Whether your’e trying to get traction on slick pavement, or getting through the thick sand of Peter’s Point, 4WD will help you and your vehicle keep moving forward. The question that arises is what mode do you use for certain situations?

Let’s go ahead and get into it so we can distinguish the differences.


Four-High (4H): When you’re vehicle is engaged in the high-range 4WD setting, you can travel at normal speeds. This mode’s main purpose is to provide you’re vehicle with extra traction compared to the default 2WD. This can be used when the roads are wet, iced, and snowy. We don’t have to worry about this much here in Florida, but it can also be used for loose-gravel roads, pack sand, and mud.

Four-Low (4L): The low-range 4WD setting is called upon when you are in more serious terrain. This can include deep sand, mud, snow, crossing water, and conquering large inclines and declines. When your vehicle is engaged in 4L, you should always keep your speeds under 40 MPH. This was designed for maximum power and traction, but the wheels spin more slowly in this mode.

Automatic Four-Wheel Drive (AWD): This is a modern convenience that you see on many vehicles nowadays that allows you to “set it and forget it”. What this means is that the vehicle monitors tire traction while in 2WD and automatically shifts into 4WD when one of the tires begins to slip. Use this setting when you are on roads that could lessen the traction of your vehicle such as iced or wet roads.

Remember: Never drive around in 4WD when you don’t have to because it can seriously damage your drivetrain. When switching from 2WD to 4WD, remember to stop in neutral, switch to your desired mode, then wait until you see the indicator light pop up.