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Dumb Question - When to use 4hi vs 4lo vs Auto4wd?

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Dumb Question - When to use 4hi vs 4lo vs Auto4wd?

Old 12-13-2020, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by muskamoot View Post
4 wheel hi - Use on slippery surfaces where you intend to travel at normal driving speeds.
4 wheel lo - Use when you are on slippery surfaces when you need more low speed throttle response or are trying to pull something or push something.
4 wheel auto- use when driving st speed and encountering hit and miss slippery conditions. This prevents damage that can be caused by driving in 4 wheel hi on dry surfaces (axle wrap aka binding).
Auto has a internal clutch that activates when the wheel speed sensors and the transfer case signals don't jive,telling it one of the wheel sets is slipping.
Solid list here.

My SUV has auto, 4hi and 4lo. It’s pretty amazing how well the new auto systems work. The exchange is so much faster than it was years ago. Almost instant adjustment.

Our rule for any of the roads on our property is when you leave the pavement you have to be in auto or 4 wheel drive. No exceptions. This has really made a difference in keeping the roads in good condition. In the past people would stay in 2WD until they were damn near stuck and switch to 4WD. Made the roads an awful mess.
Old 12-13-2020, 10:24 AM
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Old 12-13-2020, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by c_m_25 View Post
I have always had 2 wd trucks until recently. I bought my first 4wd earlier this year. I get off road occasionally, have been stuck on a boat ramp before, and we get all kinds of crazy weather.

Right now, we’re getting a ton of snow. When do you guys use 4-hi vs 4-low vs auto 4wd??

Auto.....Never.
Hi......Most of the time
Lo....Whenever I need diff-lock; typically when I'm stuck or at the boat ramp.
Old 12-13-2020, 11:17 AM
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One other time when 4LO can save your a$$. If you are descending a steep hill and the roads are icy. Stop at the top of the hill, put it in 4LO, keep it in first or second if your gear selector allows that. You don't want to get rolling to fast and then have to brake going down that hill as even gentle braking may break the tires loose. Once you're sliding the only thing in that truck that you can control is your sphincter.
Old 12-13-2020, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Qb1rdman View Post
Auto.....Never.
Hi......Most of the time
Lo....Whenever I need diff-lock; typically when I'm stuck or at the boat ramp.
Do you really drive around in 4Hi most of the time? On dry roads? What kind of vehicle would it make sense doing that?
Old 12-13-2020, 01:03 PM
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I use 2WD on dry pavement. I switch to 4AWD whenever it starts raining or whenever I leave a paved road. I doubt that I will ever need the 4HI or 4LO. AWD sends power to the wheels that have traction and so far have never had a problem on muddy hunting lease roads or a slippery boat ramp. I personally prefer full time AWD, mileage may suffer a bit, but is just plain safer on anything but dry paved roads.
Old 12-13-2020, 01:07 PM
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I will use auto when around town, 4high when on the beach and 4low when ripping stumps out.


Also remember nearly every 4x4 system disengages at some point I think around 35mph
Old 12-13-2020, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Lorne Greene View Post
..

Also remember nearly every 4x4 system disengages at some point I think around 35mph
This is not true on any 4wd vehicle I've owned (or am aware of). What vehicle do you suggest works this way?
Old 12-13-2020, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ericinmich View Post
Do you really drive around in 4Hi most of the time? On dry roads? What kind of vehicle would it make sense doing that?
LOL.

No, I meant when 2WD doesn't suffice I would do A, B, and C.
Old 12-13-2020, 04:31 PM
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95% of the people that have 4wd will never use it. 99.9% will never need 4 low. Awd will get you home on snow if you drive on pavement. If it gets deep 10 inches or more then full time 4wd or 4 hi. 4 low is torque and will be used for dry conditions when you need strength or to climb. 4 low will get you stuck faster in snow. If your in a ditch and trying to get out 4 high and lock hubs if you have it. Touch your brakes as you try to get out of ditch to slow the torque to let the tires grip. Man I hate snow and ice.
I forgot to mention now how to put your vehicle in the differant modes. Do this before you need it and have kids and spouse know as well.
Old 12-13-2020, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by txj33p View Post
I live in the snow zone. Have had auto 4w drive for 20 years. Most of the winter I drive with it in auto 4w. The sensors detect wheel slippage and kick in the drive to the rest of the wheels. On the boat ramps I use 4hi or low depending on the ramp angle and which boat I am pulling. 4lo is exactly that a lo speed option. I don’t recall getting stuck in the last 20 + years but my driving experience started in the snow and you get a feel for how to go. Speed control is the big factor.
You have AWD which is different than 4WD

Last edited by DavenFla; 12-14-2020 at 05:36 AM. Reason: spelling
Old 12-13-2020, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Lorne Greene View Post
....

Also remember nearly every 4x4 system disengages at some point I think around 35mph
Not accurate at all! Every truck and SUV I’ve owned stayed fully engaged all the time (when activated), including highway speeds. Wouldn’t make sense to come disengaged at speed, would just be dangerous.
Old 12-13-2020, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DavenFla View Post
You have AWD witch is different than 4WD
You and I will have to disagree. The four wheel drive system in the suburban and Escalades are different from the AWD system in the traverse and a Subaru. I have/had all of them. I also had the Lexus and Land Rover systems as well as the traditional 4wd systems in my Ford and Chevy trucks and my Jeep. The traditional systems offer only 2wd or 4 h/lo with either locking hubs or diff lock. The auto system locks and unlocks the front drive based on wheel slippage monitoring.

there is a debate to be had on the power distribution ratios that some argue is the definition of awd v 4wd. I don’t go there as for me it is either 2 wheels with power or 4.

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