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Volvo XC90 Transmission problems shared amongst forum members

If you’re looking to buy an XC90 T6 model, do yourself a favor and review this list of XC90 T6 transmission problems that have plagued many owners. 

  • 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. I’m 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 of 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.
  • We have a 2004 XC 90 T-6 with 87,000 miles.
    The dreaded transmission service urgent warning came on and I took to the dealer and got “the you have to replace the transmission and that will be $5,200 please”

XC90 Transmission Problems

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My 1994 960 with 267,000 mi lost its transmission in january. My ’96 960 with 334,000mi is still running like a top. both were original transmissions. RWD. So Im now driving my 7th Volvo, a 2008 XC70…… I have had exceptional experience with all of them .

Robert Bangledorf says:

Replaced automatic transmission in my 2001 S60 T5 2.3 turbo. It ran and drove fine for the first few miles and then it stalled and when I started it back up it it just stalls immediately. When running it won’t hardly move but it’s not slipping it’s like there’s no clutch if that makes any sence. The thing will hardly run. Please help any advice is appreciated thanks

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..

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???

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!

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

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!!

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

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

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


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!

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.

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.

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.

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,


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

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.

Phil Drummond says:

Does the D5 have he same auto transmission issues?

“Our Volvo dealership was actually very helpful.”

Which dealer?

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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

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!!!

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!!

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

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

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.

2005 Volvo XC90 T6 67,000mi. – Yes, I had the same transmission issue that many are having. It is caused by a leaking oil cooler that resides within the engine’s radiator. This is not a new technology and has been done like this for years (Mercedes & many others), the problem is that a leak develops and contaminates the transmission fluid causing the gearing to slip and damage important parts/gears. As much as I believe Volvo should recall all XC90’s and fix them before the domino effect of damage escalates, I must give credit where it’s due. As the original owner, with the majority of service done at the dealer, Volvo agreed to pay for all repairs and labor even though it was well past the warranty period. Volvo had a problem, but they are standing behind their product and covering the cost of all repairs ($6800). They have also reportedly fixed the issue but I’ll have to let you know about that later. For now, kudos, Volvo!

Leland 1220 says:

My “Transmission Service Urgent” light came on today. I’m just about 88000 miles on a vehicle that has been meticulously maintained by the dealership. I’m taking it in to the dealership today.
Has anyone noticed a correlation with this tranny problem with previous “Coolant Low” warning light?
I have had to top off the coolant twice in the last 2 months, and there is no sign of a coolant leak on the garage floor. Hmmmm!

Hope Montgomery says:

I have a Volvo XC90 (2004) that I purchased from a Volvo dealership used. It has 52,000 miles on it and the Urgent Transmission light came on today. It seems to me Volvo should have to pay for whatever needs to be done to fix this car. It is STUPID to purchase a car like this for such a great amount of money and then have to deal with MORE money. I don’t even know if I can get it to the dealership. I told my husband to fix the transmission and SELL IT! I don’t want to ever have another VOLVO again!!

Well I’ve been having transmission issues for awhile with my ’03 XC90. We did buy it used with 90k miles on it. After a while the dashboard seemed to having electronic/sensory issues. The clock goes crazy when it feels like, and it sends various code messages all the time. Still until this day after even Volvo looked at it could not be fixed. Love the car it seems like we’ve had a lot of issues with it. The transmission finally went out in Nov ’10. It was very scary driving down the road with the way the car was acting. Volvo first told us it would be around $6,000 to replace the transmission but since there was no record of maintanence from Volvo dealerships, Volvo would not cover the cost of replacing the transmission. Then we decided to have the transmission rebuilt, a cheaper alternative. Well after getting it back and having a nice drive home, now there is more problems 🙁 I feel like I have a money pit here. This is my car I depend on for work and is my family car as well! This is been very frustrating. I really wished I had done more research before we bought this car. I was so excited to get a safe family car from a “reputable” car maker!

