really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
93,328 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.

2005 Volvo XC90 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2005 Volvo XC90 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Feb 062010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 66,754 miles


Our car wouldn't start in our garage one morning. Turns out, we needed a new cem due to a leaking protection box (I can't remember the name of it but it started with a P). After 843 in parts and 816 in labor and almost a month at the dealer due to a backordered wiring harness the problem was fixed. After doing some research we have discovered that this is an epidemic among Volvo owners and we are actually one of the lucky ones whose car died while it was parked instead of while we were driving! this is ridiculously dangerous and the fact that this leaking box is a common problem and that Volvo has actually developed a redesigned model to fix the issue with their first gen model leads me to believe that they should be forced to replace their faulty design in all of their Xc90S. As someone who bought her Volvo for its reputation for safety, I am disgusted that this problem has been allowed to go on for so long.

- Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #22

Jan 172012


  • 76,132 miles
I drove in severe down pour yesterday and experienced an yellow error message followed by an electrical short and anti skid message. I reduced my speed to 50 mph on the interstate and proceeded home. After stopping the lights would not turn off and I immediately took it in for service where the technician advised me that this was a problem with water getting into the engine compartment wiring harness and causing the central electronic module to short ciruit and rust. This repair alone costs over $5000 due their defective design and improper sealing of important electrical components. I avoided any possible accidents by driving slowly but do not feel safe were I to travel in inclement weather in the future. I do believe that the electrical system would short circuit leaving me without essential power and possibly hurt or stranded. I can see from your database that an investigation was completed on 11/22/2010 under id PE10025 citing no real safety issues. I disagree and would encourage you to revisit this issue immediately. Volvo has conceded to replace the cem ($753.52) unit but not the engine compartment ($3034.71) that houses it, therefore owners like myself will continue to experience the same problem and real danger from it.

- Old Hickory, TN, USA

problem #21

Aug 302011


  • 90,000 miles
A complaint was previous filed regarding to turn signal problem. Situation getting worse. Volvo XC90 V8 2005; replaced cem unit two years back. Recently following problems happened. 1. turn signal stop working 2. no high beam 3. no windshield washing 4. no cruise control 5. no vehicle information function problems look like associated with faulty cem again. Vehicle is very risky to drive with unreliable or not-functioning turn signal.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #20

Aug 202011

XC90 8-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


Volvo XC90 2005 low beam bulb failure error and one beam turns off. Then comes back on, and sometimes all lights go off. Very dangerous at night. If you turn the headlight dial to another setting they will come back on, but then blink off again, and sometimes off completely. The biggest issue is the intermittent occurrence of this. The car is not safe to drive.

- Centerton, AR, USA

problem #19

Jul 172011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 60,800 miles
Purchased used 2005 Volvo XC90 in spring of 2010. During the next year experienced very intermittent electrical issues. Examples are locks not working, blinker, radio. These issues literally only happened a couple times. In April 2011 had biyearly safety and emissions done at local dealership (non Volvo) and it did not pass emissions. Next day took my Volvo XC90 to weiss Volvo and it passed emissions (without me knowing they cleared errors on the car to get it to pass. This must be the reason in europe that dealerships can't inspect their own make of cars) on July 17 2011 I was driving down the highway with my 1 year old in the back seat. Radio went out. A few minutes later almost everything in the car shut down except for the engine. Lost A/C (it was 110 that day), lost power steering, braking was intermittent, no blinkers, no headlights, no lights in interior, while I was at full speed on the highway. I am not sure if engine was intermittent or not because I got off as soon as I could. I was very close to weiss Volvo so dropped it off there again on the date of the total failure. Called Volvo customer care on July 18 2011 to file complaint. Weiss Volvo called back and told us car wouldn't start. Called back later in the day and said they saw that everything went out and car was full of codes. Weiss sent in an estimate for $1500 to replace ECM. I asked weiss to perform an emissions test (by mo law manufacturer's cars must pass emissions test up to 80K miles and my car had 61K) I researched ECM and found very similar stories to mine and brought this up to Volvo na. Volvo na told weiss Volvo to "reset" my car (again without my permission). The car then was functional after reset. Weiss then "tested" my car for almost 3 weeks to figure out the design flaw for a total of 451 miles. The mechanic told me it was the ECM but Volvo na said it was various other reasons and wouldn't replace it. Car still broke. Reached limit.

