I have recently purchased a 2006 Volvo S60 T5 with 136,xxx miles. Like many mid-2000s Volvo's with the AW-55 transmission, it has succumbed to shift flares at 1-2 and 2-3. It is light but I would like to be control the damage. I have still yet to replace the transmission fluid or check to see if the latest software update has been applied, so these things may alleviate the problem. I have however discovered that the vehicle has a Winter mode option that starts the transmission in 3rd gear, which avoids the shifts from 1-2 and 2-3 and is much smoother. Other than slowing acceleration and hurting fuel economy, can any damage be done by constantly using this Winter mode? (I am still planning on having the other services done)
can any damage be done by constantly using this Winter mode?
No. If your transmission is in otherwise reasonable shape, the W mode will not hurt it any more: yes, all that it does is to change the shift points, get rid of most downshifts, and take off in a 2nd or 3rd gear (that depends on temperature, when it's super cold it'll use 2nd gear on some models).