Car Problem Reports

Volvo XC90 Hard Shifting, Erratic Shifting and Other Transmission Issues

Volvo XC90 Problem
21 Reports
Me Too

Model Years Affected: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

Average Mileage: 98,227 mi (47,773 mi - 195,000 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:

  • , , 100,000 mi

    Bought a 2006 volvo xc90 took it to the dealer because of hard shifting at about 30 and 50 mph they did a software update. That is a total joke. Still have the problem and if the dealer would have been honest I wouldn't have bought a car with a broken transmission. So looks like we will be replacing the transmission. Volvo should be responsible sounds like it should be a recall!

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  • , , 84,000 mi

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

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  • , , 137,000 mi

    I just got message " TRANSMISSION SERVICE URGENT " on my Volvo XC90 2004

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  • , , 106,000 mi

    Vehicle will hard shift at 1/4 tank of gas may be fuel related but also when tank is full but intermittantly

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  • , , 96,000 mi

    Hard shifting when it gets warm, works much better in winter

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  • , , 81,868 mi

    Hard shifting from first gear to second gear

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  • , , 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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  • , , 142,000 mi

    Transmission, CV Axle, Transfer case. I have not driven any car with so much problem. Even Volvo dealerships can not have the right diagnostic.

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  • , , 47,773 mi

    I purchased the car about a month ago and brought it back to dealership they said they put in a new transmission, but still having issues with loud noises, jerky when I put it in reverse or other gears. Shifting hard also. , ct dealership told me it was normal not to worry about it. It also has other issues that were fixed and some that are normal. I paid a good amount for it. I think I should purchase a warranty for it soon

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  • , , 109,000 mi


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