- Kirkwood, MO, USA

problem #18

Jul 012011


  • 93,834 miles
I'd like to add my complaint to the list of those already reporting the abrupt loss of all electronics, including windshield wipers and all dashboard gauges, during a rainstorm. My issue was also identified as a prematurely corroded central electronic module (cem) caused by a design flaw allowing water to access the cem connector. I'm shocked to find out Volvo knew about this in 2005, well within the warranty period for most of these affected vehicles, and did nothing to correct or even alert their owners. I urge the NHTSA to revisit their investigation, and force a recall if Volvo continues to refuse. I can assure you as a driver during this event, this is indeed a safety issue, and I hope we aren't waiting for enough injuries or deaths before you get to that obvious conclusion.

- Champlin, MN, USA

problem #17

Jul 252011


  • 130,000 miles


Brakes lights always on. Took car to dealer and they advised that water had leaked into cem module and main wireharness and required replacemnet at a cost of $7000. Known issue to Volvo with service bulletin sent to dealers. Found independent Volvo repair shop willing to replace module only (software download from dealer) and clean build-up on harness connectors. Requiring removal of part of dash, driver seat. Took 4 days at repair shop. Repair completed for under $2000.

- Arcadia, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 012005

XC90 8-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
During rain the windshield wipers stop working, headlights go out and car loses power. I have come dangerously close to high speed accidents due to the loss of power. Also car has a severe jerk in the transmission when accelerating after a turn. So strong I thought I was hit from behind. There is a problem NHTSA investigated with water getting into the cem. Volvo acknowledged manufacturer defect that results in water getting in cem but will not replace the defective cover. There is no way of knowing when this might happens-appears to depend on how heavy the rain, if roadway has a lot of water. This needs to be recalled for safety reasons-Volvo continues to put consumers at risk.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #15

Aug 012009

XC90 5-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
1. normal city/highway driving. 2. turn signals sporadically do not function. Ambient temperature does not matter, whether in winter or summer. 3. nothing was done to correct.

- Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #14

Oct 302010

XC90 8-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
2005 Volvo XC90 V8 AWD-numerous electrical issues since purchasing vehicle from a local dealer in upstate NY in 2010. Odd problems such as headlights failing, power windows opening and "anti" theft features (key lock) being activated for unknown reason-the vehicle required a balance shaft replacement at about 70K miles (I believe it had 65K miles when I purchased it) which apparently was due to manufacturer not having drip holes in engine compartment. I believe the electrical issues are somewhat related to that problem in that water seems to be a problem for this vehicle. The odd electrical issues don't always happen when its raining but moisture appears to be a factor. Latest issue was a locked shifter in the park position-car would start but could not put into any gear-towed to dealer and they replaced the cem (central electronics module) for $2300. I made them give me the defective module so have it if you would like to examine it examine it. Luckily, I only had one dangerous issue and that is when the headlights failed during a dark/rainy night. Too early to tell if the cem fixes the problem as just had it fixed today 5/13/2011. Started researching why this would be an issue and that's when I started reading other Volvo drivers experiences that seemed quite similar to mine. I never had complete vehicle failure but losing the headlights was not fun...I think Volvo knows exactly what the issue as they didn't hesitate in installing the cem...I am listing the specific date that the headlights failed below-they failed several other times but cant recall the specific dates.

- East Amherst, NY, USA

problem #13

Mar 162011

XC90 5-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,700 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. While driving approximately 40 mph in rainy weather, the driver attempted to turn on the windshield wipers but they would not engage. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was told that the central electronic module would need to be replaced because rain was seeping into the central electronic module. The vehicle was repaired. Updated 05/05/11 updated 05/13/11

- Arlington, VA, USA

problem #12

Feb 192011

XC90 6-cyl

  • 61,000 miles
While driving on the highway in rain, the headlights of the car began flashing on and off (sometimes drivers side, sometimes passenger side, sometimes both) intermittently. I pulled over and turned off and restarted car. This solved the problem for a few miles, then it did it again. Now, the right light is out completely, but at least the left seems to be staying on. This exact same thing happened one other time. The dealership claimed they could find nothing wrong with the vehicle.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #11

Jan 182011

XC90 8-cyl

  • 131,000 miles
2005 XC90 V8-many problems with check engine light coming on and car losing power. Lost power on interstate-car would lose power and speed-needed tow-happened twice. Current issue check engine light came on followed by all lights coming on stating brake failure, power overload, limp mode and brake failure. Dealer replaced alternator at cost of $1006. 10 days later check engine light and anti skid light came on followed by brake failure light. Car lost headlights and windshield wipers-9 pm and sleeting. Dealer now says need to replace cem and battery at a cost of $3,000 due to water in cem. It was raining or sleeting both times the check engine light came on. Volvo redesigned the cover to prevent water intrusion but needs to issue recall. Very dangerous- ticking time bomb. Someone will have an accident on rainy night on interstate. Please consider requiring recall-owners of this vehicle are spending thousands of dollars due to Volvo XC90 V8 design flaws. How can Volvo be allowed to sell vehicles that should not be driven outside/or in the rain.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #10

Dec 192010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 100,093 miles
I was driving with my daughter on a very long bridge at night in my 2005 Volvo XC90. The check engine light came on and while the car stayed on, it appeared to have lost power. I have had other electrical problems with the car and have had it to the dealer 3 times but they say they can't find anything wrong with it. This was by far the most dangerous incident! after doing some internet research, I have read hundreds of reports similar to mine. There is a definite issue with this car and it should be recalled.

