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Volvo XC90 Repair Question


We have a 2004 Volvo XC-90 with 82,000 miles on it. At the last scheduled maintenance, the dealer came up with a giant laundry list of expensive repairs even though there is absolutely no evidence of any problems with it.

Here is what they told us:

  • Exhaust leak from rear muffler – Need “cat”? back system
  • Engine low on oil, ventbox clogged – most likely need oil pan removed
  • Rear Diff leaking - will need to remove & reseal
  • Transmission pan leaking - need to remove pan and reseal

Does anyone have any ideas about these specific items?

Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a good repair service in the Wellesley/Newton, MA area that would be reasonably priced, competent and honest? I thought I’d ask the community.

Thanks in advance!


If you want a car that you don’t have to spend too much money on then the Volvo XC-90 is a desperately poor choice. Maybe what you really want to do right now is trade it in on something much more sensible and easier and cheaper to care for.

No one here can tell you anything about these things because we can’t inspect the car. So you do just want another opinion. I can say that removing a transmission pan & installing a new gasket is not something that should end up being thought of as a “repair.” About every 30K or so, the transmission pan should be removed & the filter replaced.

There is a place on this site called the “Mechanics Files.” Look for the link at the top of the page. You can put in your zipcode and find reviews that various random people have left about mechanics in your area. By far the best way to find a good local mechanic is to just start asking around among anyone and everyone that you know.

Also, ask everyone you know if they can recommend a competent, honest garage. Eventually you will have a short list with multiple recommendations.

  1. A “catback” system means the entire exhaust system from the catalytic converter(s) back. i’d want to see the leak before assuming anything. And if it’s at the muffler seam edge it may be a normal weephole, so be wary.

I don’t know what a “ventbox” is, but if it’s in the oil pan I’d want to know how he determined that it’s clogged.

I’d want to see this. Since differential fluid levels are checked by removing the plug and sticking one’s finger in the hole, it’s not unusual to see a trace drip of oil below bung plugs.

I’m not buyin’ the transpan thing. That should be done anyway when the tranny is serviced, and (again) traces of fluid aren’t unusual under an old pan. Monitor your tranny fluid per the owners’ manual, but I’m not buying this.

Exhuast leak, you can either patch it or replace the entire system, but this is not usually necessary for these cars. Clogged PCV system is common on these cars, but it’s not usually a cause of low oil.You don’t need to remove the pan to clean it, but you do need to remove just about everything else, lol. Gasket leaks on various parts are also common. Depending on how bad they are you can either live with it and keep topping up the oil or remove the offending item and reseal it. Anywhere other than the dealer is likely to be cheaper, the Volvo dealer will charge you $600 just for booking your car in for service.