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When To Use 4WD

Tips & Advice For Using High-Range vs Low-Range


The gearing options found in 4WD vehicles help a vehicle tackle many of the unique situations encountered while driving off-road. Following are a variety of conditions in which you would want to use 4WD to avoid sliding or spinning:

Hi Range 4WD

4H allows you to drive full speed, if necessary. The high range ratios in 4WD mode are the same as the gear ratios in 2WD.

When to use 4H:
  • for traction when the area isn't steep
  • when stuck in sand
  • extremely slippery conditions
  • snow
  • ice
  • rocky, gravel roads
  • gullies
  • extremely muddy areas
  • ridges

Low Range 4WD

4L is for creeping along at slow speeds. It reduces the strain on your vehicle, just remember to stay below 25mph in low range. While it does not provide more traction, it does provide 2-3 times more torque at about 1/2 or 1/3 of the speeds in high range. Low range gear ratios are approximately half that of high range.

When to use 4L:
  • on wet, slippery surfaces
  • passing through sandy areas
  • on rough trails
  • through shallow water
  • rock-climbing
  • climbing steep hills
  • through mud
  • descending steep hills

Additional Tips:

-Don't change gears in the middle of a water crossing, going up or down hills, or in sand dunes.

-Be prepared: Engage low-range 4WD before you need it.

-Don't operate 4WD on hard dry surfaces.

-When in doubt, use a lower gear!
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