Kick it into 4X4! 4-wheel drive is a vehicle feature that is especially helpful during the winter months, and while driving on unpaved roads. It is the capability of a vehicle to provide torque to all four tires at the same time. This contrasts with rear-wheel drive, for example, where only the rear wheels are powered. There are times when 4WD is useful and times when you should not use it. It is crucial to know the difference, as it may negatively impact your vehicle if used incorrectly. Here are a few situations where you would want to put your 4X4 to good use and when you should avoid using it.
First, you should understand when you shouldn't use 4WD. It is unnecessary any time you're driving on flat, dry roads. In fact, doing so can damage your drivetrain. Instead, stick to using it during inclement weather. 4-wheel drive is especially useful during winter when there is ice, snow, and sleet on the roads.
When it comes to 4WD, there are different settings. Four-high, and four-low. Four-high is most useful when driving on rougher terrain maid of loose gravel, mud, or sand. When facing serious snow or mud, deep sand, or even crossing water/climbing rocks at low speeds, four-low will serve you best. Imagine commercials where people drive their vehicles off-road. While tread remains the same, there is more power behind the wheels.
Many vehicles have automatic four-wheel drive or AWD. Drivers don't need to manually set 4WD because AWD detects traction of your tires, such as when it's slippery in Winter, and shifts into 4WD if they are slipping. All-time AWD works all the time but doesn't have the same torque as four-low. For many people, AWD is all they need. However, it's important that you still drive reasonably as it cannot improve traction. This means slowing down in inclement weather. For that same reason, you should ensure that your tires have proper tread for the road conditions.
As you can see, 4-wheel drive has more to understand that one may think. Whether you are driving home on a snowy day from work or off-roading in the mountains, it is important to recognize when you should be using this feature and how to use it. For more information, or to have your 4-wheel drive serviced, reach out the experts at Melloy Dodge!