I have an 03. 120k miles. On my second transmission. SMH

Hope for all with 2003 -2005 XC90 T6 “Transmission service urgent” warning.
I too had this happen on our 2004 T6, took the vehicle to my local Volvo dealership, where they done the standard run of tests, and updated the software. This then made the car worse, as prior to that I was getting all gears. Luckily enough the mechanic noticed that Volvo Sweden had a new software version just released, purely for the fault code on the XC90. I took the car back, whereby the dealership had to connect my car via internet to Sweden to do the new beta download. The fix cost me £110 the first time, and £48 the second time to get fixed. I know this still has to pay out for a design fault of the rubbish GM transmission, but it’s better than having to pay out thousands.
I hope this helps some of you 🙂

Amazing to be reading all of this, but since I am now going through it myself it all adds up. 2003 xc90 T6 awd with 107k miles and “needs” (according to dealer) another AT (having had 2 others since original replaced!). All repairs by same dealer who told me the AT for this model year is “crap” and he replaces 2 per week! I’ve been offered a new AT (and needs radiator?) provided I pay for labor. All this sounds so familiar. It’s obvious there is a known problem, and dealers are making $$$$$ instead of beig there for customer.

Lauren Walker says:

My XC90 transmission is gone. Volvo said that it will cost me $8,700 to fix. They won’t pay for it because I have gone to independent garages for repairs. I told them I have lost faith in my vehicle and that I don’t want it even though I still owe money on it. I asked them how much they would give me for it if I left it on their lot. They said that if I paid for the replacement transmission at $8,700 they would give me $8-9,000. I couldn’t believe that I might not even get my money back if I sold it to them. They told me that it was worth nothing to them if they had to pay $8,700 to have it fixed. It’s now sitting at dealership parking lot. What am I to do. This is a family vehicle. Our family depends on this vehicle for our daily activities. I need to make a decision soon as I’m sure the dealership will want me to tow it ASAP if I’m not going to pay to fix it through them.

Greg Harder says:

2004 XC90 T6 : Same problem. 75k miles and transmission light is on and getting stuck in 3rd gear. It resets and I can use other gears if I turn it on and off again.? Very Strange. Volvo DonSteader in Vancouver wants $8,500 and said they never heard of this problem. ya right.. I will never go there or send anyone there! They also wanted $600 for my rear windshield wiper motor. I fixed myself.. a loose part in 3 seconds. I joined that class action lawsuit at the top of this page. This is dangerous and I’m writing to the Canadian CBC to see if they want to do a special about this problem. This should kill Volvo for sure. Stay tunes.

Jaye Fleming says:

I am very disappointed with the xc90 2007. My jeep is only 35000 miles and goes for maintenance 3 x a year. Now my transmission is slipping between gears by jerking the jeep forward and when it goes into reverse. It has large knock before reversing. Volvo dealership put it on their computer system and can’t find anything wrong. They reprogrammed the transmission and the problem still exist. Wtf!

Folks, I can’t resist a few comments here. I too have an 04 XC90 AWD, but mine has the other transmission (made by Volvo, not GM) that goes with the 5 cylinder turbo engine. I happen to be a mechanical engineer as well as a former certified master automotive technician (including specialization in drivetrain diagnostics) so I may have a little different perspective on this. While the GM transmission does have some inadequacies for this particular application that I would characterize as a flawed design, I suspect the lion’s share of the issues described here are attributable more to incompetent service departments and questionable ethics than to actual Volvo design flaws. Speaking from many years experience in the auto repair industry, including dealership service departments allegedly certified by particular automakers such as Volvo, and observing this stuff first hand, I would judge that an unbelievably high percentage of repairs are actually directly resulting from previous faulty repairs, sloppy work and mistakes made by “certified” service centers and technicians. The sad truth is that the majority of service departments, including those dealerships, don’t know what they are doing and in many cases cause more damage than they cure (from a purely business model point of view, it makes far more sense to hire unqualified idiots at very low wages, put some patches on their uniforms so they look like professionals who know what they’re doing, and let them actually cause more comebacks, thus earning the shop much higher ROI by gouging customers for repairing the “problems” they actually caused, than it does to hire someone like me at a high wage who does quality work and almost never has a comeback. Sorry to sound so synnical, but this is the unspoken reality I have observed for years). So, back to the transmissions, if you suspect something doesn’t add up or something is fishy, it probably is. Find a different Volvo dealer, don’t mention the first one, and get a second opinion. And then get a third if you have to. And if you catch a dealer doing something dishonest, make sure to file a complaint with Volvo; they can and will fire them if they are caught. I wish I could tell each of you what is really going on, but I can’t. All I can say is make sure your transmission has the right amount of the right kind of fluid in it and the latest firmware is loaded into the control unit. And if some seal is leaking or you are having some other issue, it does not necessarily mean you need a new transmission. often times a minor repair done correctly is all it needs, such as a new seal. If it slips and then jerks into gear, it could just be low on fluid, or a plugged filter, or even the wrong kind of fluid, or a bug in the firmware that has already been rectified with a revision to the firmware. Remember, they want to replace your transmission, ’cause that means $$$. Good luck all!

