Understanding Four-Wheel Drive

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When we are driving a 4×4 vehicle most of the time we drive it like it’s a two-wheel drive vehicle and don’t give that lever or knob a moment’s thought. Then one day we find ourselves on a slick surface and hear that tire start to spin. We press the gas and go nowhere. Yikes. Time to use that option we purchased for peace-of-mind but hardly ever use. The question is do you use the one marked 2H, 4H or 4L? What do those even mean? In this month’s post, we will answer both of these questions.

Below is a schematic we will reference with the basic parts of a four-wheeled drivetrain.

drivetrain

Power from the engine is sent through the transmission to the transfer case. When the vehicle is operated in two-wheel drive the transfer case is virtually invisible to the operation of the vehicle. The power continues down the rear drive shaft to power the rear wheels. This is how our vehicle runs when 2H is selected during our normal day to day driving. The H refers to the high gear in the transfer case. When we find ourselves on a slick surface such as snow or mud, now is the time to switch to 4H. This keeps the transfer case in high gear and also sends power down the front drive shaft to the front differential that powers the front wheels and helps us get moving again. As a general rule of thumb, don’t drive faster than 35-40 mph when in 4H to protect the transfer case. Four-wheel drive low (4L), is the last selection that we have to look at. This is used on steep inclines or deep mud. The gear ratio is very low in this setting which gives you maximum power but very low speeds. In this

Four-wheel drive low (4L), is the last selection that we have to look at. This is used on steep inclines or deep mud. The gear ratio is very low in this setting which gives you maximum power but very low speeds. In this setting, we want to keep our speeds below 15 mph. Another use for the low setting is for steep declines at slow speeds. This causes the engine to slow the vehicle without engaging the brakes the whole way down. So there is a look at the basics of your four-wheel drive settings. As always consult your owner’s manual for specifics about your vehicle and always feel free to ask us about it your particular vehicle. We’re always here to help you operate it as efficiently and as safely as possible!

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Crumplers Automotive Inc. is a full-service preventive maintenance and auto repairs center in the Stedman, NC 28391 area, specializing in General Services, Car & Truck Care, Undercar Services, Brakes, Engine & Transmission, Engine Maintenance, Transmission Services, Heating and Cooling Services, Electrical Services, Electronic Services, Miscellaneous Services, Towing, Counter Services, Hoses, Batteries and Machine Shop since 1970.

Our experts have the knowledge to service and repair even the most challenging auto problems on all makes and models of domestic and import vehicles. We use the latest technology to assess the situation and offer you alternatives. We guarantee all of our work and know you’ll be happy with the outcome.

Stop in or give us a call at (910) 483-2958 to let us know how we can help you!

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Crumpler’s Automotive

7611 Clinton Road, Stedman, NC

(910) 483-2958

www.crumplersautomotive.com

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