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Volvo XC90 Maintenance and Repair



  • Our XC70 has had lots of problems (see earlier posts on the XC70 boards about problems involving transmission, front struts, brakes, ball joints, poor dealership experience, etc.) and probably any rational person would just abandon the brand. But my wife and I like Volvo and what it, supposedly, stands for. So, I thought I would cruise the XC90 board to see if this model was any better than the star crosssed XC70.

    To read the XC90 boards is to learn that Volvo quality and more importantly lack of accountability is not confined to the XC70. This is revealing. Apparently, both early XC90s and late XC90s have major problems AND Volvo is doing little about them.

    This behavior is self destructive and will ruin the brand. The Volvo dealer organization is a mixed lot, a dog's breakfast as they say, with seemingly little in the way of coordination or national standards. (Contrast this to a Porsche dealership: you could parachute blindfolded into any Porsche showroom in the US and know you were in a Porsche dealership).) The Volvo factory isn't at all responsive to consumer complaints from the posts that I read here. Volvo doesn't really monitor dealer behavior except "is he moving the iron". (Everytime we have service work done on the Porsche we get a blizzard of surveys from the factory about the performance of the dealer. Volvo could care less.) The car no longer can boast of its traditonial Swedish stoutness and longevity. Resale value is declining on the XC70 and the much-touted resale on the XC90 may be a thing of the past. So, what do you have left? A Swedish Taurus?

    Where does this leave the Volvo customer? I see a lot of people in New England migrating into AWD Suburus. Others are looking at E350 Fourmatic or 530ix wagons for 58K or more. None are an attractive option for me. Maybe simply an Eddie Bauer F150 4x4 with four doors would do the trick? But then again, the same SOBs that are ruining Volvo, make the Eddie Bauer!!!

    VolvoMax, as a counterbalance, I'd love to hear your response.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    My 04 XC90 is very reliable, 45,000 miles, drives like brand new and the local dealer service department is a charm to work with. At the end of my lease I will either buy my XC or lease a new one. ;)
  • 45,000 miles is where my 2004 xc90 t6 went south. Rack and Pinion steering at 53k
    then transmission at 61k. The dealership was reasonable - it was Volvo Customer Assistance that was a joke. They put everything on the dealer to rectify. If your dealer doesn't want to assist (and after the warranty why would they) you are down the creek.
    good luck.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Well, comparing Volvo and Porsche is interesting.
    Porsche makes a hell of alot more profit per car than Volvo does, both at the wholesale and retail levels.
    However, the Porsche forums are full of people who are upset w/ the quality of their vehicles.
    Really, on line forums are not the place for the most balanced view of any manufacturer as most people who are there have an axe to grind and they make sure they grind it the loudest.
    Ford Motor has nothing to do with Volvo Cars products or marketing or business practices any more than Volkswagen AG does w/ Porsche. Both Volvo and Porsche are run as independent subsidiaries of their parent companies.
    The difference is in the revenue streams. Volvo simply doesn't have the money to throw around that Porshce or BMW or Mercedes has. Even so, Volvo quality is on par, or better than those companies.
    As for the surveys, Volvo does send out surveys, the only reason you probably don't get one is because your dealer prevents one from being sent to you. They probably feel you would be unduly critical of them. Volvo BTW, is hardly alone in this use of surveys, no motor co really wants your opinion, they all just want perfect surveys. Some dealers have an easier time getting good surveys then others. If you are truly unhappy with your dealer, I would suggest finding another.
  • Hi there,

    Would you please tell me what was the cause and the solution to your problem?

