2004 Volvo XC90 T6


Should have had a gearbox recall


Gearbox died at 55,000 miles. Repair cost £4700+ after discounts.

General Comments:

I found this page via the Wikipedia XC90 page. There is a link under the reliability / T6 gear box failure section.

We have an XC90. I am in the UK. It cost us just over £50,000 and is now out of warranty. Like so many people have said here, we bought it as a solid investment car - pay a lot to start with, but get "Volvo" reliability - so I was surprised when the gearbox suddenly died at around 55,000 miles. The AA rescue service diagnosed the fault from about 50 yards away "It's a T6 XC90 - it will be the gearbox" and the main Volvo dealer have confirmed that it's in need of a new one costing just over £4700 all inc. after discounts. Volvo have offered a goodwill gesture of 30%.

In the UK this falls under something called "The Goods and Services Act". Goods have to be "fit for purpose". Like nearly everyone, the fault has shown itself out of warranty between 50k and 60k. My thoughts are that Volvo knew that this would be the case, based on other failures before ours. They knew, while the car was under warranty, that it was not fit for purpose, but chose not to recall the fault because it would damage their reputation (as has been an issue with Toyota in the UK). Quite rightly, if they had made it known that there was a faulty gear box that would suddenly fail, putting my family in danger as it did - I would not have bought the vehicle, so I understand their reasoning.

The many hundreds of reports I have found on the Internet are not enough. I need to be able to present a case with "witness statements" and I would be grateful if those people who have experienced an XC90 T6 with transmission failure (only this specific fault) would send me a witness statement explaining who they are (Name and Address), what vehicle it was (i.e. XC90 T6), the year of manufacture and the mileage at which the fault came to light. The letter must be signed for it to carry any weight with the UK court - that's just how it is. If you are able to also send any supporting document (like a letter / invoice / bill from Volvo confirming the fault) then that would be helpful. In the UK there is a second action available in Negligence insomuch as it can be argued that Volvo were negligent in not recalling a product that they knew to be faulty. The fault is such that it can potentially cause danger (sudden and catastrophic loss of power while driving). In that circumstance it may be possible to backdate a claim over the previous six years and recover costs already incurred.

I do not know if it's possible to find out how many XC90s have the fault or what percentage is affected, or whether any technical information regarding the fault (expert assessment reports, details of the part number) and so on may be available - help in that regard would very much be appreciated also.

Finally, if there is anyone technically minded out there who knows how to get this message to a wider XC90 audience, then I would be grateful. It's really upsetting that Volvo have chosen to manage the problem like this. My view is that the decision to not recall a design fault of this magnitude is fundamentally wrong and potentially unsafe.

I have set up an email address XC90@yipes.co.uk, and would very much appreciate your help as I have described above.

Kindest regards, Anthony.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th February, 2013

21st Feb 2013, 05:26

Good luck in your claim. I am also a XC90 owner, but wisely brought the D5 model, so have no gearbox issues. It's a shame the T6 suffers from this issue, as otherwise it's probably the best family car on the market today. I would not put my children in anything else.

The XC90 does have an issue with the gearbox, and I believe that the facelifted XC90 has the newer and much more reliable unit fitted to the petrol models. However, Volvo did not design that specific part to break and cause danger, and if it had done during the warranty period, they would have replaced it. Luckily in the UK, most XC90's are diesel (and I've got to say that mine is averaging 38 MPG, which is outstanding for such a big vehicle!) so the problem is a little more limited. Also, Lexus have a similar problem with premature failings on their RX300 Automatics - so it's not just Volvo.

I am defending Volvo a little as mine is a great car and I hear of several auto gearbox issues with many makes (my brother's Mercedes AMG just had one fail at low mileage, but Mercedes wouldn't do anything about it!) that come of nothing. If this was America, you may get something if only your money back from Volvo for the repair costs, but you won't get any more than that as it wouldn't have been a known fault when Volvo sold you the car originally (they usually only started failing after 5 years plus)... Put a case to Volvo UK though, as they would usually be able to get some more for you from Volvo Sweden. Good luck!

2003 Volvo XC90 SE 2.4 turbo diesel


Beautiful.. Could be better


Gear box... oh dear! But least it gets you home, even if it is 'officially dead'.. Which is more than can be said for the P38 so Range Rover!!

Rear wiper... But I overloaded it!! Six inches of wet snow didn't do it any favours!

Hand brake... JEZZZ!!! £600.. OUCH. I was very annoyed that something that minor should be so expensive!

General Comments:

What a beautiful and capable car! Although it's essentially an estate car on major steroids, it can cope with some moderately 'troublesome' terrain... A Discovery or any Japanese 'off roader', would be better though. Why Volvo didn't make the XC90 a 'Full Bore' 4x4, beats me... but there you go!

The XC90 offers extreme safety and the boot capacity is enormous... Vastly better than the BMW X5.. The BMW, however, eats the XC90 for breakfast in motorway performance.

For comfort.. the Mighty Volvo is pretty much unsurpassed... except by it's 'better' smaller brother, the XC70.

So why buy an XC90?...It's a lovely bus, it really is! It won't bog down in thick snow as easily as some other, wannabe, 4x4s. The ride height is good, nearly as good as a Range Rover. The ride is soft and comfortable and the stowage... FANTASTIC!!.. When driving the XC90, you don't feel like you're driving a lorry either. It's a lovely car... But I loved my old V70XC More!!! It was fast, easier to park, could haul oddles of 'junk' ignored hills, put a smile on my face whenever I drove it and.. apart from drinking more than Concorde on afterburn... The 'old' Volvo was even more comfortable.

So, the XC90, a lovely car!!.. Big, safe, practical, comfortable but boring... I'd love, my old V70XC back, that was FANTASTIC!!... Apart from the fuel consumption.. which wasn't!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th June, 2011