I have 04 volvo x/c 90 T6 have “Urgent Transmission Service” light on. I use OBD2 scan tool to clear code and trans. shifts fine. I beleive dealers are doing same(clearing code), claiming transmission needs replacing each time light appears. After clearing code: trans. shifts fine!! Do Not Drive with light on!! Trans is slipping!! causing more damage. I strongly beleive its electrical solenoids failing, causing the codes P0732, P0733,P0740,P0751,Etc. P07== #’s are Transmission codes. Transmission internal parts (gears) do not throw codes! but electrical components do! To the ECU computer. If a shift solenoid fails,and trans. is stuck in 3rd gear and you try taking off at stop light, Your transmission is going to slip until you get up to speed. Continually doing this procedure and you WILL DAMAGE the transmission. Clear codes, and take to a professional Transmission shop for accessment of transmission, if out of warranty from dealer. Dealer mechanics do not specialize in transmissions!! They relate to a code reading, then BS you to the problem fix. A code reader does not tell you how to repair only whats not working properly. Example: a crankshaft sensor bad- tachometer not working, battery not charging. TPS code: transmission not shifting properly. My point is one electrical component failure sends info to ECU that controls more than one function. Example: Wiring harness-battery feeds power to crankshaft sensor, to alternator, then back to battery. Your problem is battery is not charging so you have alternator/voltage regulator replaced, still no charging of battery – replace battery-still nothing fixed, replace crankshaft sensor and vala problem fixed. Now the circuit is complete. Who would think a crankshft sensor ($30) would fix your charging problem after you spent $400. in labor to figure this out. Car dealers make more money on service repairs not sales. When you take your volvo in for transmission problems (not ordinary service calls, except maybe a filter/fluid change when problem arises) Dealer techs are not trained for major repair and X/C 90’s are having major transmission problems VOLVO corp. realizes major issues with GM transmissions and stops production and stiffs the buyers of a $40,000+ car that can not even make a 100,000 mile mark w/o transmission problems leaving the car worth less than a “cash for clunker” vehicle. It’s people like myself not aware of these issues and purchasing a x/c 90. Volvo throws us under BUS!!

2005 XC90 T6 – 55Kmiles. My “Transmission service urgent” came on last month and the car went into transmission fail mode (stuck on 3rd gear). Parked it for a few hours and the light was still on but the shifting worked. Took it to the dealer and they updated the software for $250, reset the light and said nothing wrong. Then suggested a antifreeze test on the transmission oil for $300. I said no. Went home and drove it for another 1k miles and yesterday same problem. Parked it overnight and it shifted fifiok. Dealer wanted $7000 to replace. WTF??

My “Transmission service urgent” light came on yesterday and my “check engine” did as well. I have just over 60k on my 2005 XC90; bought from a private dealership (non- Volvo). I would be interested to see after 2 years of this blog being posted if anything has come about (lawsuit, more issues, Volvo stepping up to the plate, etc.). I am not looking forward to putting more money into a fairly new SUV; did anyone try to trade it in for another make? Although who would want it right? 🙂 Thanks for any information…I have not brought it in to be fixed yet and am thinking I might just dump it (it’s paid for) for a new, better quality SUV- then to pay $5k…

Adam Kent says:

UK 2004 Volvo XC90 transmission failure last night, in traffic queue on a motorway and the transmission just let go leaving me stranded in the outside lane.

Taxi home for £150 and recovery of the vehicle, does anyone have experience in the UK of this issue and what was the result in terms of Volvos response and contribution.

Have they (Volvo) acknowledged the gearbox issues anywhere?

The car has been great but when something goes wrong it is very expensive.

