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:
106,419 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #8

Aug 272010


  • 68,000 miles


There is a low beam failure intermittently on the driver's side regardless of whether I'm using the daytime running lights or the bi-xenon headlights. The bulb has been replaced, fuses checked, wiring connections checked and the failure continues. The only incident this has caused has been a warning from a police officer about getting it repaired. I have taken it back to the dealership twice and they indicate that everything is running fine, however the bulb failure typically happens after the car has warmed up and has been driven for a while.

- Westminster, CO, USA

problem #7

Sep 092010


  • 169,200 miles
My headlights, driving lights, park lights, and turn signals are not working. This began when I started to go somewhere last night. All of these things were working the day before. The tail lights, turn signals, and brake lights are working in the rear. My vehicle is garaged when it is not in use. My radio, cd player, or satellite radio would not operate 2 days ago and started working the next time I started my car. About 2 weeks ago the car wouldn't start. It acted like the security system had been activated as it would crank, but not start. I waited for about an hour and tried it again and it started the first time. I have checked all fuses. I am taking it to the repair shop today to see if they can figure out what is happening. These problems are intermittent and do not repeat often enough to diagnose properly. I can see this being very dangerous if I were driving at night and the headlights went out. I live in a rural area with a large deer population and it is hard enough to avoid them with the headlights working.

- Rogers, AR, USA

problem #6

Sep 032010


  • 94,000 miles
Main headlight system failure due to electrical system defect. In 2006 both vehicle head lights stopped working. On 07/03/06 main beam fuse replaced by dealer to correct problem. In 2010 right-side headlight stopped working. Customer replaced bulb per dash warning light but did not correct problem. Customer inspection of bulb contacts and bulb holder showed evidence of high heat due to melting of metal and plastic. On 07/16/10 Volvo dealer replaced headlight ballast, control module, contact unit and bulb. Right headlight problem corrected at cost of $435.09 - ballast & control module; $108.90 - contact unit; and $162 - bulb, plus labor. Current problem is left-side headlight not working and appears to be a repeat of previous right-side problem.

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #5

Aug 302010

XC90 6-cyl

  • 99,900 miles


2004 Volvo XC90 headlight failure. Headlights failed Monday, August 30th in the evening. I have yet to take it to the Volvo dealership, but searched online and noticed that this is a concern for other owners and the NHTSA.

- Highland, MI, USA

problem #4

May 012010


  • 99,000 miles
Passenger side headlight bulb (philips D2R 85126 xenon hid) on my 2004 Volvo XC90 had to be replaced. After inserting a new replacement bulb identical to the original bulb, I am paying more attention to that headlight. It shines brighter than the driver's side headlight, and it blinks once for about a second after turning the car on. After reading on that Volvo are under investigation for faulty headlight circuitry, I suspect this is the case with my car, and that this replacement bulb will fail soon.

- Durham, NC, USA

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problem #3

Jul 252010


  • 104,365 miles
On our 2004 Volvo XC90 the headlights suddenly went dark, no low or high beams at all. I am now being told it is a module and the repair cost is in excess of $1200. The car has hid headlights. This outage created a very serious safety issue in that we were driving up highway 395 at night when the complete failure of the headlights occurred. In researching the issue on the internet it appears it is a relatively common failure.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 042008


  • 60,000 miles
While driving my 2004 Volvo xc-90 at night I experienced a momentary loss of control, followed by the headlights pausing and then going from high beams to low. The instrument cluster lost some of it's displays and the door locks became inoperative. The data display warned me of an "urgent SRS failure". I was at low speed a block from home so I crept home and the next day sent the car to triad Volvo by roll-back wrecker. Problem was failure of central electronic module. I called Volvo corporate and they seemed disinterested.

- Statesville, NC, USA

problem #1

Jun 302006

XC90 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,750 miles
Unsafe front suspension repaired 4 times by Volvo involving district factory technical supervisor and technicians on 3 of four occasions and the vehicle still has serious safety and handling concerns - no one in the family will drive the car. It has also had serious performance related safety issues regarding vehicle electronics virtually shutting the vehicle down in the middle of an interstate. Anti skid problems on multiple occasions. Drivers seat belt anchor was improperly attached and would not have held in an accident. The steering wheel came dangerously loose while driving and the dealership stated that it had never been properly affixed. (I have owned 300 cars in my life and never has a steering wheel come loose)! tires were abnormally badly and quickly due to significant suspension problems and were not warranty by the manufacture.. electrical problems caused several fuses to blow in the dark effectively turning all rear marker and tail lights off. It was necessary to drive with the hazard lights on to avoid being hit by another driver.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

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