Transmission Troubles: The Volvo Conundrum Explained

Transmission Troubles: The Volvo Conundrum Explained

We take immense pride in keeping our customers informed and their vehicles running smoothly at Independent Vehicle Service. If you’re a proud Volvo owner, especially of a model from the early 2000s, you might have heard whispers about transmission troubles. Let’s dive deep into this topic and unravel the mystery behind these issues. If you are experiencing transmission issues with your Volvo in Albuquerque, NM, contact us today to see how we can help.

infographic about signs of a failing Volvo Transmission
back of an early Volvo XC60

The Early 2000s Transmission Overhaul

In the early 2000s, Volvo embarked on a mission to redesign its powertrain, which included the engine, driveshaft, and, notably, the transmission. This overhaul aimed to enhance performance across their lineup. However, this new transmission design soon revealed its Achilles' heel, proving to be problematic and prone to premature failure.

clean transmission gears

Unpacking the Transmission Troubles

So, what exactly went wrong? The redesigned transmissions suffered from valve body issues and electronic control problems. Additionally, Volvo marketed these units as having "lifetime fluid." There is no such thing as a “lifetime” fluid, and all fluids in a vehicle are meant to be changed at some point in their lifespan to keep them running efficiently. This misleading claim by Volvo led many owners to skip regular fluid changes, resulting in sludge buildup and accelerated wear.

automatic transmission and case

The Main Culprit

The AW55-50SN 5-speed automatic transmission, used primarily in turbocharged and AWD Volvo models, was often the source of these headaches. This particular transmission’s design flaws have been a recurring theme in the cars we service.

older Volvo wagon

Most Affected Models:

  • XC90: Owners experienced erratic shifting, shuddering, or harsh shifts, especially when downshifting. In severe cases, complete transmission failure necessitated replacement.

  • S60: Common issues included erratic shifting, shift flares (harsh upshifts), and hard downshifts.

  • V70: Drivers reported difficulty changing gears, delayed or rough shifting, and an abrupt "klonk" sound when the transmission engaged.

While these transmission troubles have been a challenge for Volvo owners, our team at Independent Vehicle Service is here to help. With our expertise in automotive repair, we ensure your Volvo receives the care it needs. If you’re experiencing transmission issues, schedule a service with us today. Your Volvo deserves the best!

Give Us A Call!