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:
76,256 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 #12

Nov 052012

XC90 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


While driving on the highway with my two small children, the car made a knocking noise and driver console/dash stopped working. The lights went out, and all gauges went to "zero." I no longer had turn signals either. I feared for our lives. I have done research, and have found that others have this same issue with 2004 Xc90S.

- Wausau, WI, USA

problem #11

Aug 012012

XC90 5-cyl

  • miles
2004 Volvo xc-90. Consumer states problem with crankcase vent the consumer received a second a opinion and was informed the throttle body needed to be cleaned.

- Mcdonough, GA, USA

problem #10

Sep 202006


  • 86,000 miles
There appears to be a problem with the XC90 Volvo transmission in all years. The message error code given is "transmission service required". the dealers claims it just has to update the car software to correct the problem. However, if you check the internet for problems reported on this same issue, you will find it is not just an isolated problem which need to be investigated.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #9

Oct 282010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 135 miles


While driving on the highway at night, all electrical indicators on dashboard including the turn signals stop working then the vehicle started slowing down. After stopping I was unable to open gas tank and tailgate where the battery is located. I took the vehicle to the Volvo dealer and they were unable to duplicate the incident. Now this has happen 7 more times. I am a single parent with minor children in my vehicle. Please assist. Someone inform me the problem might be with the central electrical module. I purchase this vehicle used and it is out of warranty. I have seen lots of complaints about this vehicle why is there not a recall on the central electrical module? please do something before there are fatalities.

- Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #8

Feb 212011

XC90 5-cyl

  • 70,460 miles
Six occurrences starting when vehicle (purchased new) was approx "7 years old at mileage 70K": while driving, engine dies without warning. Has been checked by dealer 3 times, had ignition assembly and column replaced after 2nd or 3rd episode and problem still occurs. Dealer states computer check did not reveal any code to diagnose the problem. When the engine dies, lose power steering and brakes, have to glide to edge of street, put hazard blinkers on, once had to jolt the car into park to stop it. Car restarts very shortly after power was lost. So far happens at "neighborhood" speeds <=35 mph.

- Palatine, IL, USA

problem #7

Oct 082011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 113,026 miles
While driving the electronics shut off and the engine dies as if its in neutral. Took to Volvo service and they said a can software upgrade would solve it, this did not solve it, immediately after we left the same thing happened within a few miles, engine shut down, power went out, when restarted the SRS airbag error code came on as well as the ABS break failure message. I see you guys have completed an investigation (PE10025) on this but what the heck is being done about it. This car is very dangerous to my wife and newborn!!!! the car goes from 70 to 10mph on the freeway, how is this not as important as the issue with Toyota excessive acceleration problem, does someone need to die before you guys take this serious!

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #6

Oct 012011

XC90 5-cyl

  • 123,200 miles


I was driving on the freeway and there was a slight thumping noise and the electrical systems failed and shutdown in a second. The power was lost and the vehicle came to a sudden halt. Luckily I was on the right side of the road and I had pulled over to the side of the road. It was very scary, as I was on the freeway in the night and I could have very well been in an accident causing damage to my life and others. The electrical failure caused the car to loose complete control of the speed and the car came to an immediate halt. There was a message of break failure for a second before the car shut down completely. Request you to please look into this concern as it is a potential safety hazard. I have researched over the internet and I read that most of the owners of 2004/2005 XC90 are facing similar issues, which is very scary. Kindly help us and help save lives. Thanking you.

- Superior, CO, USA

problem #5

Jul 262011


  • 76,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While driving approximately 50 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The contact was able to maneuver to the side of the road, the vehicle was turned off. Upon restarting the vehicle, the contact resumed operation cautiously. The vehicle was taken an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing. The contact was waiting for a response from the dealer regarding the cause of the failure. The malfunction occurred after driving for at least one hour at highway speeds. The manufacturer was notified of the defect and a complaint was filed. The approximate failure mileage was 76,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Wayland, MA, USA

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

Nov 272010


  • 134,500 miles
At 65mph on a highway, the vehicle registered a "anti-skid service required" fault message, then an "electrical service required" message. The engine then quit running, the steering became unresponsive and the vehicle immediately started decelerating. The braking was very mushy and the car was difficult to pull over and stop. The car would not start. All the lights and the battery seem to be working fine. The dealership determined the cem (engine control module) was defective and needs replacement.

- Mount Pleasant, SC, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Dec 182008


  • 41,000 miles
Transmission replacement on 2004 Volvo XC90 with 41,000 miles.

- Portland, OR, USA

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