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:
58,667 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 022011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 42,000 miles


Early catastrophic engine failure. We bought this car new in 2004. Last year, at approx 35,000 miles, we had to replace the head gasket ($5000). Today I was told by our Volvo service center that the engine was blown and we needed a new one. ($12,500) this car has always been gently driven, has extremely low mileage yet has demonstrated that it's engine is a lemon.

- Topanga, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 222010


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While driving 60 mph, the engine stalled with the illumination of the brake and air bag warning lights. The contact was able to restart the vehicle within five minutes after several attempts. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was awaiting the results of the diagnostic test. The manufacturer was not contacted. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 115,000.

- Norristown, PA, USA

problem #4

Jul 232007


  • 54,000 miles
Transmission failure twice and fuel pump replaced and still leaking in our Volvo XC90 2004 T6 truck. Volvo replaced the transmission twice, but we still had repair costs both times. Fuel pump replaced and still leaking causing large amounts of gas fumes in vehicle. Taking into Volvo to fix fuel pump again today that is covered under the recall but just got it back from 2nd transmission repair where I had to pay for the internal engine leaks that could not be detected that in turn contaminated the 2nd transmission. I do not believe I should have paid $1600 in repairs when it has been serviced and cannot detect these internal oil leaks from the engine. This make and model year has been costly and dangerous. Truck has stopped in the middle of left turn, almost resulting in head on collision. This truck seems to fall under lemon law. We have had problems with this truck since has had 2 transmission replacements and now 2 fuel pumps, both Volvo pumps. I should incur zero costs other than oil changes and general maintenance. These are major equipment failures in this Volvo XC90 T6 2004 and the entire vehicle should be recalled. I will be submitting my repair costs to Volvo North America. Thank you for your review of this in advance.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #3

Oct 262009


  • 85,000 miles


Engine failure. Symptoms started with starting difficulty. Replacement of RPM and cam sensors followed. Symptoms continued with trouble shooting leading to discovery of damage to flywheel and bell housing. Crankshaft out of spec for front to back movement. Dealer recommendation to replace engine. Dealer believes most likely cause related to thrust bearing failure. Engine and car always maintained to manufacturer's recommended schedules. Car is out of warranty. Although no claim of owner failure, Volvo refuses to stand behind product or assist in any way with major product failure.

- Gibsonia, PA, USA

problem #2

Nov 032007


  • 56,000 miles
Transmission failure on our 2004 Volvo xc-90 T6 AWD at approximately 56,000K miles. Fortunately it was a warranty repair; however my research on automotive discussion boards like edumds indicates a very large pattern of failure of the transmission on this model.

- Apo , AE, USA

problem #1

Mar 152005


  • miles
Thank you letter regarding Volvo's response to consumer problem.** answer required***. the vehicle's engine failed at only 10500 miles due to sludge in the engine. The manufacturer claimed that the vehicle was improperly maintained although the consumer provided them with service receipts.

- New York, NY, USA

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