Automatic Transmission Shifts Very Hard and Erratic on Volvo V70

There are several common complaints regarding Volvo V70 transmission shifting issues. Long shift times between gear shifts, hard shifting, hard downshifting and a loss of transmission operation to name a few.

If the issue is minor, a transmission software update may address this. If available, the software should be updated before any repairs are made. After a software update or repair, the shift adaptation needs to be reset. A good quality Volvo repair shop will know how to perform this task.

There are several technical service bulletins (TSB's) available from Volvo that address these shifting issues and they should be consulted by the repair shop during the automatic transmission diagnostic process.

Regular servicing of the transmission fluid can help with preventing transmission failure, but not in all cases. Follow the suggested fluid replacement interval recommended by Volvo. You will find this in your owners manual, or find it here>>

RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 135,383 (14,900–260,000)
Drive Trains affected: AWD, FWD
9 model years affected: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, more2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009
62 people reported this problem
31 people shared problem details
2002 Volvo V70- FWD213,400
transmission stopped working--no gears (automatic transmission) with engine running with absolutely no warning. Went from full speed to not moving in a split second! Had just cross 6 lanes of traffic on busy highway during rush hour traffic so came very close to huge & potentially fatal accident. No warning lights or sounds or anything. I had just backed up made a u turn and was back in drive and the car simply stopped moving and had not any power to go in any gear thought the engine was on and the lights were on. Terrifying! No prior indication of any transmission trouble. 2nd owner, bought from dealer where first owner bought & serviced the car and traded up. It had 211,400 miles on it when I bought it 7 months ago, only put 2,000 around town miles on it in 7 months, with minimal highway driving--at most 15 miles highway/30 miles round trip for a month. and 7 miles highway driving twice/week.
2004 Volvo V7080,000
The transmission shift between 2nd and 3rd gear is intermittently very hard--big "clunk" as it shifts. Seems to happen more when the car is warmed up. Of course, the mechanic drove it nearly 40 miles and it didn't act up at all. Stopped doing this for about five days afterward, and now it is beginning to "clunk" again. He said that it could be software, but most of the time finds that the transmission needs to be repaired. We've been discussion the cost/benefit of trying software first or waiting.
2001 Volvo V70- FWD110,000
My 2001 V70 T5 seems to have a transmission issue more common than I thought. I wonder if anyone out there was able to resolve the issue with a software upgrade fix. Perhaps a transmission computer fix? Your advise is appreciated. Thank you
2000 Volvo V70- FWD107,000
hard shifting and long hesitancy when shifting from reverse to drive.
2002 Volvo V70- FWD167,000
Exactly same as the '04 owners post. Seems fine running cold as in my morning drive commute. But going home in evening stop and go traffic commute or even if having to stop on several errands, BAM! Shifts hard from 2d to 3d gear and a horribly knock as if something just fell from under the hood. Twice the transmission needs servicing message came on with warning light ! in center of it. I have parked it ever since and drive my reliable 96 Chevy S10! This is my 3rd Volvo but first one giving me issues and also will be my last. After reading these forums and talking to other Volvo owners, I would have thought by now Volvo engineers would have come up with a solution to fix this. I am appalled!! (no diagnosis and not fixed...yet)
2001 Volvo V70- FWD155,000
Hard down shifting and lost of power. Not fix yet, needs to be check.
2001 Volvo V70- FWD210,120
2001 volvo v70 turbo Hard shifting and after it shift to 5 gear it will not down shift and stay stock on that gear.
2002 Volvo V70- FWD126,000
Just as the problem list states, erratic shifting, abrupt and very hard downshifts.
Just bought car and was given a 6 month tranny warranty how do i get this repaired properly the tranny shifts hard and long hesitation between reverse to drive. also just really odd shifting in general
2002 Volvo V70- AWD142,000
Just purchased and vehicle shifts very hard from 1st to 2nd and vice-versa. It also shifts hard going into reverse intermittently.
2001 Volvo V70- AWD160,000
Vehicle has harsh shifts at lower speeds. Help, local dealer charged to check concern but told us it was not recreated. It has gotten worse.
2003 Volvo V7050,000
We have a 2003 Volvo V70 2.4T wagon with a automatic transmission. Back in 2010 we had issues with the transmission shifting in a "clunky" fashion. It was usually going from 1st to 2nd gear. We had the transmissions oil changed and the software updated/ reset. It corrected the problem for about 3000 miles. Upon a second inspection we told by our Volvo dealer that the transmission was defective and non-repairable. Apparently it's a Chinese manufactured part. $4000 later we have a new transmission. The car now has 100,000 miles on it and so far so good. It's otherwise been a good car. That said, very disappointed in the transmission and Volvo's reluctancy to admit that the transmission was of inferior materials and design. Needless to say it's our first and likely last Volvo.
2001 Volvo V70- AWD149,000
Erratic up shifting & downshifting. Sometimes car seems to be in neutral. When it does shift, it does so with clunking & bucking. Frequent transmission service needed warnings. Had check engine light investigated & was told it was the shift solenoid. Did not have it repaired as many other individuals reported that the transmission needed to be replaced.
Hard Shifting initially and now the transmission simply stopped working with only 132,726 miles.
2002 Volvo V70- AWD158,500
Hard shifting between gears . Not much noise but a glitch which is noticeable enough. Will the software update fix this ?
2002 Volvo V70- AWD
Shifts hard. Sometimes long,just as i was reading.
2002 Volvo V70- FWD
Shifts fine while car is cold. Once at operating temperature shifting becomes very hard both up and down. High rpm's between gears then slams into gear violently. Four second delay from park to drive at which time it slams into gear violently. Shifts into reverse fine. Car has no service records other than timing belt replaced at 140k. I bought the car at 150k. As of Jan 2016 car has 182k. Recently the thermostat has become stuck open which keeps the car cool in the winter and runs great. No heat though. I've put off fixing the tstat due to the shifting problem.
2001 Volvo V70- AWD189,767
Long shift time between shifting between 1st and 2nd gear. Revved high then slammed into 2nd gear with out warning
2006 Volvo V70- FWD220,000
down shifts hard into second, shifts hard from park when put in drive. sometimes shifting is delayed when going into 3rd and then slams into gear.
2001 Volvo V70- AWD171,000
shift hard or stuck in high gear
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