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 1 of 3)

problem #43

Aug 012015


  • 130,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. While driving approximately 72 mph, the instrument panel began to flash off and on. The vehicle suddenly shut off and stalled. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the central electronic module was damaged due to water exposure and would need to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 130,000.

- Hinsville, GA, USA

problem #42

Aug 152015


  • 210,000 miles
My Volvo XC90 also has been diagnosed with cem problems after various symptoms began to arise. After going through a car wash, the display began showing various messages. The biggest problem is the the windshield wipers stopped working. I have ordered a new cem and intend to replace it. I am an attorney. If this vehicle continues to fail after the cem is replaced, I intend to take further legal action, especially in light of the reports and complaints I have read on this website. I intend to call the local dealer tomorrow to put them on notice of the problems with my vehicle. I cannot believe a reputable company like Volvo does not take care of the customers who have purchased their vehicles. I am formally requesting that the investigation into these problems be reopened as the problems caused by the cem design flaws cause dangerous problems that can threaten the safety and even the lives of those who drive and ride in the Volvo XC90

- Wetumpka, AL, USA

problem #41

Jun 152015


  • 162,189 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that when it rained, water entered the vehicle through the passenger side and onto the dashboard, causing the instrument panel lights to dim. While driving 40 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning and the radio no longer worked. Additionally, the headlights turned on and off. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who was unable to diagnose the failures. The manufacturer was not notified of the failures. The failure mileage was 162,189.

- Newburgh, NY, USA

problem #40

Jul 132015


  • 130,000 miles


Aside from normal care, I have only replaced my tires and a gas cap. I started to experience some water seepage onto the driver-side. I covered the vehicle when it rained and figured I would have a look at it when I had time. July 2015, I took my Volvo to savannah Volvo, fixed my breaks along with other safety fixes, after 14 hrs of having my vehicle and 2800 later, pete stated everything was taken care of and the water seepage was due to the drains being clogged, but, they are all clear now, we did a water test and everything is ok. You will experience some more water seepage but it should dry up in a few days. He also mentioned some other work that needed to be done though not until November, December. I said great and got on my way. Three days later it did rain, confident I did not need to cover my vehicle and was still experiencing water seepage from my visit, I did not think any thing of it. The next day, my control panel started to light up. I called savannah, and he mentioned it must just be because you put a full tank of gas....what"?? ok. As the week went on the control panel continued to light up one by one. The day before going back, my driver side turn signal was on. Hoping I did not have a dead battery the next day, I headed to Volvo. After 4 hrs they tell me the roof drains were cloggd and seeped onto the cem, and it is damaged. I said to pete, I thought the drains were clear when I left a week ago??? yeah, well, we can't create a problem with your drains. Though, after 10 yrs I leave there and 3 days later experience a problem, after you told me my drains were all cleared" several phone calls to the dealership and Volvo headquarters, not one person is taking responsibility for this bad design, which could have caused my transmission to limp and a possible accident! it now sits in my driveway, after spending $2800 I will never purchase another Volvo!

- Richmond Hill, GA, USA

problem #39

Apr 092015

XC90 6-cyl

  • 54,300 miles
After rainfall we began experience power failures in our Volvo. No windows were left open and the interior was not exposed to any water. But while driving the dashboard went out the needles for the fuel, miles per hour and everything went out. It came on shortly after then off again this time with the radio and windows could not roll down or up. Once the car was off it came back on only to repeat the same issue the dash and radio come on and off while driving and at one point will shut off everything until the car is turned off again. The headlights will flicker as well from time to time. This is extremely frightening considering I have a toddler and small child and while driving on a highway to have everything shut off was beyond frightening and extremely worrisome. I have been told it has something to do with the cem and I have read many forums with people with the same problem and even a friend whose car did the same thing. I am extremely frustrated that I don't feel safe driving my car and that I have to pay a lot of money for something that does not seem like a normal failure especially since my car does not even have many miles on it. Please investigate and look into this please. Thank you.

