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:
76,183 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments

problem #11

Apr 152016


  • miles


There has been problems with steering the driver shafts the fuel pump airbags and wheels making a clicking noise while driving on highway. The gas smell is always inside the car and mechanic has said it's from the fuel pump defect during manufacturer. Along with the other fore-mention defects.Volvo does not want to address issues because age of car. There is a defective sunroof that allows water to leak inside the car during rain fall. There has been a top class action placed against Volvo for this. They wanted to charge me $700 to $800 for this defect and $1200 to $1500 for fuel pump.

- Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #10

Jan 152016


  • 170,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While driving various speeds, the power steering failed and several warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle stalled. The contact stated that a new alternator was placed in the vehicle two days prior to the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 170,000. The VIN was not available.

- Deale, MD, USA

problem #9

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 #8

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 #7

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 #6

Oct 012010


  • 77,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While traveling 35-45 mph the contact noticed that the front driver side tire had suddenly turned outward rubbing against the wheel which caused the vehicle to come to stop. The vehicle was not diagnosed and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 77000.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #5

Jul 242010


  • 75,000 miles


After driving 125 miles without incident, we left our 2004 Volvo xc 90 T6 AWD parked for 4 hours before driving again. After less than a half mile at low speed, there was a "thump" from the front of the car, the wipers cycled, the gauges all went blank, some of the windows stopped working, the A/C went out (blower stayed on). The car stayed on, but seemed "stuck" in second gear and the brakes became "spongy, " but operable. Turn signals were inoperable and the power steering went out. The indicator light on the gear shift went out and the central locking system stopped functioning. We got out of traffic and into the shade. I checked all fuses and tried to restart the car. It would restart, but within seconds there were multiple "clicks" coming from the area near the fuse box in the passenger compartment followed by the electrical failures described above. After letting the car sit for a couple of hours we moved it to a secure location two miles away. During that drive all of the above problems happened again, including the engine being "stuck" in second gear. After letting the car sit overnight, it started and ran without incident. However, the "check engine" light and the "SRS" light have remained on. A repair shop could not diagnose the problem. Prior to this incident, the same things happened to my wife in the same car. The symptoms lasted a few seconds and disappeared.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #4

Jun 032008


  • 76,000 miles
Transmission replaced June 08 front control arms and bushings and coolant reservoir replaced Sept. 08 thermostat & housing & temp sensor replaced Jan. 08 brake vacuum pump replaced for 2nd time Jan. 08 brake vacuum pump replaced Sept. 07 gasket, O-ring, hose clamp recall Sept. 07 power steering pump and brake vacuum pump installed July 07 steering rack solenoid replaced July 07 - (recall May 3, 08?) new Bridgestone tires May 07 upper engine torques mount replaced March 07 recall wiper arm 156, ball joint 157 Oct. 06 brake pad & rotors replaced Oct 06 upgrade software a & C July 05 ABS brakes warranty fix May 06 front pads & rear pads & rotors replaced Dec. 05 exhaust rubbing on driveline, install kit to hold exhaust off driveline Dec. 05 left rear wheel bearing & hub, rear pads & rotors replaced June 05 4 new tires June 05 turbo control valve replaced March 05 front pads and rotors replaced Oct. 04.

- Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Apr 252005

XC90 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10 miles
Steering feels sloppy and car pulls to the left. Dealer sent it for alignment for more that 10 times. Problem not rectified. Dealer also replaced the flange nut in the steering wheel but feels still sloppy.

- Brunei, 00, USA

problem #1

Aug 262004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On August, 26, 2004 there was a major malfunction in our Volvo XC90 (2004). While driving with 2 small children in car seats and 2 adults on a major highway; suddendly, there was no acceleration in the gas pedal and the stearing wheel did not function. We managed to slowly move to the side of the road from what momentum was left in the car, and avoid an accident. We were obviously very shaken up, and find this car completely unsafe. It has been 3 weeks now getting the run around with the cherry hill, New Jersey Volvo dealer. They said "there's nothing wrong with the car". the car is unsafe for our family, and presents a danger for others on the road. We are afraid it will stop dead again on a major highway with death or injuries occuring to either ourselves or others. The dealer asked us what we wanted "we finally said, (after they said they'd get us a new SUV and did not) that we want our money back ($3,000 deposit) and we don't want this car they sold us. Today, they made us take this car back and they are refusing our request to refund our money. Also, the car was towed on a flat bed truck in to the dealer on July 13th, 2004 as the car did not start.. "relays were loose in the icm and cem etc.," [we have the service order] on this day, the message on the car said something to the effect "urgent malfunction in SUV air bags..." and we unloaded the family and it was towed to the Volvo dealership. And the car's 2 side mirrors work one day and not the next. Tomorrow I take matthew to his first day at pre-school, and I'm half thinking what if something happens to the car when we're driving. It's amazing to me that Volvo can let me leave their parking lot with this car this evening, and the aren't taking safety seriously at all. So, at 11:00 pm I am up letting the NHTSA know what's going on. We are willing to help in anyway we can. Sincerely, the lawrence family.

- Medford, NJ, USA

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