    I purchased a used 2004 XC90 two months ago and I am having the "urgent Transmission Service" come on. I have taken it in twice but they cannot duplicate the problem. Therefore, the warranty company will not authorize any kind of work. I had to pay (out of pocket) for a transmission service :cry: and still have the problem. I recognize that this is an intermitent problem but I bought this car because of reliability and dependebility because we have two small children. We have lost the peace of mind and are ready to throw the towel. Please help. Thank you.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    most people who are there have an axe to grind

    Sure, there is some axe grinding, but most people with issues are actually simply looking for help and some are expressing frustration. Another large segment is comprised of people who just like to talk about their cars. Axe grinders are really few and far between.

    tidester, host
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    How many times do people on this forum, who don't even have Volvo's chime in to complain???
    Maybe they had one years ago, or just think that the cars are bad.
    There is alot of that going around.
    Its not just here, its everywhere.
  • Volvomax, without agreeing with a lot of your points (e.g, that Volvo quality is on par or better than MB, Porsche, BMW; the nature of on line forums, etc.), I found it interesting that you didn't really address what I see as a lack of Volvo factory standards and brand commitment. Sure, Volvo may have less money to throw around than the Germans, but Volvo seems singularly uninterested in dealer development. In New England there is an increasing number of so-so dealers. Take Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US (no point in RI is more than an hour away from any other point). There are three dealers in Providence alone. Three. It must be hard to make any money selling Volvos with three dealers in one city in the smallest state in the US. Is this consumer arguing for fewer dealers?? Yes, lets have fewer but stronger dealers. In the Rhode Island example, Volvo should probably have one very strong dealer with first class facilities, decent profitability, and a sales staff that didn't consist entirely of 23 year old kids.

    Stronger dealers. Even Chrysler and Ford have two tiers of dealerships. Chrysler has Five Star dealers and Ford has Blue Oval dealers. I believe that if a dealer qualifies as a Five Star or Blue Oval dealership there is more "hold back" money at the end of the year. Again, Chrysler and Ford, neither one of whom is very flush with money, want to raise the bar and have carrots to hold out to dealers who agree to upgrade.

    Brand commitment. Volvo developed a strong brand over the years. It slipped a bit with the 850 series and now seems to be going down with the current lineup. Sure models can have glitches but strong factory support can keep the brand strong. The BMW 745 Series by all accounts was a problem ridden car when it first came out with horrendous electrical glitches and the much hated I Drive. The factory stepped up to the plate with lots of buy-backs, hidden extended warranties (I think even out to 150K miles), etc. etc. to help people. The factory did the right thing and today the resale on the '02's and '03s is fine.

    I think Volvo is at a turning point. The cars aren't setting sales records, some models are getting long in the tooth, the brand equity is going down, and a lot of competing makes are picking up the slack. I'm old enough to remember when Saab was king of the winter market, Jaguar was the yuppie car to have, etc. Volvo doesn't have to go this way.
  • I have same problem with my new 2006 XC90.
    I took my car to the dealer and they put bunch of white greasy spray but never fixed. This makes me also crazy but when somebody sit on second row seat the it does not rattle. I did every possible way. Tighten all the bolt and but but still rattle.
    I put some sponge stuffs between the metal plates and floor under the second row seat. Much silent. Seems like that rattling noise comes from that metal plates. Not sure...
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Actually, Volvo's commitment to dealer development is as good or better than anyone elses. Volvo does have the Presidents Level, which is harder to reach than Blue Oval or 5 Star. The most telling stat is that in JD Powers dealer survey(how happy the consumer is with their dealer), Volvo dealers consistently score well, usually better than the Germans.
    As for more holdback money, that is not true. Ford dealers sued Ford about that clause in the Blue Oval program stressing that it promoted unfair competition and they won.
    As for BMW, they went quite a while before addressing the 745i's hideous quality. Much worse than any Volvo model. Now, the average dealer profit on a 745 was something on the order of $5-7000 per copy. BMW Cars made alot more than that per copy. That kind of green will get you alot in "freebies" BTW, I wouldn't sale the resale in "fine" big BMW's have always had horrible resale.
    Fact is, you cannot make such sweeping generalizations.
    Volvo is actually doing fine. Our sales are only down about 7%, in a bad year for the industry where we don't have any new product to drive sales.
  • Volvomax, thanks for the exchange. I stand corrected on several points and thank you for not pointing out how minimal were the hurdles to become Blue Oval or Five Star certified.

