Winter Weather and Four-Wheel Drive

SUV driving off-roadAs rain and snow continue to fall across the country, we are all shifting our vehicles into four-wheel drive. But new drivers and first-time owners of trucks and SUVs are probably wondering the same question:

When should you engage four-wheel drive?

The goal of four-wheel drive is to improve traction on slick pavement, in snow and while traversing off-road. And while most of us know the purpose of four-wheel drive, many drivers are unsure of when each mode should be used. With four-high, four-low and automatic four-wheel drive to choose from, which is right for the situation you are in?


The most commonly used four-wheel drive setting, four-high allows you to drive at normal speeds on roads covered in snow and ice, as well as on loose gravel and terrain that is easy to maneuver. Four-high provides improved traction, reducing the amount your wheels will slip and slide as you travel to your destination.


Used in the most serious off-road conditions – to get through deep snow and cross water – four-low should not be used when traveling more than 40 mph. Instead of providing you better traction like four-high does, four-low creates the extra torque needed to get through difficult terrain.

Also used for towing purposes, four-low will allow your vehicle to slip a bit more than four-high does and should only be used at appropriate speeds.

Automatic Four-Wheel Drive

A great option for drivers who are unsure of when they need to put their vehicle into four-wheel drive, automatic four-wheel drive will do the thinking for you, monitoring tire traction and transitioning to four-wheel drive if you start to slip. Great for combating icy patches on the roads, you can use automatic four-wheel drive throughout the winter to keep your vehicle moving smoothly.

To ensure your vehicle maintains its new appearance throughout its first winter, consider PermaPlate protection products. With tire protection, windshield protection and more, your vehicle will be up for anything your four-wheel drive can get you into – or out of!

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