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What (Exactly) Does Four Wheel Drive Mean?

The Meaning of 4x4 vs 4x2


  • The first digit refers to the number of wheels.
  • The second digit refers to the number of driven wheels.
    • 4x4 (four by four):
      A vehicle with four wheels that's powered by four wheels (4WD)
    • 4x2 (four by two):
      A vehicle with four wheels that's powered by two wheels (2WD)

Today's vehicles offer a number of different drive train systems designed to help out in slippery conditions. For example, a four-wheel drive vehicle may come equipped with "Full-time 4WD", "Part-time 4WD", or "Automatic 4WD".

Here's what you should know about each, and when you should actually drive in 4WD mode.

Types of 4WD Systems

When to Use 4WD

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  5. Tips For New 4WD/4x4 Owners
  6. What Does 4WD Mean? Types of Four Wheel Drive Systems - When To Use 4WD Off Road

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