March 4, 2009

Volvo XC90 Transmission Problems

  • Just took my 2004 XC 90 T6, 84,000 miles in for an “Urgent Transmission Service” warning message. Dealer diagnosed problems with 2nd 3rd gears, cost estimate $5,200!
  • I had just taken it to a dealer and found another owner with the very same response – ‘Suspect bevel gear / angle gear failed’ – mine at 58k and his at 72k. Im not sure of the conversion but we had £1300 costs to deal with this.
  • The first week of September I went to make a left hand turn (on a very busy street I might add) and my transmission went out. I couldn’t move. At only 55,000 miles I thought I might have some luck with our dealer or Volvo and getting this replaced for free. Yeah right, what was I thinking. We had to replace the transmission for more than $4,000.00.
  • Our 04 XC90 T6 has been diagnosed with a leaking rear final drive. Cost to replace? $4400. The vehicle has 51000 miles on it; the warranty expired last June, but we purchased it in December.
  • Join the club! My ’03 with 64000 miles needs a new transmission.
  • My concern with the whole issue is that I spent quite a deal of money for this vehicle, and feel strongly that Volvo has to give an explanation why why a vehicle with just 62,00 miles has to have a new transmission.
  • I own a 2005 xc90 with less than 20,000 miles and the transmission went out on it last Thursday.

Transmission Problems

Tags XC90, XC90 gearbox, XC90 T6, XC90 Transmission Problems
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80 responses to “Volvo XC90 Transmission Problems”

  1. JenniferWhite says:

    I purchased my 2004 cx 90 a month ago. The service transmission urgent light came on last week. The car just wouldn’t go into gear,rpms kept revving up. Took it to the shop and they say I need a new transmission. I just paid a good bit for the car and now I have to fork over another $4000. I honestly thought Volvo would make better cars but now that I’ve seen so many others with the same problem I’m just disgusted.

  2. Matt says:

    T6 transmission problem lawsuit to be ruled on this October.

  3. jennelle says:

    Huge news today. For those that haven’t already heard. My 2005 VolvoXC90 w 60,000 mile transmission failed. $8000.00 to repair. I learned from blogs it was a defective part several class action law suits. At first they said so sorry, out of warranty. Next they offered to pay 5%, next they offered $2000., next offer was $2750. Over the past month I’ve been through hell without a car. Following the advice on the blogs I went directly to Volvo Canadian or No Amer. main office. They instructed me what to do. I did it and long story short, today I got a call. Volvo is replacing my transmission FREE! Moral of the story… FIGHT BACK. Now all I need is a ride to pick it up 😉
    My advice, do not take the car anywhere until you talk to Volvo No Amer or Canada. Let no one touch the car, reset the codes or open the transmission. I could have resolved this much faster has I called Volvo corp office 1st. I spent $550.00 for diagnoses from local mechanic, $295. towing to closest Volvo dealer and about $400-$500 hundred on rental cars. Not happy about that

  4. xbieffe says:

    I bought my 2004 xc90 almost 3 years ago from a private lot. It was traded in there on another vehichle. Went 2 plus years no problems, all of a sudden a module inside went about a month ago, cost 700.00. A month later the service transmission urgent light comes on. So I look up xc90 Volvo, and find all these threads on how bad these cars are for transmission problems in the years of 03, 04, and 05. I call Volvo to report the problem and say are you aware of this problem? She says yes I won’t lie to you there has been problems with those transmission. The car goes to the dealer, I get a call 2 days later and they say I wish I had better news but you need a new transmission! Again I say you know there is an issue with those transmissions, he says yea I know there was some lawsuits filed, really?! They tell me I’ll get a call in a few days to tell me what they will do. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m not accepting anything but a new transmission at NO COST to me! And I will be trading my xc90 in on a different vehichle, and it won’t be a Volvo!!

    • Jay says:

      Hi jennelle,

      My name is Jay and ive read ur post on volvo site.

      I own a 2003 volvo xc90 t6 and my transmission just failed yesterday.

