About My 2004, Volvo XC90 2.5T
I bought my 2004, Volvo XC90 2.5T in late 2014 from a used car lot in Raleigh, North Carolina. I had previously owned a 2001 Volvo XC70 (Cross Country) and was very happy with it – but it developed some issues that caused me to sell. I was in the market for an SUV and the XC90 was definitely on my list of cars to look out for. On the lot where I bought my XC90 there were two models at the time: a 2006 with a T6 engine and way too many miles…and the one I eventually bought. I honestly didn’t even look at the T6 because of the transmission problems that seem to come with owning this car. It wasn’t so much the frequency of the transmission failures that was my sticking point, it was the severity and cost to replace – I wasn’t in the market for that kind of risk.
Anyway, I drove the 2004 2.5T and it felt good. At this point, it was over 10 years old and I knew it wouldn’t drive like a new Volvo, and that was ok. It had some decent power, was comfortable and passed my preliminary inspection. One thing I did note is that the area under the oil filler cap had some crusty oil on it, as did the grate where you pour oil into the engine. I rationalized that this was due to using dino oil and taking mostly short trips in the vehicle. There was also some rust under the rear of the car, but I had done my research and knew the car was driven and serviced by Don Beyer Volvo in Washington, DC – a good dealer with a good reputation in a city that uses an awful lot of salt on the roads.
I did take the XC90 to an independent Volvo mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection of the car. He did have some concerns which were the following:
The driver’s side seat motor was broken.
There was a crapton of rust under the rear.
There was burnt oil under the filler cap.
The headrest on one of the third-row seats was broken.
The timing belt and water pump needed replacing.
The car only came with one key. Not even a remote/flip key…just…a key.
In the end, he highly suggested that I DO NOT PURCHASE THE CAR (caps added for effect).
So, in the end, I bought the car. Here’s why:
The driver’s side seat motor was unplugged.
Everything rusts these days. Surface rust on the undercarriage is normal.
I was going to switch to synthetic oil as soon as I bought the car.
I don’t sit in the third row.
I had plans to replace the timing belt and water pump.
Ok you got me here. New flip keys for a Volvo are expensive.
So I bought the car. I managed to land a decent deal for a new key (not a flip key/remote) from the Volvo dealer in Raleigh so at least both my wife and I would have a key – and, at the very least, a spare if we did the unthinkable and locked one in the car.
Within the first week I ordered a bunch of parts that I knew I’d need eventually, or needed right away. New wiper blades, oil filters, timing belt, idler pully, water pump, air filter, etc. And I changed the oil with synthetic right away and have only used synthetic since.
About My Other Volvo
Before I bought the XC90, I bought and owned a 2001 Volvo XC70 Cross Country. I was looking for a wagon because we needed the room but also wanted something that could take us to the mountains of North Carolina in the snow as easily as it would take us to Atlantic Beach in the summer. The car fit the bill. Like my XC90, it was “born” in the U.S.A. At Don Beyer Volvo in Washington, DC and had an impeccable service record.
I did many of my own repairs, including tune ups, front struts, heater core replacement and a few other things. Heck, I even built my own HD TCV for about ⅓ the price IPD USA sells it for.
But in the end, the car needed more than I could give it. Shifting was starting to get a little “loose” on the Volvo and I was beginning to hear a pronounced CLUNK when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd gear. I was also about to need a new front axle and a few other items that made it time to part with the XC70. I wasn’t happy about it and secretly vowed to own another Volvo again and, ideally, that Volvo would be an XC90.
Owning the XC70 was definitely very good training for owning the XC90. Many of the systems are the same, or similar, and it really got me used to the 2.5 engine, despite a few minor differences.
A Bit Of 2004 XC90 Fate
During one of my first few detailing of the interior of the car, I reached into the passenger seat front pocket and found an L.L. Bean receipt with the previous owner’s name. I located his email address and sent him a quick note to let him know his XC90 was in good hands and to ask if there was, maybe, anything I should know about the car (that was code for “why did you sell it?”).
Turns out the dealership told him it was time for a new timing belt, water pump and a few other goodies – all of which added up to a fair chunk of money. The dealership also offered him a deal on a new car that he couldn’t refuse. So he traded in the XC90. Dealerships aren’t really interested in selling 10-year-old cars, so they did whatever they do with cars they can’t sell.
There was nothing specifically “wrong” with the XC90 – just the money it was going to take to keep it up to par. Oh, and I forgot to mention that this guy HAD A FLIP KEY/REMOTE and he sent it to me. Yeah, that helped. I knew about the timing belt, water pump, etc before I bought and had plans to take it to an independent Volvo shop, which I have done.
Flash-forward to day and I currently only have a few things here and there to “fix” – some suspension parts (front shocks, spring seats and bearing plates), brakes (all-new Ate brakes and pads) and some other expected maintenance items. For the majority of the time I’ve owned it, my 2004 XC90 has been a great family SUV.
Here’s a quick rundown of the specs for my 2004 Volvo XC90 2.5T that may differ from others based on country, etc:
Front brake size: XXXmm
Rear shocks: Nivomats
Seating capacity: 7
Rear AC: Yes
Premium Sound: Yes
Tire Size: P235/65R17
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