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:
32,850 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

problem #4

Nov 282011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


I purchased my 04' xc 90 six months ago from a private party (original owner) who kept the car in immaculate condition. The reason I purchased a Volvo was that I wanted a dependable and safe car for myself and my young children. Recently, I was left stranded with my children and no cell service because my key would not turn past position one to turn on the car. There were no signs that the car had anything wrong with it prior to this happening. After finding our way to a telephone and having the car towed to a mechanic I was told that it needed a new ignition switch. I did some research to find that this is a very common problem with Volvo. I read stories on multiple forums that were very similar to mine. My children and I were put into a potentially life threatening situation that easily could have been avoided had there been a recall on the ignition switch. This part is obviously faulty on multiple Volvo models and it seems like it should be something that they should fix.

- Gridley, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 182006

XC90 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
: the contact stated while the vehicle was placed in park with the ignition turned on, the driver attempted to turn off the ignition while standing outside the vehicle and the vehicle rolled forward and crashed into the garage. No injuries were sustained. There was moderate damage to the front of the vehicle and the garage. The police were not alerted. The vehicle was towed to a dealer who was unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was alerted.

- Englewood, NJ, USA

problem #2

Jul 072005

XC90 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,400 miles
We leased our Volvo XC90-T almost exactly 1 year ago to date from South county Volvo. Less than 3 months later, the car wouldn't start. They said that my wife must have left a light on; the battery was recharged and we took the car back. 2 months later, the car again would not start; again it was towed-back to the dealership. This time, they said the battery was bad. The third time they said there was bad switch which controls the lights and that was changed. On the fourth occasion, which incidentally occurred excatly one year later on July 7th, 2005, they (again) said we must have left a light one can be that dumb, not even me!. I am fast losing my confidence in Volvo!

- Canoga Park, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 162003


  • miles
XC90 does not start - the problem persisted for over 4 weeks and dealer could not fix the problem.

- C, CT, USA

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