      I’ve called volvo canada and talked to a guy in cusomer relation and he said “sorry its out of warranty, its not on recall. we can’t help you…”

      Can you please help me and share the story how you had transmission replace from volvo for free?

      My wife only have this one car with 3 kids.

      Would be a great help if you can let me know what and how you did with ur xc90

      Thank you very much

  5. xbieffe says:

    Forgot to mention, my xc90 only has 59,000 miles! My wife drives it approx. 6 miles a day. I’ve read alot of similar tramissions going with very low miles! There is no way Volvo can deny there is a series problem here. They should have had a recall! I wish I did better homework and researched the car better, my bad!!!

  6. tengo una xc90 50 mil kilometros es como 35, mil millas y se me fue la caja o transmicion , pueden a consejarme aquien acudir my carro esta en honduras centro america

  7. ELV says:

    After first reading this yesterday, I traded my ’05 XC90 for a new subaru, last night. The economics, the hassle and logistics of having to deal with what you guys are dealing with is wrong. But the failure of Volvo to get in front of this should be a criminal matter, not just civil. If a transmission goes out while make an exposed turn or avoiding something, you and your family’s safety is compromised. Those lucky as I am for not having the failure should consider getting away from Volvo, ASAP, no matter the cost.

  8. ELV says:

    By the way Matt, thanks for this site. Good luck everyone.

  9. ELV says:

    And by the way, before I went to the Subaru dealer, I called the #1 Volvo dealer in Pittsburgh. They said they never heard of any problems with that car. I said “really??! you should google it” and the service manager said “oh yeah” as if I jogged his memory “but those are rare and Volvo has always handled it.” Come on, that is just being dishonest. Volvo needs to get in front of this or they should be asked to get their business out of North America.

  10. John Moore says:

    My 2005 XC90 had transmission rebuilt 18 months ago (at 105,000km) for $7k. Now a fault with cooling has burnt and warped the gearbox – quote $6500. Only 12000km since last fix. Absolute PoS!

  11. Gazman says:

    We are having the very same problems with the transmission in our XC90 Volvo as mentioned in many other posts here. We purchased the car second hand (only done 40,000km) and was fine until about 120,000km when the “transmission service urgent” light kept coming on and the auto gears started clunking and not engaging. Because we had not purchased it theough a dealer, our local mechanic suggested a local Auto Transmission mechanic. Long story short, the transmission needed replacing with quotes of $9,000 for a new gearbox from Volvo or a reconditioned one (if he could source one) for $6,500. To end the matter, reluctantly we decided on the reconditioned transmission, which worked fine for a while but has now more recently decided to not engage into 4th gear as you accelerate through about 60km/h. Stopping and turning off the engine to reset the computer seems to work sometimes. Now the same Auto transmission guy we paid $6,500 to is telling us he thinks it might be the “Valve Body” which could cost another $3,500?? This situation is dangerous and unacceptable given Volvo knows about this fault and expects customers to fork out to remedy. We will never, never, never buy another Volvo again and I will take every opportunity to spread the word about this lemon model of a car. We are on the Gold Coast in Australia if anyone has had similar experiences or advice for us. We are undecided what to do next and I will contact Volvo in Sydney soon and plan to make some enquiries with RACQ and Dept of Fair Trading to discuss recourse against Volvo and/or the Auto transmission bloke who obviously has no idea.

  12. LAW says:

    My husband just took our 2006 XC90 in for repairs these repairs would have been expensive if we had not purchased the extended warranty. Our Volvo dealership was actually very helpful. They called us to let us know that some vehicles were experiencing problems. We went in & everything was taken care of. The customer service is excellent & we will definitely go with the XC90 again.

  13. Matt says:

    “Our Volvo dealership was actually very helpful.”

    Which dealer?

  14. Phil Drummond says:

    Does the D5 have he same auto transmission issues?

  15. Reid Maclean says:

    Happened to me too. 82,000 and the car won’t move. I’m considering scrapping it as the damn thing is only worth $9000 if I’m lucky and putting $5000 into it might kill me. The truth is that I have loved this car. But it’s cost me about $3000 a year in maintenance for the last 3 years. I guess it’s love hate! Anyone else have any luck getting Volvo to fix it for free? I want that.

