• Jul 28, 2010
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is investigating older Volvo XC90 models for potential faulty electronics that could cause the headlights and turn signals to fail. So far, the government isn't aware of any crashes resulting from the fault, but 21 owners have filed a complaint. The defect manifests itself on 2004-2005 XC90 SUVs, and NHTSA says that 93,487 vehicles are potentially impacted by the problem.

Fortunately, should the NHTSA issue a recall, the problem is a relatively easy fix. Regulators say that simply replacing a bad control module is enough to set everything working again. So far, there are no reports of similar problems occurring in any other Volvo models of similar vintage, but you can bet your eyes that the NHTSA will be taking a closer look at the company's line up from four years ago just to make sure.

[Source: Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Those bad boys are super easy to remove. Pull 2 slide pins out on the core support and the whole bucket flops out
      • 4 Years Ago
      No no no, Volvo, you were told NOT to use Lucas electrics...
        • 4 Years Ago
        They must have some kind of deal with the Swedes -
        all of the parts that have problems on the 9-5 also use Lucas (displays)

        They suck - need to use a new company or get a warranty for free replacements
      • 4 Years Ago
      Volvo/Ford hiding this defect for so many years? Are you sure this isn't a Toyota post? ...So you're telling me such behavior is actually prevalent in the automotive industry?!?

      Scanning the headlines recently, it looks like at least Toyota would have voluntarily recalled it already, regardless of the number of affected owners or age of the cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have an '01 V70, headlight failure due to CEM problems is a frequent problem with this car. There is a current sense resistor in the CEM to check for a burned-out bulb. This resistor overheats and loses contact with the CEM. When that happens, I get a message in the text display box saying "DIPPED BULB FAILURE" and neither low-beam bulb will light. I have replaced that resistor 3 or 4 times since I bought the car, and the slot it plugs into the CEM is toasty brown now. It's common enough that pretty much every Volvo forum has a post on how to fix it.

      Gotta love it when the fault-detection circuits in these new cars actually CAUSE the fault they're trying to detect...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Come on NHTSA address the Audi intermittent lighting failures already! They've only been happening to owners for a decade.
        • 4 Years Ago
        and VW. I know they had problems in the 90's..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lol.. if it's not one thing, it's the other.

      I'll keep my '96 car. No lighting module.. just a few relays, a fuse, and two switches :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      This has been my exact issue since having purchased this vehicle recently. It is a used vehicle, 100K miles 2004, xc90 AWD T6. While over the last week of ownership, and in the works with the independent dealer, the Volvo dealership, and a few secondary mechanics to find and resolve this issue. I am confident that the car was possibly "traded-in" because of these issues. I, and I'm sure the independent dealer I purchased it from, couldn't, in good conscience put this vehicle back into the market for an unaware buyer, like myself.

      Two separate instances have I had the situation where the engine will, for 1/2 a second, falter, and losing power. This happens sporadically, about 3-5 times, with the final result being that the engine stays on, but all the instrument panels fail, the transmission sticks in one gear, the current gear, and then I must travel "blind" until I reach my destination. Fortunately, I haven't had an accident.

      My family has been with me, my wife is worried, she won't drive it, I will, to try and resolve the issue, as I am a professional computers systems architect who does systems analysis and design, testing, and architecture. In essence, it's my job to troubleshoot and find the answers to problems of any type in any industry. However, I lack specific automotive knowledge, the systematic troubleshooting is the same.

      It first has appeared to be a batter, and possibly in combination with the alternator, now as I am reading in forums, it may be the CEM (Central Equipment Module). I have replaced the battery.

      I will be visiting the Volvo dealership for an appointment under the fortunate advice and as a benefactor of the independent dealer I purchased the vehicle from, but it's a very big concern for us and our family to not say something, to not relay worry and alarm to others that this is happening. And especially, that there is no HELP and FEEDBACK and TAKING OWNERSHIP by Volvo.

      I was advised by many to consider a Volvo and have always heard of great service and support, but until recently, may situations are surfacing that cause great concern and alarm.

      I CAN'T in good conscience allow my wife and family to ride with my in this vehicle when the power cuts out on the freeway. I hope to find some help and resolution from the Volvo dealership, NHSTA (where I have filed a complaint), and any other that might be reading this.

      I love the car, the safety history, the durability ... but my faith in the product is now wavering, it's not functioning as advertised and by public expectation. Where is the FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY to the public for safety!? Apparently the cost to fix these kinds of issues is a great burden on the public and shouldn't be withheld.

      This is an effort to reach out to the public voice, and petition for VOLVO and NHTSA to get involved. Where are you when consumers need you? Just because it's a few who speak out, what must be said to get one's attention; isn't there a recourse of action to support the community? The online forums are littered with people, who may have not come forward yet, but are in need of help. GOOGLE for "xc90 electrical engine power failure". You'll see well enough some horror stories.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My issue was fixed by having the CEM replaced! I have now driven more than a few hundred miles, even in extreme conditions, and there are no longer any issues as were exhibited in my previous email. Hope this helps others.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey Darth, right on!
      Our '05 XC90 is at the dealership right now. 5 years and one month old, 19,500 miles. Some "non-serviceable plug" comes undone, and front axle gear lube contaminates the transmission fluid system, resulting in the replacement of tranny, front axle, radiator and all the interconnecting plumbing.
      Volvo has stepped up and will replace it all "under warranty" even though it is one month past the 5 year portion of the equation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        lucky that volvo covered your repairs under warrenty. after 45,000 miles and 2 (fully paid for!) transmissions later we finally dumped it. Gah, that was frustrating
      Rand
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had a 05 XC-90 and at 34.000 miles needed a new engine. Though I had all my required oil changes done twice a year, the dealership held my car for over a month, did not offer me a loan car, even when I ask. The end results was since I did not get my oil change with said dealership, they would not cover the cost of a new engine. I've own a Volvo since I was 18 yrs of age and I'm now 55yrs of ages. I shall never lease nor buy another one ever! No one should be subjected to the treatment I'd received. Would like to hear from all other XC-90 owners that may have had same problem.
        Rand
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rand
        Thanks so much for your reply. My 05 XC-90 was leased brand new. I still can't believe there has not been a recall on this SUV. I thank you once more.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rand
        Randie

        I have the XC90 T6 bought used in March and it has been in the shop more than I've had it.
        To date: trani, radiator, inner coolant hose, rotors, breaks, fuel pump (twice), and yes the central computer module.

        I was one of the lucky 21 who's car shut down on the interstate going about 75 mph. The whole panel completely shut off. Indicators and hazards would not even work as I glided over to the shoulder.

        My dealer is horrible and their attitudes and service of my car has been pathetic to completely mind blowingly frustrating. But they are the only game in town so they win and I am stuck dealing with them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How safe... or should I say naughty?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Um...how about being under investigation over transmission failures in the T6 XC90s from '03-'04?
      Florida
      • 11 Months Ago
      One thing that you all have to remember is that all Ford products had a stall problem. This is why I stopped buying Ford. You bought the Volvo prior to Ford selling in 2010.
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