012


  • 74,000 miles
While driving at highway speeds, the vehicle experienced a complete systems failure of engine, lighting, wipers, interior lighting (dash), brake failure message and SRS airbag service warnings. This has begun to happen repeatedly. This problem appears to be the same that many other XC90 owners have been experiencing.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #103

Aug 252013


  • 106,530 miles
While driving 70 mph on I-5 we heard a loud thump in the engine compartment and we suddenly went to about 25 mph all of our electronic systems shut down, there was an extremely loud grinding sound for approx. 2-3 seconds. Now I think my transmission is damaged and the electronics system shuts down pretty frequently. I am totally disappointed to read that this has happened to numerous other families. Thank god no one has died from this.....this is very irresponsible and negligent from a reputable auto company. Is it going to take someone or family to get seriously injured or die before they acknowledge this very serious issue. Its time for someone to be accountable for this.

- Federal Way, WA, USA

problem #102

Jul 042013

XC90 5-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
Engine passenger side caught fire in the an electrical component, flames shooting out the wheel well. Other drivers flagged to pull over, turned off ignition key and removed to get out of vehicle. Engine would not turn off, called the fire department to extinguish the fire for fear of explosion. Fire department used an ax to stop the engine. Car was totaled. No one was injured.

- Newark, DE, USA

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