Car Problem Reports

Volvo XC70 Transmission Will Not Shift Properly

Volvo XC70 Problem
20 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012

Drive Train Affected: 2.5L 5 Cylinder Turbo

Average Mileage: 118,870 mi (27,000 mi - 221,000 mi)


Many complaints have been reported regarding Volvo XC70 transmission shifting issues. Long shift times between gear shifts, hard shifting, hard downshifting and a loss of transmission operation all together to name a few.

If the issue is minor, a transmission software update may address this issue so 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, , 221,000 mi

    When driving in stop and go traffic,the transmission begins shifting erratically.Hard up shifting and down shifting.Incorrect engagement between shifts.Seems to be when the transmission gets hot.After steady driving,the transmission acts normally.I have not attempted to solve the problem yet.

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  • Visitor, , 148,000 mi


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  • Visitor, , 42,000 mi

    My issue is first gear. When I pull up to a stop sign and take of quickly (as in not waiting more than a half second)the transmission gets confused and clunks back into first gear. This also happens when driving in a parking lot slowly and then give it gas to speed up. Its as if 1st gear is slipping or not staying in first gear. The dealer stated nothing was detectable when they drove it. If you pull up to a stop sign and wait a couple of seconds, and then take off all is fine. I will have to fight with the dealer on this one....its under warranty but they claim there are no software updates.

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  • Visitor, , 105,000 mi

    It has only happened twice now, and both times were when I was driving my 2005 XC70 up a steep canyon road with wet road conditions - it would have a very hard time shifting between 3 and 4 gear and rev up to like 3000 rpm's before finally shifting hard into 4th. I thought the first time that it may have been my tires spinning out, but this last time was exactly like the first, and while the roads were wet, and it was snowing and cold outside, I don't think my tires were spinning out.

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  • Visitor, , 80,000 mi

    Delayed and then hard shifts, particularly uphill on warm days. Happened even with fresh fluid.

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  • Visitor, , 144,000 mi

    When car gets warm it revs before shifting from 1st to second and sometimes from second to third.

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  • Visitor, , 136,000 mi

    Tranny slipping when changing gears, usually after start up from stop sign. Code said it is lock up function slippage or not engaged. Cost to repair $3500-4500. Have not fixed. Wondering how long it will last this way and if there are any alternatives

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  • Visitor,

    2003 XC70 transmission failed at 150,000+ miles. Replacement was quoted at $5500 with a Volvo remanufactured trans. I nursed the car for three years to get it this far. I had several computer upgrades to get it there. Always try the upgrade first. This is probably good mileage for a transmission for an XC70. Otherwise a good can. I ran over a deer two years ago and it just kept right on going, did have repairs to linkage and steering,but it got me to work and home and a Volvo shop.

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  • Visitor, , 27,000 mi

    First 2 gears shift hard takes too long, had a computer re-set twice to no avail, VOLVO replaced total transmission, and 3 weeks later the same problem. Not happy, have had Volvo's for 20 plus years and never had this problem. 2011 XC70 only 27000 miles on car

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  • Visitor, , 36,000 mi

    Hard and some times erratic shifting, particularly when accelerating from a stop. After the SECOND time at the Volvo dealership with this complaint, (first time I was told 'there was no problem') the service people found that there is a leak in the transmission line that 'may' be causing the problem.....

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