2018 Volvo XC90 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Fuel system, brake and electrical issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The newest tagline for the luxury Volvo XC90 is “the no-compromise SUV.” As many people that own the 2018 Volvo XC90 can share, this vehicle is far from luxurious. In fact, it seems that the automaker made plenty of compromises while building this model. From the malfunctioning electrical system to the defective service brakes, drivers face many complaints and difficulties.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Volvo XC90

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Fuel/propulsion System
Engine And Engine Cooling
Exterior Lighting
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control

Problems with the Electrical System

The first thing many people think about with the electrical system is the battery and alternator, but there is so much more that needs to run correctly, especially in a luxury vehicle. Owners demand the latest electronics and driver-assist technology, all of which rely on the electrical system. When these comforts don’t work properly, it just aggravates and disappoints.

One Edmunds review illustrates the anger perfectly, “In our 48 plus years of marriage, this has been our worst vehicle purchase, hands down….!!  HORRIBLE navigation & voice response.    Ask for navigation & the response is “who do you want to call?” (Just an example of one common response). Air conditioner went out yesterday in Houston 100 plus heat .Gas pump today…. kept kicking nozzle out …..one previous gas fill up ….. “spit” gasoline back out, soaking my shirt. Try to change blower speed on AC (when it works) & it refuses to change speed…. too many problems to mention all, but stay away from this suv …..We wanted safety & ease of use, but it has been the perpetual nightmare….. been in the shop 4 times in 7 months.”

While all of these might seem like minor inconveniences to some, there are many dangers that these situations pose. The gasoline-soaked shirt alone is something no one wants to face. The automaker also released an electrical-related recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V800000 discusses how the GPS installed on this SUV can malfunction, resulting in an error when emergency personnel attempt to find the vehicle in case of a crash. While this causes plenty of worry, so does attempting to drive a vehicle without air conditioning in 100-degree temperatures. After all, these owners didn’t buy a $1,000 clunker – they invested in a high-dollar luxury vehicle. The least it should offer is air conditioning.

Problems with the Brakes

There’s no reason to struggle to stop this type of vehicle. The brakes should be constructed of premium materials, especially considering the price that drivers pay to get behind the wheel.

In this Edmunds review, you see how fast it goes through brakes, along with other complaints. “Leased the XC 90 because it was a beautiful suv, and came with a lot of guarantees of technology, good gas mileage, autonomous driving. First, it is nice to drive when it works, but honestly it feels like Volvo just threw this out here and didn’t really test it. It’s been in the shop every 3 months for electrical problems, or driving issues, I go through breaks and tires like I own a Lamborghini, and I don’t drive it that much. Not to mention the manufacturer promised me an extra warranty when I purchased due to my former ownership with VW but that’s my personal beef and nothing to do with the actual car.   Gas mileage is horrible, accelerating is weak, something is popping up as a malfunction every month, I wouldn’t take the risk unless you want to pay to be a test dummy for Volvo.”

Among the multiple service bulletins provided by the company, there are plenty of issues to fix when it comes to the braking system. They discuss brake noises and how to repair them as well as a vibration caused by lockable wheel screws. It seems this automaker can’t figure out how to get the brakes under control for customers. Instead, they continue to pump out SUVs that pose a danger on the road or eat through brakes at unprecedented rates. While no one expects this SUV to brake like an Audi S4 Quattro Tiptronic, it shouldn’t cause problems like those talked about. It also shouldn’t fly through brakes unless they are a cheap quality. No one wants to spend more on brakes over the years than the SUV costs itself, but that’s what it feels like every time brake maintenance is required once again.

Problems with the Fuel System

The 2018 Volvo XC90 is available as a gasoline or hybrid model, but both have their own share of complaints. It seems that whichever option is chosen, there’s nothing reliable about the fuel system.

Just look at what this NHTSA review says, “Check Engine Light came on. Dealership inspected and determined the fuel filler pipe had a leak which was replaced under warranty (23k miles). I was informed this is a common issue with the XC90 and they too were surprised a recall has not been issued.”

The automaker is clearly aware of fuel system problems. Just look at Service Bulletin #TJ 34215.1.0. It discusses how the filler pipe can freeze, making it difficult to refuel. To fix it, the company must replace the fuel door latch that features an upgraded sealing apparatus. Until this issue was repaired, we wonder how many people showed up at the fuel pump only to find out they couldn’t fill the tank. Can’t get fuel into the vehicle – what a great new excuse for missing work.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Volvo pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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