I just got my 2003 XC 90 back yesterday after having the transmission, cooling lines and radiator replaced. I have 87,000 miles on my vehicle and have full maintenance records. 3 weeks ago we started off on a trip and the Urgent Transmission Service warning appeared. We slowly drove home, got in my 1995 Volvo 850 and went on our trip. After returning home 2 days later I called the local Cedar Rapids, IA Volvo dealer, Junge Volvo. The Service Manager told me to bring it in, they would drop the pan, read codes and send the information to Volvo corporate for disposition. Turned out the codes are the ones Volvo calls the death codes that have to do with 3rd gear ratios.

Volvo authorized the dealer to perform a complete transmission and associated cooling system replacement. I was without the car for approximately 2 weeks, but have absolutely no complaints. Mike Sands, the service manager at Junge Volvo, was outstanding and kept me up to date with the repair status. The parts and labor were completely covered by Volvo and it has a 2-year warranty on the replaced parts. Two factors come into the equation on repair. 1. Regular maintenance by Volvo. 2. Respect for the servicing dealer and understand that they will do their best on your behalf. It does no good to get confrontational and blame them for the defect. This is a known problem with the T-6 engine/transmisson combination and they will work to make it right if you give them a chance. Also even if you do not suspect a failure it may be good to take it to the dealer and have them check out the car and flush the transmission. That way you establish a relationship with the dealer and show “Volvo loyalty”.

i was driving and received an error message of reduce engine performance. i have replaced the drive shaft for the second 2 weeks ago, have already replaced the transmission and both turbos.

Does any one know when from what year of manufacture the Volvo XC90 transmission design is OK – thanks.

I have a 2004 Volvo XC90 that I purchased new through the overseas delivery program. My family chose this car for it’s supposed safety and reliability. Along with other problems that needed attention in the first 50,000 miles, my main issue has been the transmission(s) on this car. At approximately 52K miles, the XC90 1st generation transmission went bad and had to be replaced. Fortunately, the Carlsen Volvo (Palo Alto, CA) service rep agreed to cover the cost of the transmission replacement. I was very pleased with the service and went on my way. In early December 2010 at ~107,000K miles, the transmission started to hesitate & function erratically while driving. The danger was frightening, e.g., when trying to accelerate onto a highway, it would not accelerate immediately, and caused a real danger to me and my children. Within a few days, the car was parked at my home, and was unable to engage in forward or reverse. I again called Carlsen Volvo,and talked to my service rep, who stated that I should bring the car in and have it officially diagnosed; she also stated that she would talk to the local factory rep regarding compensation. Apparently, the 2nd generation transmissions on the XC90 are also faulty, and have been replaced in at least 50% of the cars. My car was towed to the dealer and it was confirmed that the transmission had an internal problem and needed to be replaced. 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. I then called Volvo Customer Care who documented the complete story, contacted Wyatt via email to again present my case, however, Wyatt again 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 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 is well documented that the 1st and 2nd generation transmissions for this model have been defective. It is unheard of that a car should have a failed transmission every 50,000 miles.

Mark Stoeckinger says:

I purchased a XC90 new in 2004 and at 126,000 mile need to put the 4th transmission into it. The vehicle has never been off road or abused and is regularly serviced from the dealer it was purchased from.

keith watson says:

My 2004 Volvo XC90 had the same transmission warning message at 40k kilometers ( in 2008), almost the week after the warranty expired. Volvo dealer told me this transmission problem was well known and that there was an internal ‘volvo alert’- Transmission was replaced at no cost. THEN in 2009 and at only 65k kilometers the 2nd Transmission failed with the same problem. After ‘severe pleading’ to Volvo direct, they agreed to pay 75% of new transmission and I had to pay 25%, so am now on my 3rd transmission and only 95km on the clock.

My dealer replaced the transmission at no cost. The factory approved the replacement. Volvo realized that they have a huge problem with the transmissions and if you pressure them enough, they can do it. To Volvo, replacing a transmission is less than bad publicity.

