Vehicles that offer 4WD, or four-wheel-drive, are very good for snowy roads or when driving on soft dirt, as this means that all four wheels are working to push the vehicle forward. Typically these vehicles allow you to shift into 4WD on your own while the car is moving, and you can usually tell when the 4WD is working, as the vehicle changes gears. If you notice problems with the 4WD or with your vehicle in general, you might note a few common troubleshooting tips before taking it to your local mechanic. Even if you cannot fix the problem yourself, you may know what to expect once your mechanic looks under the hood.
1. The vehicle shudders and is hard to turn
A 4WD vehicle is meant to be driven in snow or on soft dirt, not on concrete and dry roads. If you're driving your vehicle on standard, dry roads and you notice that it shudders and is hard to turn, this may mean that the 4WD is engaged. Check your dashboard switch and see if you accidentally left it in 4WD, or ask your mechanic to note if the 4WD hubs are stuck and your vehicle cannot get out of its 4WD mode.
2. The 4WD doesn't engage
This could be any number of problems, but the first thing to check is your car's fuse box. Note in the owner's manual where this is located and then see if the car blew a fuse. Your 4WD system works through an electrical system, and if a fuse is blown, it cannot engage. You can easily replace this fuse on your own.
The hubs on the front wheels may need to be replaced if the fuse is not the problem. These hubs are part of the drive train and connect the front wheels to the shaft. If the hubs do not lock when you turn on the 4WD system, the front wheels won't spin as they should.
3. The 4WD shifts out of gear on its own
Typically a 4WD vehicle allows you to change from low to high gears, but if the vehicles shifts on its own, this often means that the transfer fork needs to be replaced. This fork is what enables you to shift the vehicle from 4WD and back, and between high and low gears when the 4WD is engaged. When the transfer fork is broken or otherwise worn, the vehicle may shift out of gear on its own.
For more information, contact a local auto shop like All Care Car Services.
I've always driven used cars, and when I first started driving, I made some costly decisions and bought a couple of cars that just weren't worth the money I spent on them. I knew I needed to learn how to inspect a car's engine and how to spot warning signs when I was buying a used car, so I started reading everything I could find on the topic, including basic car mechanics and maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned over the years, and I hope my tips will prevent other new drivers buying used cars that will drain their wallet and sap the enjoyment out of driving. I hope you find my posts informative and useful.