If you’re planning to use a 4-wheel-drive SUV on your road trips, the Jeep Wrangler is certainly a great choice. It is an off-roader’s dream car, famous for its versatility and ruggedness on tricky and tough terrains.
As an off-road vehicle, it has superb traction to make sure that it doesn’t get stuck at any point on or off the road. The 4WD option makes the Wrangler a car for all terrains.
Most Wranglers can convert from 2WD and 4WD, which will help if it gets trapped in mud or snow. But how do you put a Jeep Wrangler in 4 wheel drive?
We’ll go through the steps you need to follow to switch your Jeep Wranger to 4WD mode. Plus, we’ll go through important details you need to know when changing drive mode.
But first, it will be good to understand some basic stuff…
Types of 4-wheel drive
The two main types of 4 wheel drive are part-time 4WD and full-time 4WD. Power is sent to all four wheels in a full-time four-wheel-drive vehicle. Some full-time four-wheel drivetrains may allow drivers to select a driving mode to control how power is divided between the front and rear axles.
The part-time 4-wheel drive always powers two of the wheels, usually the rear wheels. When the driver activates it, the drivetrain will also supply power to the other two wheels. Depending on the make and type of the vehicle, a driver must either move a lever or press a button to completely engage four-wheel drive.
How Does 4-Wheel Drive Work?
The primary advantages of 4WD are traction and power. If you’re off-roading or climbing a steep hill, you’ll need more power to go over obstacles and climb steep slopes. While 2WD will get you over the toughest hills, if you’re going off-road, you’ll undoubtedly want the extra power that comes with 4WD.
A 4WD system combines front-wheel drive with rear-wheel drive and is linked to the engine to power all four wheels. This system is made up of a longitudinally positioned engine that sends power to all four wheels via differentials.
A driveshaft connects the engine to these differentials, sending power to the wheels through drive axles. When engaged, the front and rear driveshafts lock together, allowing the axles to move at the same speed.
This design ensures that torque is transmitted to at least one front and back wheel, allowing the vehicle to easily power through uneven terrain or slick situations. This may also explain why 4 wheel drive vehicles can move ahead with one of the tires off the ground.
4WD increases traction in hazardous driving conditions including snow, ice, rocks, and other situations when control is difficult. Traction and control increase when both sets of wheels are engaged.
Basics of a Wrangler 4 Wheel-Drive System
Before you start using the different driving modes of Wrangler’s 4 wheel drive system, it’s best to fully understand first what these are. Wrangler has three different gear positions as well as a neutral setting. Its three gear positions are; 2H1, 4H1, and 4L(4LOW).
2HI is frequently used to activate four-wheel shifters. When it is set to this position, the engine does not send any power to the Jeep’s front wheels. The jeep is powered only by its rear wheels.
If you are stuck in a snowstorm when traveling in 2HI setting, the road will become slick, and you will need some more traction to keep moving at the same highway pace. If this happens, you can activate the 4WD system’s 4HI mode. You use 4HI for high-speed driving on terrain with low traction or on slippery roads. You can activate 4HI not only on snowy/icy roads but also on roads with lots of thick sand and on dirt roads where added grip is required.
4L is used when you need a lot of traction when off-roading. In situations where you need to put maximum power and grip to the four wheels at a slow pace, such as rock crawling, driving through dense mud holes, driving through heavy snow and water crossings, you can switch to the 4L mode.
In 4L mode, the engine provides enough traction and maximum torque to all the wheels at moderate speeds. In a steep downhill, you can use the 4L mode to safely push down the jeep. There is a strong engine braking power in 4L mode. When the jeep is being towed, you can shift the gear to the neutral position.
When to Use 4WD
Four-wheel-drive vehicles perform best when they are operated on a regular basis and maintained in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. If the 4WD system is not used for quite some time, the seals may dry up. Keep the system lubricated by activating it at least once every few months.
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most fuel-efficient Jeeps around, but to conserve as much gas and money as possible, only utilize 4WD when absolutely necessary.
Driving 4WD in moderate, dry weather might harm your front axles, differential gears, and other components.
On dry pavement, always use 2WD. If you get trapped, go to 4WD and gradually depress the gas pedal to get out. Stop before you dig yourself a bigger hole if the wheels start spinning.
