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4 Hi or 4 Lo - SUV Driving Modes - What are they for?

Snapshot: An SUV comes with driving modes like 4 Hi, 4 Lo, 2 Hi etc. What are they for and what happens when you engage them, the article explains that briefly.

Most entry-level SUVs or should be call them by the name we know them more commonly by, compact SUV? Nothing changes though by whatever name we use for them. They remain what they are pseudo SUVs. We have nothing against them, infact we like some them even more than we do some of the true blue SUVs, we like them for their sheer affordability and what they offer as a package.

However, there is something that they miss out, and it’s something if found amiss on SUVs that are supposed to do real off-roading would be a blunder. We are taking about the various driving modes that give an SUV their go-anywhere capability. What goes without saying is that all SUVs have to have a four wheel drive system that works along with these modes.

You should know that different cars manufacturers use different transmission systems and call them by different names. There are however four main types - Full time 4 WD and Part time 4 WD are most common. In addition, there are other two systems known as full time AWD and automatic AWD. There are however settings, and if available, work in the same manner in case of all these cars. In this article we discuss the various driving modes and what they offer.

Read - Four Wheel Drive - How many types are there?

4 Hi

The modes that you change using a lever or buttons in your car, actually changes the gearing in your transfer case. In case of four wheel drive system, the engine power first goes to the transfer case and from there to the front and rear axles. In case of 4 Hi, the transfer case splits the power between the front and rear axles and four wheels are driven. The mode is useful in case you are driving on light snow, loose mud, gravel or any other slippery conditions etc. The mode should not be used while driving on hard surfaces in case of part time four wheel drive systems.

4 Lo

In case of 4 Lo the power is sent to all four wheels, however the difference is in the amount of torque that’s available at each wheel. The high torque available at each wheel can be used in tricky situation like deep snow, steep hill climbing, deep mud or any situation that demands more torque and effort. The mode is not to be used for high speed regular use. The mode is disappearing fast from many SUVs and cars with Full time AWD does not even offer this mode.

2 Hi

It’s basically the normal driving mode in case of a part time full wheel drive car. In this mode only the rear two wheels of the car are driven for optimum fuel efficiency. It’s the mode that you would use in everyday and ordinary conditions while driving on hard pavement. You would not find this mode in case of full time 4WD cars.

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