- Cedar Glen, CA, USA

problem #38

Jun 162014


  • 90,000 miles
2005 XC90 V8 stalled in traffic. Would not restart, but starter would crank. Fuel pump controller was found to be internally corroded and filled with dried salt. This controller is mounted forward of the right rear wheel well. Many instances of this controller failing due to salt / moisture ingress have been reported by other owners. The controller was relocated to the inside of the vehicle some model years later.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #37

Oct 302014

XC90 5-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Driving at approximately 40 mph, the check engine and oil warning lights appeared. The car completely died while I was on the road. The steering wheel and brakes froze up and the speed decreased to barely nothing. I could get the car to just make it off the road safely because I could not turn the wheel or use the brakes well. Thought it was my oil so I was able to get someone to add oil to it while on side of busy road. Started car up fine and drove for 5 more days until it happened again. Got it towed to mechanic who changed the fuel pump. Other electrical problems arouse while mechanic had it so brought to Volvo who says I need a new control electric module in my car.

- Raynham, MA, USA

problem #36

Nov 172014

XC90 6-cyl

  • 156,000 miles
After parking at restaurant, we walked to our parked Volvo and when I turned the key, it would only go from 0 to the 1 position ( I.e.lights, radio would come on) but it would not turn any further to the start position had to have it towed to the dealer and was told this has happened before to this model and it is an ignition lock failure. They need to order the part from sweden and have it match our keys. $850 !!. this is a safety issue in my mind has we could have been stranded anywhere and if this is not the first time this has happened, why are they not recalling this part?

- Lafayette, CA, USA

problem #35

Aug 202014

XC90 8-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
While driving vehicle at 55-60 mph all dashboard lights came on and car lost power. This caused a frightening and extremely dangerous situation. Without headlights or tail lights I could not be seen by other drivers. I tried to cross 2 lanes and get onto the shoulder with no power steering or engine power. While I was very fortunate I was not in or did not cause a serious accident I had an extremely close calls. I changed lanes and almost collided with another vehicle traveling at 55. Once in the lane another driver who was unable to see my vehicle (no lights) came up behind me at a high rate of speed. Only a last minute swerve avoided a rear end collision that no doubt would have caused a terrible accident with very serious if not tragic results. Additionally other drivers had to swerve to avoid the vehicle-causing a very dangerous, chaotic situation. The loss of power and loss of lights came close to causing a major multi-vehicle accident. Many are aware of this problem. Please do not wait until people are killed to reopen the investigation and re-consider a safety recall.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #34

Jul 312014


  • 165,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. While driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact stated that the transmission failed and the instrument panel dimmed temporarily. The contact disconnected the battery cable to reset the vehicle and managed to restart the vehicle. The failure occurred multiple times. An independent mechanic stated that the central electric module malfunctioned which prevents the vehicle from draining water properly during rainy conditions. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 165,000.

- Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #33

Mar 172014

XC90 5-cyl

  • 112,655 miles


Complete instrument panel failure while driving - no ability to let the windows up or down, no speedometer visibility, no gas reading. There was no ability for defogging window, no ability to turn on heat or air. This is really dangerous when driving. The panel goes completely blank.

- Lilburn, GA, USA

problem #32

Mar 192014


  • 139,419 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. The contact stated that while driving various speeds, the vehicle would jerk and the turning signals failed. The contact stated that the electronic power steering system, SRS air bag service, anti-skid, and the immobilizer warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the central electronic module, rack and pinion nut, and pinion shaft needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 139,419.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #31

Sep 182008


  • 45,000 miles
TL- the contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90. The contact stated while driving 55 mph the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection but they could not diagnose the cause of failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The failure mileage was 45,000.

- Collierville, TN, USA

problem #30

Feb 032014


  • miles
This car has been a constant problem - I am the original owner and the cost to repair is extremely high.. I am a recent widow and a single mother of 3 children on a fixed income... I am so tired of this car being so unreliable and the repair costs are bankrupting me. I have no where to turn this car has been a lemon from day one and the manufacturer and dealer could care less.