R. T. S. Jr. says:

My 2004 XC 90 transmission just quit. I bought this car for safety and quality. Transmission light came on 116,00 miles. Lurged theen just quit. I am notifying attorneys above. Deal,er estied repair between $4,000 and $6,000.Obsurd!!! DO not buy this car. Charleston SC

Vladimir Petrosyan says:

Me and my wife just bought our first Volvo 4 DAYS AGO!!! and my wife was on the high way with our 7 month old son when the transmission failed on her and they almost got into a car accident. Thank god she was able to pull over on the side of the high way and call AAA and we had the car towed to the Volvo dealer were we bought it from because they gave us a 3 month/ 3000 mile warranty. And now it’s been 3 days and we have no car and the dealer is saying that they are trying to reprogram the transmission.
I wish that I would have read some of these reviews on this model car. Because they all seem to have transmission problems and they should have recalled that problem.
What should we do?

[last name and phone redacted from comment]

I feel like a total fool…I bought a CX90 2004 brand new…never missed an oil change, repair, recall…nover took the car to anyone else but the volvo dealer. I loved my car…UNTIL today. The transmission went…no indication, no “transmission light” and I just had the car in 2 months ago for service and for a “fuel Pump” recall. I am angry to find out that this car was built with a faulty GM transmission. There is a class action suit that has been filed in NJ for this problem…but if anyone is interested in filing another one…bring it on. My lawyer is all over it! I bought a volvo for “life” ….I did not spend 40K for a GM. And what was the point of always taking it to the dealer to maintain it and make sure that something like this would not happen. I feel like a got taken. So…if anyone is interested in filing a claim against Volvo please e-mail:

I was driving my Volvo XC90 (2003) when suddenly indicator reads: Transmission engine repair & check engine. I tried to follow all the required maintenance service and I’m surprised this is just actually (3) months from my last recommended service and I have this major problem. I noticed that my car will suddenly stop if I’m driving in local streets, but seemed to be fine on the highways.
Volvo must look into this transmission problems that is happening. I realized I’m not the only one having this nightmare. Never had a problem before with the transmission and I hope this will be addressed. It’s a shame knowing that Volvo seemed to have a good reputation. If a law suit will be filed definitely, interested Lawyers can contact me as well.

Stefania Maruniak says:

Several weeks ago I brought my Volvo XC90 to the volvo dealer because the coolant low stop engine safely warning was coming up, eventhough the coolant didn’t appear low. Then it began to stop when put in reverse. It would not move. Just sat there until I excelerated enough, but with loud noise. This happens sporadically. The dealer said that they couldn’t replicate the problem and took apart my calipers, greased everything, put it back together. Within a week, the problem returned worse than ever. I was stuck and it would not go into reverse at all. I am bringing it back to them tomorrow again. Help!

Stephanie Tackitt says:

We own a 2007 XC90 Volvo and today is the third time we have had it back at Volvo for the transmission to be fixed. Today they tell us the whole thing needs to be replaced and it will be $ 5,000 and it only has 68,000 miles on it. The problems started at around 40,000 miles.I am amazed that we have to pay this with it being only 3 years old and that many problems with the car. This will be our last volvo. It is unfortunate that there are so many problems with the cars, and Volvo keeps taking our money to fix the problems!

Tim and Debbie says:

Does anyone know if the transmission in the xc90 is the same as the transmission in the XC70? We have a 2005 XC70 and having serious transmission problems and it is a certified pre-owned still under warranty and volvo is reufsing to replace it???? We are really at a loss and not taking this for an answer! Any information will be helpful and appreciated!

Jennifer Brown says:

I purchased my 2004 volvo xc90 t6 with 26,000 Mi. at 45225 the trani started to slip from 2nd to 3rd gear. at 58000 the urgent tran light came on. now at 79583 volvo says i need a new trani at a wopping $5500. ALSO The drive shaft need to be replaced. I have replaced 2 wheel bearings ext… What a piece of junk. I paid alot of money for this car. I am sooo angry. DO NOT BUY A VOLVO XC90

I too have a 2004 Volvo xc90 turbo. The transmission light came as well as check engine and coolant low. All of this needs to be replaced. The first person we spoke to at Volvo customer service was very nice, but told us the Regional Manager would only cover the price of parts. The price of parts?! So they are acknowledging there is a problem, paying for the parts but not paying the $2000+ it takes to use those parts to fix it? So, I called back and got yelled at by some woman named Debbie. She told me “money in money out” and that because we had not taken our car to a volvo dealership for every inspection etc, she would not pay for the labor to fix it. Unbelieveable! I asked to speak to the regional manager because she told me only they can Ok what will be paid by Volvo and she started screeming at me. She told me that maybe Volvo would now choose not to reimburse us for parts? Really? She is threatening me not to push the issue?
Something needs to happen.

