The rear door handle on the early model XC90 is pretty important. Aside from lowering the second-row seating and doing some serious reaching into the cargo area, the rear door is the only logical way in. So, when the handle starts to wear and give you problems, it makes sense that you want it fixed…and fast, so that you can keep using the cargo area for things like groceries, dogs and whatever else you toss back there.
When I got my XC90, the rear door had some issues when it came to opening. To open the door, I had to perform what I call the push-squeeze-pull method. Basically, I would grab the handle as if I were about to squeeze it, but just before I squeezed the handle, I would push the door in slightly and THEN squeeze. With the handle still squeezed, I would then pull back on the door to open in.
This processes worked for me. Which meant I had to fix the door handle because, while yes the push-squeeze-pull worked for me, it did not work for my wife. And that was a problem.
So I set off to find the fix – or at least a fix that worked. As it turns out, the handle has a metal rod that runs through it and, after years of exposure to the elements and everyday use, the handle doesn’t operate the way it should. There were a number of solutions that ranged from two squirts of lithium grease to a complete overhaul of the handle, including replacing it.
My approach, when it comes to repairs on my 2004 XC90, is that (in general) I go for the cheap repairs first when there is a chance that they will solve my problem. And so I did. After a few squirts of lithium grease in each side (see photos) and a few squeezes of the handle, I was back in business and my wife was happy.
If that still doesn’t do the trick, you may want to head to your local independent Volvo mechanic for some advice.