  16. Ahmad Abbas says:

    I would kindly like to have your advise on the following issue regarding my Volvo xc90 v8 Automatic transmission gearbox
    I recently bought a Volvo xc90 v8 with a millage of 110 miles, but unfortunately experiencing slipping and shifting problems, after I had the car towed to the Volvo dealer were I bought it from because they gave me a 6 months warranty, they told me that they will replace it with a used transmission gear box otherwise they will only cover half the cost, so the second choice they offered is refurbishing the gearbox with a replacement kit (clutches and ?gears sprockets?) leaving the “current valve body” without replacement, the 50% will be 1700 euros on me which is more affordable than paying 50% of 7200 euros for a new transmission, but my concern is what if a complete failure occurs after a while then I’ll pay the whole 7200 euros.especially due to the bad reputation of that model transmission

  17. Anthony says:

    Dear all, I wonder if you can help me? I found this page via the Wikipedia XC90 page. There is a link under the reliability / T6 gear box failure section.

    We have an XC90. I am in the UK. It cost us just over £50,000 and is now out of warranty. Like so many people have said here we bought it as a solid investment car – pay a lot to start with but get “Volvo” reliability – so I was surprised when the gearbox suddenly died at around 55,000 miles. The AA rescue service diagnosed the fault from about 50 yards away “Its a T6 XC90 – it will be the gearbox” and the main Volvo dealer have confirmed that its in need of a new one costing just over £4700 all inc. after discounts. Volvo have offered a good will gesture of 30%.

    In the UK this falls under something called “The Goods and Services Act”. Goods have to be “fit for purpose”. Like nearly everyone the fault has shown itself out of warranty between 50k and 60k. My thoughts are that Volvo knew that this would be the case, based on other failures before ours. They knew, while the car was under warranty, that it was not fit for purpose but chose not to recall the fault because it would damage their reputation (as has been an issue with Toyota in the UK). Quite rightly, if they had made it known that there was a faulty gear box that would suddenly fail putting my family in danger as it did – I would not have bought the vehicle, so I understand their reasoning.
    The many hundreds of reports I have found on the internet are not enough. I need to be able to present a case with “witness statements” and I would be grateful if those people who have experienced an XC90 T6 with transmission failure (only this specific fault) would send me a witness statement explaining who they are (Name and Address), what vehicle it was (i.e. XC90 T6), the year of manufacture and the mileage at which the fault came to light. The letter must be signed for it to carry any weight with the UK court – that’s just how it is. If you are able to also send any supporting document (like a letter / invoice / bill from Volvo confirming the fault) then that would be helpful. In the UK there is a second action available in Negligence insomuch as it can be argued that Volvo were negligent in not recalling a product that they knew to be faulty. the fault is such that it can potentially cause danger (sudden and catastrophic loss of power while driving). In that circumstance it may be possible to backdate a claim over the previous six years and recover costs already incurred.

    I do not know if its possible to find out how many XC90s have the fault or what percentage is affected or whether any technical information regarding the fault (expert assessment reports, details of the part number) and so on may be available – help in that regard would very much be appreciated also.

    Finally, if there is anyone technically minded out there who knows how to get this message to a wider XC90 audience then I would be grateful. Its really upsetting that Volvo have chosen to manage the problem like this. My view is that the decision to not recall a design fault of this magnitude is fundamentally wrong and potentially unsafe.

    I have set up an email address and would very much appreciate your help as I have described above.

    Kindest regards,


  18. Tim Snow says:

    Same thing. 2004 Volvo XC90 D5. The dealer who sold us the car was very devious and remains so. The Volvo agent, and the gearbox repair company have been trying to sort the problem but this is really pouring money into a bottomless pit. The Valve body (which I assume to be a torque converter) appears to be the source of the issue. Anyway this is a bitter disappointment. My dream car has become a nightmare. Unreliable in any circumstance.