I just have the same problem with my volvo 2005 xc90 T6 with only 55k miles on it. While driving a couple of miles away from my house, the transmission slipped and I think went into a limp mode and “Transmission Service Urgent” light went on. It just happened today and haven’t brought to the dealer yet. Just wanna let you all know of the same situation were on.

Frank Hie says:

My ’05 XC90 T6 just need a new transmission at only 58,000 miles. The dealer will not take the warranty so I spent around $4000.00 to replace a new transmission. I just file a complaint at so if you have same transmission problem please file your complain at that site. Hoping the NHTSA will take action to Volvo.

John Klick says:

“Urgent Transmission Service” light just came on our 2004 XC90 T6. Wow! Am I really in for $5000? Taking to shop tomorrow. Any other fixes to this? This could be the first and last Volvo for us. Will go back to Audi’s if Volvo isnt backing such a known problem. If any of you lawyers are making headway, give me a call. I may be interested. Crap!

John - United Kingdom says:

Volvo, I understand has belonged to the Ford Motor Company since 1999 and in 2009, Ford Motor Company announced that a sale to Chinese motor manufacturer Geely is likely to be completed in 2010 – so will thing get better?

However, in respect of out-sourcing, Volvo has been out-sourcing parts for as long as I can remember. When Volvo was an independent company it out-sourced many (60-80%) parts from UK – know I had many of them from 1979 until 1986. In 1968 when Britain was having its “I’m backing Britain” campaign to improve its economy people were encouraged to ‘Buy British’ cars. The saying then was that if you bought a Volvo you likely to get more British parts in it (thus aiding the economy) than if you bought a British manufactured car.

At that time Volvo had an enviable reputation of quality and reliability. Even if their cars we considered unexciting they did have an excellent record of longevity. “Built like a tank with aero dynamics of a house brick” was the often quoted phrase.

Since being taken over by Ford the Volvo reputation seems to be waning somewhat – and that is to its severe detriment. So, ‘Wake-up’ Volvo/Ford (and Geely, if you do buy Volvo) and listen to your customer complaints and take action to regain that once enviable reputation.

christian says:

I was wondering whether that lawsuit mentioned before is regarding only US Volvo customers.My 2004 XC 90 T6 is working properly for the moment (100,000 miles),but what I am reading here gives me the creeps.Still,it is hard for me to believe that a 75,000 EUR(location-Europe)luxury van could be that crappy.Should I expect transmission failure even though I have completed all the scheduled maintenance?Thank you.

Phil Hosier says:

make sure to contact a lawyer, I don’t want to feel like I had been sold a Rolex watch at a flea market. I was assured I was buying a real Volvo from the dealer, not a GM knock-off. This car was sold to me as 100% Volvo, not a pieces & parts car !!! Phil

Phil Hosier says:

We bought a 2004 XC90 T6 new. Rear wheel bearing out at 38,000, other failed at 64,000, I paid for this one. Rear end failed at 72,000, $5200., Volvo covered it. New parts were different & stronger than original. 78,000 , tranny troubles. Dealer tech says Volvo had to buy a GM transverse transmission for these cars are they were only one making a transverse unit at the time. Document all problems w/ dealer & get copies. Real wheel bearing are thought to be caused by excessive ty-down pressure in transit on ships. only a theory. Have always had dealer service car from day one. all records complete. All newer units are transverse also, but now under Volvo specs, but do not know by who. Tech assures me that all new XC 90’s are as solid as we all expect Volvo’s to be. !! love this car for handling, ride, safety, comfort, but the big hand of GM has struck a severe blow to all who thought we were getting a real Volvo !! Tech advises that Volvo insists replacing Radiator & other parts over 100,000 miles. We are sickl over this !!! Phil

Howard Gutman says:

There are problems with the 2004 Volvo XC 90 transmission causing premature failure. Our office is investigating claims and we welcome calls and discussion regarding these problems.