- Glen Mills , PA, USA

problem #29

Dec 182013

XC90 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
The central electronic module (cem) will not perform as intended. As a result, audio system, parking assist, and passenger airbag does not work. Audio system turns on sporadically by itself and runs continuously(I have to pull over, turn the engine off, then wait 3+ minutes to stop it). As a result, the front windshield wipers might run continuously when the ignition is on. Also, the turn signals, high beams, and headlight switch might not work. This issue was recall 2014 Volvo S60, S80, XC60 and XC70. 2005 XC90 but it should be included in this recall because malfunctioning electronic system (passenger airbags, head lamps, and/or turn signals) increase the risk of a crash. It's not fair, when same problem is accepted as reason for recall for 2014 models(XC60, S60, S80, XC70) but not 2005 Xc90S.

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #28

May 062013

XC90 5-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Volvo XC90.the contact stated that while driving approximately 57 mph, all of the dashboard warning lights failed. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was diagnosed that the central control module needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 106,000.

- Milford, CT, USA

problem #27

Apr 212013

XC90 6-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
2006 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD April 21, 2013 approx 8:30 pm driving at approx 8:30 pm, traveling at about 55 miles per hour, remote 2-lane highway (US191, eastern Arizona) on twisty mountainous road, switched from high-beam to low-beams to accommodate oncoming vehicle approaching around a bend. A moment or two after switching to low beams, the Volvo's headlights lights flickered and went out all-together. Error message reading something to the effect of "low beam bulb failure" appeared on message screen. High-beams didn't appear to be operable either. I activated fog lamps and proceeded cautiously to destination (approx 25 miles away). Approx 15 miles from that point, I was pulled over by dps patrol advising I had no headlights...and that my license plate light was also not operating. The next morning, investigated further, discovered there were no issues with the headlight bulbs (low beam and high beam) or with license plate bulbs specifically (they were not burnt out), nor were there any issues with any blown fuses related to those exterior lights. I did discover that the drl (daytime running lights) were still operating as normal (which utilize the same bulb as the low headlights) confirming that there were no issues with those bulbs. All research since this event is pointing me to conclusion that this monumentally unsafe condition was caused by a bad/faulty cem design by Volvo (online research, speaking with Volvo mechanics and reviewing similar NHTSA complaints). There is no preventative maintenance that I could have done to prevent this from happening. This is not an owner maintenance issue, this is a design or materials issue. Volvo should be required to recall & repair to prevent this safety issue. I request NHTSA open (re-open?) investigation into this issue, as this very dangerous safety issue that needs addressing before much worse consequences result.

- Morenci, AZ, USA

problem #26

Dec 202012

XC90 5-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
This complaint relates to PE10025. I have to replace cem and casing for wiring cost $5500. Volvo should be responsible for part or all of this repair. It is water seepage into the cem case. Water drips down through hood of the car and corrodes the wires. Causes major electrical shorts. I consider this to be a manufacturer defect. Way to many cars are experiencing this issue and it is extremely costly. I would sincerely wish you to consider making Volvo responsible.

- Cranford, NJ, USA

problem #25

Dec 272012

XC90 8-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Driving in pitch black night on backroads of charleston, SC. Lights went out after left headlight flickered for a few days. Lights went out and car went off road as we were in a curve. Regained control after spinning on wet grass. I need the headlights repaired by Volvo at their expense and reimbursement for the failed engine I had to replace.

- Glenview, IL, USA

problem #24

Mar 122012

XC90 5-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
This complaint refers to NHTSA action number PE10025. Service bulletin number tnn 37-35. It is outrageous and unacceptable for you to not have issued a recall on this matter. Volvo should be expected to replace my wiring grommet and/or plenum cover at no charge. It is applauding that Volvo would not take this serious and issue a recall as it is clearly a defect and a safety hazard. My children and I were on the interstate when this happened to us and it was very dangerous. It is clearly a problem and safety issue that Volvo recognizes or they would have not changed the design and issued a bulletin. I do not understand how a company can sell me a product that malfunctions and then expect me to pay them to repair it.

- Marion, AR, USA

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