    Does the factory's Presidents Program have more deal money for participants? In other words, could a consumer get a better price from a President's Program dealer because there is more hold back or whatever?
  • Have been off the board for a while so just saw this message. My '06 drained the battery in the driveway recently. The computer was apparently not shutting down the various fans, pumps, etc., properly after engine turnoff. Numerous diagnostic codes were logged in the system. Dealer determined it needed a software patch; my service record indicates a "CEM upgrade" and "ICM upgrade." No issues since that visit.

    What tipped me off to this whole thing was that the alarm went off in the middle of the afternoon, and would not clear by pressing any of the buttons on the fob (no response at all) or inserting the key in the ignition once I got inside (battery too low to crank). I finally disconnected the battery, and it still completed the alarm cycle it was on, but thankfully stopped after that. Dealer was not familiar with this symptom and could only speculate on cause. I'm just grateful it occured at 3 pm rather than 3 am.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    No, there is no more money.
    That type of program has been deemed illegal because it doesn't allow for a level playing field.
    Buying from a Presidents dealer means that you are guarranteed a better buying and service experience.
  • martyfmartyf Posts: 10
    I just got my car back from its 30K service and the dealer told me that there is now a service bulletin on the clicking sound. My invoice shows that they "installed subframe spacers and lubed contact points and removed brake hardware and lubed contact points and spring". Parts were a screw and plastic washer. The reference number is
    J# 4 40V0Z "STEER/SUSP LVL A". I haven't had a chance to check to see if that fixed it.

    #854 of 944 Sound when turning left by martyf Sep 16, 2006 (2:29 am)
    Reply | E-mail Msg
    I have a 2004 XC90, 2.5. In my quiet garage at work I hear a low grinding noice when turning left. I can't hear it normally and I don't hear the noice when turning right. The dealer says that they could not find the noice; however, they also had 2 other customers complain about the same thing. Anybody experience this and know what it is or have any thoughts? Thanks.
  • I just got the car back after the dealer had it for over a week. The fan was not shutting off and this was only a random occurance. I suggested that the dealer drive the car like normal (versus just leaving it in the lot and trying to start it on occasion) and after a couple of days the same problem happened to the technician. They replace a fan module and everything has been fine (for now). Thanks for the reply.
  • rkvrkv Posts: 8
    This is for a 2003 XC90 v6. In the past two weeks this has happened three times. The navigation system and speedometer illumination dim to the point where the navigation system is not readable. As thing progress the in dash digital odometer first dims and then goes totally black. The engine is running rough during this period as well. You don't want to turn the car off for fear it will be dead, but when you restart it is fine. The last time it happened I was talking to the dealer and trying to get the car there and at a long light while idling everything returned to normal.

    I believe it has to be electrical but I am puzzled about how infrequently it occurs and it goes away. There is no pattern like only when its wet or anything like that. It also seems to be confined to the dashboard, but engine was running rough on first occassion.

    Anyone experienced this and know the cause?
  • jccai1jccai1 Posts: 106
    This is not a permanent fix. In my experience, after I do this, as soon as the radio picks up the station ID text again, it will remember it again. Next time I turn on the radio and try to switch to this station using the preset button, it will go into this seek loop once again. Then I have to repeat the same exercise: push Exit, re-program the preset button, etc. I got frustrated and stop listening to that particular station (fortunately it only does this with one station).
  • zeenzeen Posts: 401
    Happens to me all the time. I just endure it. Lease is up in 10 months so I figure I can survive
  • zeenzeen Posts: 401
    My "Time for Regular Service" message light is on. I just had the oil changed at a local place and now I want to turn off that message light. Local mechanic said message is turned off using odometer button. I tried that approach using the steps in a guidebook but it won't go off. Any suggestions on how to reset that service message?
  • Our '05 has drained the battery 3 different times while parked at the airport for a week. Volvo replaced the battery after #2, but it happened again at Christmas vacation.
  • Consider yourself very fortunate. My XC90 2004, Volvo extended my warranty to 100,000 because of all the problems. Transmission, rear wheel hubs 6 times, transmission, front hubs 4 times, new tires every 20,000 miles, angle gear, sway bars front and back, heating system, misassembled vehicle status, rear tailgate mechanism 3 times and list goes on- even the dealership service personnel (out of managements hearing) suggested I look at a Nissan if I were to trade it in-reasoning- service has a lot less repairs on Nissan. They sell both. I bought Volvo for safety and reliability and have nothing but problems and they could care less.
  • r20312r20312 Posts: 1
    I just had the same problem on my 2005 XC90 with the cd player track error message and the cd player will not play discs or eject the 6 cd's. Fortunately it will be replaced under warranty but now I wonder about the next time - once warranty expires.
    Fortunately I have not experienced any of the other problems I have read about on this board. Car runs great after 31000 miles.
  • Buying from a Presidents dealer means that you are guarranteed a better buying and service experience.