Howard Gutman, Esq.

samuel kweku addo says:


I am also an unfortunate owner of the Volvo XC90. I bought mine in April 2006 as a certified pre-owned. Five months later, my transmission needed replaced with only about 35,000 miles on it. Luckily it was still under warranty. Fast forward to January 2010..about a week and a half ago. My ‘service transmission required’ light comes on. Take it to the Volvo dealership and they said the seal to bevel gear was damaged and a new transmission is needed…if I pay $8000!! My vehicle has 104000 miles on it now..just 4000 past my warranty. The dealership then tells me that’s why they discontinued this model because of this issue. Since that’s the case, then Volvo needs to take some responsibility for their manufacturing errors and recall all these models. Volvo should be ashamed of making such crabby and unreliable vehicles. For myself being in the medical field and boyfriend being in law enforcement, we both come into contact with many people everyday and will make sure to spread the word about how irresponsible and cheap Volvo is for not fixing there own mistakes!!

Unfortnatley, I am the owner of a 2004 Volvo XC90. Followed all facotry recomendations regarding maintenance at all times. At 52,000 miles, the transmission failed and I replaced it with a new transmission. Now, at 101,000 miles, the tranmission failed again. The cost to replace is about $5k, and I’m told that Volvo now requires that the owner replace, at additonal cost, the radiator and other compenents when the tranmission is replaced, or there will be NO WARRANTY on the new volvo transmission. Someone needs to bring a class action lawsuit against Volvo. This is fraud.

Carlos Augusto Ferreira says:

My Volvo SUV XC 90 T6 with 40.000 km, I also experience the same problem whereby my Volvo VX90 cannot move when I change the gear from N to D. At the screen write Urgent Transmission Error. I went and check with Volvo authorised service center and they say the problem can be repair, but they do not have spare parts available, beyond this who decide for Volvo are trust and you stronghest and resistent quality control.

Volvo tranny problems ? go to “” register a complaint
rember the squeekie wheel gets fixed !

Syed Najib Syed Bahari says:

Hello. I also experience the same problem whereby my Volvo VX90 cannot move when I change the gear from N to D. At the screen write Urgent Transmission Error. I went and check with Volvo authorised service center and they say the problem can be repair at the cost of MYR30,000. It’s too expensive!

Jesus Gonzalez says:

My trannie went out at 73,300 miles which should not be happening to a Volvo(2004). Luckily my XC90 was certified with a service warranty. The warranty people wanted to give me a used transmission to which I said no. My service advisor took my issue to his manager so Volvo corp. and the dealer paid for the difference and got me a new redesigned transmission which Volvo has developed as a replacement for the original. Obviously if Volvo did this it is because it is aware that the first transmissions on the XC90 had poor design. You have to insist on getting the replacement transmission and that the new unit is programmed correctly for your vehicle.

I just got my 05 xc90 back last week after being in the volvo repair for almost 2 weeks. It has less than 45000 miles on it. Transmission was leaking oil and also got into the axel. Had to have both the transmission and the axel replaced.

Luckily, I have an extended warranty and all but $200 was covered BUT ALL is not well!!!

The “new” transmission software is NOT allowing the car to downshift at 1500 RPMs. It gets into this sluggish state and I have to step on the gas to get the RPMs up to be in the right gear. This should not happen.

After speaking with the volvo repair, they say that nothing can be done since the “software” is set by the manufacturer and they can not change it.

Blue240DL says:

Volvo XC90 Transmission Problems
Practice: Consumer Protection
Phase: Investigation
Chimicles & Tikellis is investigating a potential class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who own or leased Volvo SUV XC90 model years 2003 thru 2006 equipped with the 8 cylinder and turbo 6 cylinder engines. C&T is investigating whether these vehicles suffer from a defect that causes the transmissions to fail prematurely, stall, and/or cause excessive repair costs not reimbursed to the consumer by the manufacturer.

If you own or lease a Volvo XC90 and have experienced transmission problems and/or replacement, please contact the attorneys below.

Attorneys to Contact:
Joseph G. Sauder (
Benjamin F. Johns (
Matthew D. Schelkopf (
361 West Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041 Phone: 610-642-8500

Xc90 2004. Transmission service URGENT! Went to dealer charged me 525 for trannie flush and software upgrade. 4 hours later light back on. Volvo is well aware of there defected trannsmission. And should replace trannie for free. I will find out Monday morning. How surprising for such a nice and expensive car. But make sure we all stand up to the dealers.. This is not our problem and we should not pay a penny. This issue should have been recalled.

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