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Old 06-03-2010, 10:34 AM
369 posts, read 839,819 times
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Originally Posted by mechenic View Post
unless the road is fully covered by the snow or ice, you are NOT supposed to use 4WD, correct?
It depends. Most of the systems largely break down into two camps.

One is Real Time AWD, which is where the car in normal driving routes most of the power to the rear or front axle. When the drive train detects wheel slippage, it routes power to the wheels that are not slipping. This system is available at all times for these cars. Most regular cars and crossover SUVs use this.

The other camp is 4WD, which is when the car for normal driving is 2 wheel drive, and then you manually shift the power to all four wheels when needed. 4WD is better for offroading and usually shouldn't be run on dry roads or over a certain speed. Most vehicles geared for off road use this.

I would not recommend getting an SUV without either AWD or 4WD. You don't want a top heavy 2WD SUV in snow and ice, and the resell value would be very low (because nobody wants a top heavy 2WD SUV in snow and ice). If you have no offroad needs, then don't get manual 4WD, as those drivetrains are bigger, heavier, and eat up gas.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:23 AM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Stay away from rear wheel drive at least.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cowboyxjon View Post
Generally, yes, but it depends on the type of 4WD system available in the vehicle. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, for instance, offers the option of "full-time" 4WD, which means that when engaged, it can be used on all surfaces, including pavement, so it would be fine to use it when the roads are slick in spots, but not fully snow-covered. I don't know if the 4-runner has a similar system.
That's how the 4Runner works. I can drive around all day long in 4WD on hard, dry, pavement w/o any harm. It has a limited-slip center differential and defaults to a 60/40 rear/front power distribution but that ratio will automatically change based on road conditions. The limit slip center ensures that at least some power gets to each axle at all times. The center differential can be manually locked (push a button on the console) when needed. That's the mode that you only want to use on soft, lose, or very slick roads or damage will occur.
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