- Covington, LA, USA

problem #9

Apr 102009


  • 90,000 miles
I have a 2005 Volvo XC90 T6. Bought this car brand new. Had so many problems including transmission out; the blinkers do not work. The quality and safety of this vehicle is misleading and this is a horrible safety issue since blinker don't work. Looking into it, seems like this is an ongoing issue with many owner of Volvo XC90 2005. They really need to recall this before it's too late and cause fatalities.

- Killeen, TX, USA

problem #8

Aug 142010

XC90 5-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
Vehicle has driver's side headlight failure. Replaced bulb with certified Volvo replacement and still did not work. Certified Volvo mechanic traced fuses and all electrical components (5 hours paid service) and found that a plastic part designed to keep water out of the interior (via windshield) was defective, therefore, causing water leakage to damage the central electrical module.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #7

Sep 282010


  • 42,000 miles
2005 Volvo xc 90 T6 transmission failure and turn signal not operating.

- San Carlos, CA, USA

problem #6

Aug 202010


  • 63,000 miles
This is a second report I submit. The other day I just reported malfunction of turn signal switch of my Volvo XC90, 2.5T, 2005. I tested and observed the performance of the turn signal switch carefully and I think the potential severe design defect in the turn signal switch, or, maybe the electronic control module, will cause fatal incidents. Its performance is totally unpredictable. It refused to respond at any time, either stopped or running. Moreover, I found that sometimes a right movement of the lever gives a left signal, which is extremely dangerous. Here I would like to strongly request that the investigation of Volvo XC90 electronic system be conducted thoroughly. I would not be surprised at all to hear any fatal incident caused by the unpredictable malfunction. And I hope this could be part of a recall. Interestingly, I observed that all the functions related to the switch lever either disappear altogether or works well altogether. This partially support that there is defect in the control module. I would like to help the investigation. I also have two witnesses who helped me to test drive my XC90.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 172010


  • 62,900 miles
I bought a used Volvo XC90, 2.5T model, manufactured in 2005. And yesterday I drove it for about 30 miles. Volvo is famous for various safety features. However, I found that for many times the turn signal lever did not work well, which really scared me and almost caused crashes on highway 610 of houston. The symptom of malfunction is that sometimes when I move the turn signal lever, it either did not respond or showed a "lag". and sometimes the signal kept flashing left, even I gave left turn to the right. I reported this potential malfunction to you because I just read the news on wot.motortrend.com/6669043/recalls/NHTSA-investigates-2004-2005-Volvo-XC90-for-faulty-lights-signals/index.html, which makes me believe that it is not only an individual case. Hope you can have a thorough investigation, for the safety of all. Thank you.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Dec 132009


  • 32,357 miles
I am writing this letter to notify the NHTSA of a total system failure of my 2005 Volvo XC90 that I believe was due to a manufacturer defect which should be part of a recall. After driving on the interstate (in extreme rainy conditions) for approx 2 hrs, the car displayed a warning message that read "anti-skid disabled? and then ?brake system failure" at which point we experienced total brake failure. W/in a minute of this happening, the entire control panel illuminated then went blank and all the electronic components in the car turned off, including the windshield wipers. Fortunately we were able to maneuver the car safely to side of the road (after the brakes reengaged)T. The car was towed to freedom Volvo in va beach, va for inspection and repair. Upon explaining the incident to the service mgr, we were informed that they were well aware of the problem we were describing as they had seen "a rash" of this exact issue a few years back. I suspect that my car, with relatively low mileage for a 2005 (32,000), was just catching up with the other 2005 XC90"S that had already experienced the problem. The car was repaired without delay and ready for pick-up within two days. We were told the problem stemmed from water leaking in ?over time" through the engine bay harness which in effect caused the central electronic module (cem) to short out. After asking the service technician why this problem was not identified during the recommended maintenance check-ups (which was completed on our car just a few months prior to this incident), we were informed that this is not something that is inspected. He did go on to state that he has not seen any repeat problems for the vehicles that he had completed this exact repair. He also noted that the engine bay harness for the XC90 was redesigned after '06. I request that this problem with the engine bay harness on older model Volvo XC90 be investigated.

- Norfolk, VA, USA

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