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:
70,841 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 6)

problem #102

Jan 142009

XC90 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles


I was driving on the parkway and notice a warning light on the dash. It stated urgent transmission needs service. I've taken it to the dealer and needed to replace transmission and radiator among other things.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #101

Aug 282011


  • miles
The transmission on my 2004 Volvo XC90 went out while I was driving with my children in the car. This is a well known defect in this car yet Volvo has refused to recall these vehicles and repair them. They have quoted us $7700 to repair and replace transmission and other parts damaged by the failed transmission. Does someone have to be killed before something is done? these cars need to be recalled and Volvo needs to take responsibility for putting in defective transmissions. A simple web search will reveal thousands of posts from owners with the exact same issue with these faulty transmissions.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #100

Aug 112011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
I have a 2004 Volvo XC90 with 78,000 miles on it and the transmission needs to be replaced. This is ridiculous for such a nice car. I don't have $5,000 to replace a transmission. Volvo needs to step up to the plate.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #99

Jul 262011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 54,286 miles


I own a 2004 Volvo XC90 tc. The mileage on the vehicle is 54,000 approximately. As of 7/26 the transmission has failed, the cost to repair is 5,200 usd. There is a known problem with this year, make, and model of transmissions. Volvo will not cover the cost of repairs nor have they issued a recall for this widely known problem.

- Cornelius, NC, USA

problem #98

Jul 012011


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. The contact stated the transmission was replaced on 1/27/2007, because the seals failed in the drive train. The contact stated the failure recurred and when the vehicle was taken back to the dealer, they stated the transmission failed again. The contact stated the transmission was first replaced under warranty, but the manufacturer stated the recent failure was not a manufacturers defect. The contact feels it is a manufacturers defect because the time frame of both failures which were identical. The current mileage on the vehicle was 80,000.

- Stanton, VA, USA

problem #97

Jun 192011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Transmission failure on 2004 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD. Driving on rural road when transmission locked in 3rd gear. Vehicle would not slow down utlizing down shifting on hilly roads. The vehicle on has approx 60K miles. Losing the transmission really hinders the performance and control of the vehicle.

- Madison, AL, USA

problem #96

Feb 012011


  • 72,000 miles


2004 Volvo XC90 T6 "transmission service urgent" error message appears. Car jumps when changing gear and sometimes has no power when pushing the gas. Car has 72K+ miles.

- Garden City, NY, USA

problem #95

Mar 092011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
2nd transmission failure on my 2004 Volvo XC90 T6 aamco is quoting me at $4000 to rebuild or $5500 to replace, would be second replacement for this vehicle.

- Rehoboth, DE, USA

problem #94

Jan 152011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 108,540 miles
Liquid (probably water) inside the frame of Volvo XC90 causing electrical issues.

- Niskayuna, NY, USA

problem #93

Dec 012010

XC90 6-cyl

  • 107,000 miles
I have a 2004 Volvo XC90. At approximately 52K miles, the XC90 1st generation transmission went bad and had to be replaced. Carlsen Volvo (palo alto, ca) agreed to cover the cost of the transmission replacement. I was very pleased with the service and went on my way. In December 2010 at ~107,000K miles, the transmission started to hesitate & function erratically while driving. Within afew days, the car was parked at my home, and was unable to engage in forward or reverse. I towed the car in; it was diagnosed w/ internal transmission problem. The service rep said that she would talk to the factory rep regarding compensation. The dealer rep called Volvo N.a. rep, wyatt, who offered to pay for the parts (~$3,500) but I would have to pay for the labor(~$1,500). My husband countered that we would like the whole thing paid for since it was well known factory defect. When wyatt heard of our counter offer, he not only denied this, but simply stated that the deal was off the table, period. The next day, I reconsidered and asked the service rep to call wyatt again with our acceptance of the initial deal. Wyatt refused to put the deal back on the table and said we should pay for the repairs ourselves. Then called Volvo customer care who documented the complete story, contacted wyatt via email to again. However, wyatt refused. Apparently because I have chosen in the past to have a personal mechanic service my car, change the oil and tires, etc. I am considered to be a "disloyal Volvo customer" and this was a consideration in wyatt's decision not to pay for my transmission, even though it is a defective part. At this point, I had to have my car back, and told carlsen to replace the transmission. Carlsen offered a 10% discount off the total price. A very kind gesture, however, I had to pay $4,600 out of pocket for another new transmission for this car. It's well documented that the 1st and 2nd generation transmissions for this model have been defective. I am disgusted.

- Mountain View, CA, USA

problem #92

Dec 102010


  • 125,000 miles


Transmission failure requiring complete replacement of transmission (no rebuild), radiator and transmission cooler.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #91

Oct 082010


  • miles
Transmission failure on 2004 Volvo XC90. This is a known problem by Volvo but they haven't issued a formal recall. The service department I deal with stated they replace on average 10 a month. The average cost that owners are facing is $7000.

- Oak Ridge, TN, USA

problem #90

Oct 042010


  • 87,000 miles
"transmission service urgent"light is on. I purchased this vehicle "new" in July 2003. Currently has 87,000 miles. Noticed slippage over one year ago. Acceleration at times after being stopped vehicle would hesitate from slippage, dangerous at intersections making turns in front of oncoming traffic. Researched online and discovered this model has numerous, numerous reports and complaints regarding transmission failures with a wide range of mileage. Vehicle rolled back after being stopped at a intersection today 10/04/10 and I struggled to get vehicle to accelerate and get it home. Barely made it into the garage when I noticed the transmission service light was on.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #89

Oct 012010


  • 106,000 miles
2004 Volvo xc 90 and transmission is failed as well as motor mounts, wheel bearing boots, etc. Dealer knows about these recurring issues with others of same year, but claims it is only my issue. Purchase price was ~$55K and with only 106K miles I should not now have to spend ~$5K for a new tranny.

- Wheatley Heights, NY, USA

problem #88

Aug 282010


  • miles
Failed transmission.

- Derry, NH, USA

problem #87

Aug 272010


  • 134,000 miles
Volvo CX90 2004 faulty transmission. The transmission on my car warning, no transmission light. Volvo has placed a faulty GM transmission in the car and they need to recall it. It is a safety issue and a cost issue. Volvo, I believe is aware of this issue and they need to step up and fix it.

- Daniel Island, SC, USA

problem #86

Jul 242010


  • 106,000 miles
2004 Volvo XC90 transmission failure - the transmission failed in my Volvo at 106,000 miles. This is the 3rd transmission that has been installed in the vehicle. The cost to me was $3000.

- Okemos, MI, USA

problem #85

Aug 022010


  • 39,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Volvo XC90. While driving at 35 mph, the transmission began dragging and the vehicle would not accelerate. The dealer performed a diagnostic and found that the transmission would need to be replaced. In addition, the dealer advised there was a small leak from the power steering pump. There were no repairs. The failure and the current mileages were 39,000.

- Freemount , CA, USA

problem #84

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 #83

Jul 092010


  • 96,133 miles
Traveling on highway 231 North just South of montgomery. Came to a stop at traffic light, proceeded through light but car would not shift. In heavy traffic, car was sluggish and stuck in third gear. Almost ran into by tractor-trailer because we could not get out of the way.

- Valrico, FL, USA

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