    Hello, where can one find a list of Volvo President dealers? I'm looking for one in Southern California.

    Thank you.
  • bruno4bruno4 Posts: 1

    I'm experiencing exactly the same problems with the heating system of my XC 90. My car is already more than 3 years old, has been numerous times to the dealer, and even the constructor in order to solve the problems: Big difference in temerature between left and right. Most of the times, the right side is working wrong: heat in summer, cold air in winter. They pretend to have replaced the whole heating system, but without positive result. Last week, during about 300 km of a 900 km drive, it was cold in the car, even with heat and fan on maximum level. I would be interested to know if finally they found a solution for your car, and what that solution was.
  • roper6roper6 Posts: 8
    How were you able to get them to extend the warranty? on my 04, I have had 3 rear wheel hubs replaced, steering rack, rear differential, 3 trim pieces fell off, multiple other issues, and a "clunk" in the front end when you turn the wheel that they tell me is "normal"
  • My wife backed her 2006 XC-90 v8 out of her garage bay and nipped the driver side view mirror, cracking the plastic casing and making it inoperable - can't decide if it is better to take it to the dealer to get it replaced or to my local body shop - any ideas? Either way she (more like me) will be paying for the repair out of pocket...

  • rkvrkv Posts: 8
    I've personally replaced the glass and motor from the mirror on a 2003 XC90 but never the whole housing. However, when I originally bought the parts, the dealer told me it might be cheaper and easier to simply replace the whole assembly.

    There were quite a few variations of the mirrors in the Volvo dealers inventory so be sure to get the right one. Note in my case the mirrors were electrically heated, retractable, and with down lighting and wide angle. Since you have a broken one, you might want to see how easily you can remove it. Although, I suspected that would require removing the inside of the door panel and that's why I opted simply to replace the glass and motor.

    If you are not doing it yourself, I would be surprised if there was a big difference in price between the body shop and dealer, although this should simply be the difference in the hourly rate between those two sources. Good luck.
  • ambaerambaer Posts: 14
    I also had a loud clunk when turning - turned out the bolts on the front struts were getting stripped. They all had to be replaced. Have your dealer check it out.
  • ambaerambaer Posts: 14
    H - I have a 2004 XC90 and the plaastic silver trim all around the windows and doors is getting discolored and cloudy looking. When I complained to the dealer, they told me to "shine" it with some kind of rubbing wax. Around the whole car, I don't think so?! I think it should be replaced. My husband said he saw another XC90 today in a parking lot with the same problem. Anybody else have this problem? Anybody successful getting it replaced? My car only has 30K so its under warranty.

    A lot of people have mentioned the clunking on the front tired when turning - I had the same problem and the dealer changed all the bolts in the front struts - the were getting stripped. The clunking disappeared. Try that.
  • pglinpglin Posts: 10
    I don't know if anyone else has noticed this. When I look into the driver's side mirror, the image seems to be a little distorted. Almost as if the glass is warped in certain places. If I stare at it too long it gives me a dizzy feeling. Anyone else noticed this? Is this common on cars with larger mirrors? Thanks.
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