How to Switch Gears on a Jeep Wrangler
- The first step is to determine whether or not you need to shift gears. You just need to change gears when the driving conditions change. For example, switching from a smooth concrete road to a rough road may necessitate a gear shift.
- To change gears, first, come to a complete stop in your Jeep. Then, move the gear shift selector to “N” (Neutral) mode. Keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal while going from i4H to 4L / 4L to 4H. You may now change your shift selector to the desired gear position. When you’re finished, return the gear selection to “D” (Drive) and resume driving.
- To change to 4L, press the brake pedal and shift the gear selector to Neutral (N). Then let go of the brake pedal and let the car coast at a lower speed of two or three miles per hour (without applying the gas pedal)
- Move the 4WD selection swiftly from 4H to 4L, without pausing in the Neutral position between the two gears. Return your regular gear selection to Drive (without unduly depressing the gas pedal) and continue diving. Do not go faster than 25 miles per hour.
Changing Between Gears
While the above discussed how to change gears in a Jeep Wrangler, this section discusses how to switch between different 4WD gearing positions.
From 2h to 4h and Vice Versa
Shifting between these gearing positions is only feasible while your Jeep is moving or stationary. While your Jeep is in motion, the transfer case will likely engage or disengage faster if you let go of the accelerator pedal after switching. It is advised that you use consistent force when changing the transfer case lever.
From 4h to 4l and Vice Versa
If you need the most traction, set your Wrangler to 4 low. Begin by slowing your car to 2-3 mph. Shift to neutral when your Jeep is coasting and gently but firmly pull the lever back. Put your Jeep back into drive, and you’re ready to go. However, if the pavement is damp, slippery, or loose, you must use 4WD.
Pull the lever without halting in the “N” position between the two gears. Return to the regular gear selector and keep on driving.
Guide for Manual Jeep Vehicles
All of the steps apply to the manual jeep as well as shifting from 2H to 4HI. However, whether or not you stop or remain in motion, you must push the clutch pedal while switching the lever from any of the settings like 2HI to 4HI. After shifting, let go of the clutch pedal gently. It is the most secure and straightforward method of moving.
From 4h To 4l And Vice Versa
If you’re traveling at a faster speed, you’ll need to slow down to a crawl. The suggested speed for this shifting is 2 – 3 mph (3 – 5 km/ph). If you’re driving a manual Jeep, place the automatic gearbox lever in neutral (N) or push the clutch pedal. Then, without halting the lever in the neutral position which is between the 2HI and 4HI, shift the transfer case lever firmly from 4HI setting to 2HI. Next, place the gear selector in Drive or let go of the clutch if you drive a manual Jeep Wrangler.
To switch from 2HI mode to 4HI, you must follow the same procedure as described before. In 4L, do not exceed 25 mph. If you wish to drive quickly, return to 4HI or 2HI. Don’t try to get from 2HI mode to 4L in a straight line. To begin, change from 2HI setting to 4HI. The next step is to move to 4L with the transfer case and neutralize the vehicle’s transmission. The same procedure applies when switching from 4L to 2H.
A Step-by-Step Guide
- Determine if you need to use 4H or 4L. (high or low). 4H is designated for mild slick or loose road conditions. 4L is recommended for extremely slick or loose road conditions. 4L gives additional traction, however, it should not be utilized at speeds above 25 miles per hour.
- Stop your vehicle and move the gear shift selector to the “N” position (Neutral). Maintain your foot on the brake pedal. Next, move your 4WD shift selector all the way down to 4H. (from 2H). Continue driving by returning the gear selection to “D” (Drive).
Apply the brake pedal and shift to 4L by sliding the gear selector to “N.” (Neutral). Allow the Jeep to coast (without applying the gas pedal) at a low speed, preferably 2 to 3 miles per hour.
Change the 4WD selection quickly from 4H to 4L, without hesitating in the “N” position between the two gears. Return your regular gear selection to Drive (D) and keep driving. Don’t hit the gas pedal excessively, and don’t exceed the 25-miles-per-hour limit.
How to Disable 4-wheel Drive
In most cases, switching from 4 wheel drive to 2 wheel drive is as simple as pressing the clutch. However, this only works in manual vehicles. This involves sliding the shifting lever firmly from 4HI setting to 2HI on the go, and then letting go of the clutch pedal gently. If you have an automatic jeep, simply release the gas pedal and firmly press the gear lever from 4HI to 2HI.
You might also want to know how fast you can drive in 4WD.