Car Problem Reports

Volvo V70 Transmission Shifts Very Hard and Erratic

Volvo V70 Problem
42 Reports
Me Too

Model Years Affected: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006

Drive Trains Affected: AWD, FWD

Average Mileage: 136,684 mi (50,000 mi - 260,000 mi)


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>>

  • Visitor, , FWD, 213,400 mi

    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.

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  • Visitor, , 80,000 mi

    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.

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  • Visitor, , FWD, 110,000 mi

    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

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  • Visitor, , FWD, 126,000 mi

    Just as the problem list states, erratic shifting, abrupt and very hard downshifts.

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  • Visitor, , FWD, 107,000 mi

    hard shifting and long hesitancy when shifting from reverse to drive.

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  • Visitor, , FWD, 155,000 mi

    Hard down shifting and lost of power. Not fix yet, needs to be check.

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  • Onestoptek, , 128,000 mi

    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

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  • Visitor, , FWD, 167,000 mi

    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)

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  • Visitor, , AWD, 171,000 mi

    shift hard or stuck in high gear

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  • Visitor, , 260,000 mi

    Downshifts hard some of the time, usually worse hot. Stalling just started, may or may not be related. Independent mechanic (Volvo specialist) seems to be reluctant to get involved. Car was fine up to 250k miles.

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