(Antfer) #1

5


Cars &
Trucks
// B Y E Z R A D Y E R //

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If you have a 4WD vehicle with knobs
or buttons that let you choose between
two- and four-wheel drive, and you’re
on a normal road, use 4WD Auto. Both
2WD and 4WD Auto are fine for dry
pavement. The only advantage of run-
ning in 2WD would be some marginal
fuel-economy benefit, or saving wear on
the front-drive system. But if it starts
raining, already being in 4WD Auto
means that extra traction will be there
to save you, before you remember that
you might need it.

If you’re in mud, sand,
or snow, even if you
have four-wheel drive,
electronic stability
control (ESC) might
actually get you stuck.
That’s because the
system is designed to
cut power to any tires
that are spinning—

which, in this case,
will be all of them—so
you grind to a halt. But
off-road, wheel spin
is good, because it
helps preserve forward
momentum. To turn off
ESC, find the button
with squiggly lines, and
hold it down for at least

five seconds, until you
get visual confirmation
that the whole thing
is off. Some cars, like
Volvos, might not have
a dedicated button, but
it's in there some-
where—even if it’s
buried five menus deep
in the touch screen.

BEFORE


YOU GO


OFF-ROAD


4WD AUTO

W


ITH CROSSOVERS AND SUVS
supplanting sedans as the default
choice for everyday transporta-
tion, it’s common for any given
vehicle to sport four- or all-wheel
drive (4WD and AWD). Most new
models have fully automatic AWD
systems that will detect wheel slip and automati-
cally divert power to the wheels with traction, no
driver involvement required. But in most trucks
and some SUVs with 4WD, there w ill be at least t wo
drive configurations you can choose from to max-
imize your vehicle’s capability in a given situation.
If you drive an SUV with an off-road bent, like a
Toyota Land Cruiser, you have even more choices—
high range, low range, locked or unlocked center
differential. It gets complicated quickly.
But let’s begin with the biggest topic of confu-
sion: 4WD versus AWD. With AWD, there’s a center
differential that allows the front and rear tires to
rotate at different speeds. For commuting to work
in three inches of sleet, AWD will keep you safe.
Driving on something trickier than a snow y path?
You’ll want 4WD, to eliminate slip in the system
front-to-rear. If you’re ready to find out what your
4WD system can do, start here.

How to Use


Your 4WD


System