Car Problem Reports

Volvo S80 Transmission Will Not Shift Properly

Volvo S80 Problem
49 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008

Average Mileage: 111,408 mi (13,200 mi - 187,000 mi)


Many complaints have been reported regarding Volvo S80 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, , 122,000 mi

    Transmission went out completely in Automatic mode. I could still shift manually. Bought a $10 OBD II diagnostic tool to read the codes - Solenoid B issue. I reset the codes and the problem went away. Best tool I ever bought! Saved myself a $4k transmission repair.

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  • Visitor, , 35,000 mi

    when coming to a stop or slow rolling stop, the car is sluggish downshifting into first gear and often the car is not in forst or second gear when I step on e gas causing it to harshly downshift into first causing a "kick" before it goes. Also,I quite often fell a kick or bump when the car does downshift into first gear when stopping. It often is sluggish or eratic upshifting. So far the dealer has updated the software, but that did not fix the problems, and they tell me this is all normal and pretty much act like I'm crazy and there is nothing wrong with the car. Sorry, I've been driving automatic and stick shifts for 48 years...this is Not normal.

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  • Visitor, , 56,000 mi

    I am having a problem with my transmission. I put the car on drive, I accelerate it, and it starts moving very but very slowly , then it gradually starts moving. I stop for the light and again I start to accelerate and now it does not want to move. Just sits there has if it is on neutral. I sent my vehicle to get the transmission overhauled, changed everything but the solenoids. I started driving it. It worked perfect for 15 to 30 min. Then it started to do the same problem again.

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  • Visitor, , 159,000 mi

    Transmission death code (Transmission service urgent) went on. Upgraded software. came back 1 week later.

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  • gracec, , 32,000 mi

    Gear shift will often get stuck in park and will not budge into other gears.

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  • Visitor, , 117,000 mi

    Shifts fine under hard acceleration, putting around town, it doesn't like to stay in 3rd.

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  • zgates, , 120,000 mi

    Long shift time between 2 and 3 and I get very hard shifting when trying to slow down

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  • Visitor, , 13,200 mi

    Started by what seemed like confusion between 2nd and 3rd gear car seemed like it was going back and forth between gears. Then would go into limp mode. Now car wont shift into upper gears 1st and reverse all that work. S80 T6 automatic 2003 dealer wants 6000 for repair volvo should assist not gouge if they want repeat customers.

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  • malhotra, , 136,000 mi

    initial pickup hard take lot of rpm

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  • Visitor, , 155,000 mi

    I changed the fluid and the problem was deferred for about 2 weeks. Readdressed the issue with a transmission fix (Lucas) at about 170k. Now the problem seems to be returning. I will try the software update per this blog. Thank you all for the great input.

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