Car Problem Reports

Volvo XC90 Hard Shifting, Erratic Shifting and Other Transmission Issues

Volvo XC90 Problem
10 Reports
Me Too

Model Years Affected: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Average Mileage: 147,108 mi (52,000 mi - 590,000 mi)


Many complaints have been reported regarding Volvo XC90 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, , 81,868 mi

    Hard shifting from first gear to second gear

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  • Visitor, , 109,000 mi


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  • Visitor, , 66,000 mi

    At 66,000 miles my transmission went out. After weeks of working with Volvo N America and local dealer they agreed to replace my transmission. However, the drive train was warn as a result of the defective transmission. They refused to replace the drive-train. Now, the car is making a rumbling rattle. Local mechanic said it's because they didn't replace drive-train. Both should have been done or the transmission will go out again.

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  • Visitor, , 80,000 mi

    Occasional downshifts are delayed and harsh, been to the dealer four times with no resolution. Unlikely to buy volvo again, service quality is terrible.

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  • Visitor, , 84,000 mi

    "Urgent Transmission Service Required" message; slipping; hard shifting; failing to upshift or downshift when appropriate.

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  • Visitor, , 52,000 mi

    Our XC90 has hesitated since we bought it, now our "angle gear" needs to be replaced for thousands of dollars. We do not have AWD without the replacement. The car drives terribly erratic.

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