What is the exact function of the Winter and Wet 'W' feature on the gear shift box?


Asked by Jul 26, 2007 at 07:23 AM about the 2004 Volvo S80 2.5T AWD

Question type: General

As this is an AWD vehicle, I am not clear on what occurs when the 'W' button is pushed? There is no explanation in the manual, other than you use this when driving in wet and winter conditions. I'd like to understand what the function truly is, so that I can determine when it is best to invoke.

7 Answers


The 'W' stands for 'Wet'. This can be used when you are on rainy roads. It mainly helps when you are in a stopped position such as a red light. When you are in the 'W'mode the transmission is adjusted so that when you are accelerating from a stopped position you do not spin your wheels. In essence it starts you off at a higher gear with less torque on the tires.

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

It starts you off in second gear to reduce power to the wheels to prevent them from spinning.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Jonathan Ashley

The wetmode also controls throttle input and torque converter slip. Im not sure if on the AWD models it does anything to the transfer case. Also uses the brakes to control slip to e/wheel individually

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

I have wondered about this myself. I have had the "W" feature on a number of S70s & XC70's I have driven extensively. It definitely has a positive effect on slow speed winter driving and maneuvering. One thing I would add to the previous explanations is that when engaged the "W" button SEEMS to limit the range of the accelerator pedal so you can't over-rev the engine and spin the tires so easily. In other words in non-W operation the gas pedal will allow the engine to go to full-throttle for the full travel distance of the gas pedal, but in "W" it allows the engine to only go to say 25% of full-throttle for the full travel of the pedal- which is exactly what you want to do on snow, ice or slippery roads. I.e. Go real easy on the gas pedal, sudden accelerations tend to break the wheels loose from the roadway. This is a simple thing to do in an electronic throttle control system as is used on these cars. In older mechanically linked throttle mechanisms, changing the effective pedal travel would have been much more complex to implement.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

Thank you for the answer. We have a 2002 volvo and the W button is screwing up. Is there any way that we can deactivate it as we don't need winter driving.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

The W actually stands for winter, and starts the vehicle off in 3rd gear, sending less torque to the tires to control spinning.


And I would not recommend using in rain as it is not needed. It is intended for ice and snow and does work the torque converter a little harder so no use in using it unless you need to.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions


Looking for a Used S80 in your area?

CarGurus has 1,258 nationwide S80 listings starting at $2,500.


Search Volvo S80 Questions

Volvo S80 Experts

#1 Joneser
Reputation 220
#1 FordNut
Reputation 220
#3 John Leone
John Leone
Reputation 130
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Volvo S60"
115 Great Deals out of 6,923 listings starting at $1,500
Used Volvo XC90"
124 Great Deals out of 6,098 listings starting at $1,095
Used BMW 5 Series"
675 Great Deals out of 18,822 listings starting at $1,500
Used Volvo S40"
40 Great Deals out of 1,335 listings starting at $1,900
Used Volvo XC70"
80 Great Deals out of 2,109 listings starting at $995
Used Honda Accord"
1,272 Great Deals out of 77,636 listings starting at $1,395
Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class"
781 Great Deals out of 22,551 listings starting at $1,850
Used BMW 3 Series"
1,627 Great Deals out of 39,404 listings starting at $888
Used Volvo C70"
34 Great Deals out of 640 listings starting at $2,499
Used Audi A6"
153 Great Deals out of 6,667 listings starting at $1,995
Used Acura TL"
292 Great Deals out of 6,940 listings starting at $2,395
Used Audi A4"
318 Great Deals out of 12,956 listings starting at $1,500
Used Toyota Camry"
1,664 Great Deals out of 98,104 listings starting at $895

Used Cars For Sale

2016 Volvo S80 For Sale
5 Great Deals out of 192 listings starting at $27,994
2015 Volvo S80 For Sale
72 listings starting at $24,990
2014 Volvo S80 For Sale
21 listings starting at $16,999
2013 Volvo S80 For Sale
6 Great Deals out of 41 listings starting at $15,950
2012 Volvo S80 For Sale
4 Great Deals out of 50 listings starting at $12,910