  19. miguel manza says:

    I have been GM transmission tech for 28 years,staight out of high school into aGM training school for 2yrs.Ive done houndred transmission repairs on the 4t65e,volvos t6.A month ago I repaired a t6 trans on a 05 xc90awd.In 2 days the trans was back in the vehicle and thats when the fun began.I removed the trans about 3 times,the trans had erratic shifts so i thought the valvebody had metal debri issues due to the 1st failure which was a broken stator support bearind,leaving creating metal debri inside the trans. installed anew valve body,solenoids,trans contorl module,harness inside trans all to no luck.This was a hard to find problem,due to th fact that volvo tech never overhaul their transmissions,they simply replace them as a complete unit.Stubbern as I am and never had as hard a problem this difficult to repair I kept at it.To make a very long story short,the trans has aground issue problem.ON removing the trans from the engine rust builds on the mating surface.So on reinstalling one creats aground issue,so the transmission module never has a good clean circuit to control shifts.These trans due have internal issues commen with the gm vehicle,but the costs from what Ive read are simply crazy.In my 28 years of transmission repai the transmissions are rebuildable at least half the costs of what Ive read.There is some common issues with these trans,but they are a good and very reliable transmissions.They are very repairable Volvo “techs” are all a repudible shop,one tahat is clean and organized tells alot about the transmission tech.Good luck to all.

  20. Anton Jeffery says:

    Exactly the same issue, I’m afraid. A 2005 XC90 T6 with only 45k on the clock. Pretty much a complete re-build of the transmission. The engineer said he has seen so many of the GM transmissions on XC90s needing a similar treatment. It cost £2,100 and has run fine since, but I’m looking to sell the car on as it seems to be an under-specified unit for such a large car.

  21. John says:

    I have a 2005 XC90 T6 purchased new. Under warranty the transmission was replaced twice. Last week the 3rd transmission failed/ no gears when driving on one of the busiest roads in Sydney – Victoria Rd.
    Volvo dealers are even reluctant to accept these cars as a trade in.
    It’s a nightmare for owners of this model!

  22. Luke says:

    Hi All,

    I was wondering if anyone can help me? I am looking at buying a 2006 Volvo XC90 T6 Lifestyle MY06 Sports Automatic. I have read all the posts above, and I have noticed that there doesn’t seem to be an issue with the 2006 XC90 T6 transmission. Am I right in thinking that?

    Kind regards


  23. HOWARD says:

    GOOD NEWS FOR MOST; if you have less than 100,000 miles on your XC90 call Volvo North America Customer Service and they will replace the transmission free of charge. After a dealer diagnosis out in 5 days. no cost to me. Thanks Volvo

  24. king us says:

    fuck Volvo car maker bought xc90 2004 fuck transmission sucks fuck all sweeden car maker u beter go back to school..i will necer ever buyvolvo again

  25. king us says:

    fuck all Volvo maker bought Volvo xc90 2004 love it pay good money now transmission is out fuck sweeden car maker u better go back to school fuck yall fuyck I am so mad I wish my usa will stop ur car to be imported to us ur not meet our standard fuck!!

  26. firas says:

    Volvo products disappointed and I think it’s a Volvo take full responsibility and have to do corrective step towards the owners of these cars and free of charge.
    thank you

  27. johnny Esterhuizen says:

    I own a 2004 Volvo xc90 t6. I have the same problems as all other xc90 owners. Sorry to say it, but Volvo is a piece of RUBBISH!

  28. sidney says:

    I have the same problem with my Volvo xc90. Its currently in the shop and i get a call today stating they did an update on the gear box, which didn’t work. Now im told i need a new transmission which i have to pay for. I asked if it was covered under the class action suit to which he replied “Volvo dealerships dont handle that” you have to get on touch with the lawyer who handled that!! Are u kidding me???

  29. deb says:

    My 2006 Volvo XC90 automatic gear keeps shifting to manual w/o warning? Any idea what is wrong with it? I have read comments that it may be anything from a Software update to a New transmission. I only have 64,000 miles on it. I loved it up til now but feel very unsure and am afraid I will get stranded somewhere..

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