WHEN TO USE 4 WHEEL DRIVE
Now that you actually have a 4x4 vehicle, here is a very basic guide for when and where to use it. It should also be noted that you do need to familiarize yourself with your specific vehicle and the various control that involve 4 wheel drive. Every Vehicle is slightly different, and the controls vary from simple push button and dials to gear shift levers. Some vehicles have a central differential lock and some have a differential locking feature.
Dont wait until you are stuck or need 4 wheel drive to find out. At the very least, have the salesperson from the dealership you bought your 4x4 from walk you through the various controls.
When To Use 4WD:
The gearing options found in 4WD vehicles help a vehicle tackle many of the unique situations encountered while driving off-road. Following are a variety of conditions in which you would want to use 4WD to avoid sliding or spinning:
Hi Range 4WD
4H allows you to drive full speed, if necessary. The high range ratios in 4WD mode are the same as the gear ratios in 2WD.
When to use 4H:
for traction when the area isn't steep
when stuck in sand
extremely slippery conditions
rocky, gravel roads
extremely muddy areas
Low Range 4WD
4L is for creeping along at slow speeds. It reduces the strain on your vehicle, just remember to stay below 25mph in low range. While it does not provide more traction, it does provide 2-3 times more torque at about 1/2 or 1/3 of the speeds in high range. Low range gear ratios are approximately half that of high range.
When to use 4L:
on wet, slippery surfaces
passing through sandy areas
on rough trails
through shallow water
climbing steep hills
descending steep hills
-Don't change gears in the middle of a water crossing, going up or down hills, or in sand dunes.
-Be prepared: Engage low-range 4WD before you need it.
-Don't operate 4WD on hard dry surfaces.
-When in doubt, use a lower gear!