A quick glance over our lineup at McNeill Nissan reveals quite the menagerie of 4×4 vehicles. From the all-out muscle of the Titan to the more functional charms of the Pathfinder, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of the truck world. However, one question bewilders even us sometimes: what is the difference between 4×4 high and low? Here’s what you should know.
The Difference between 4×4 High and Low
First, a few words on 4-wheel drive. Many of us assume the goal of 4WD is just to consume gas and feel tough. In actuality, the goal of 4WD is to get more traction when traction is hard to come by, such as when you’re driving on snow, mud, or up a steep incline. Roads that are uneven or have surfaces that aren’t paved also present an opportunity to use 4WD.
Most 4WD systems are further separated into “high” and “low” settings, and might also have an “auto” default setting. Thus, it’s important to know when to use the different settings, since they are called for in different situations.
When to use “High”
As a general rule, the “high” setting should be used if you’re traveling at a speed over 15 mph. If you’re driving at near-highway speeds and simply want to add more traction, “high” is the setting you want. However, you still shouldn’t drive over 55 mph in any 4-wheel setting, since this can potentially cause damage to your transfer case.
Read More: How to Avoid Hitting a Deer
When to use “Low”
4WD Low is generally a more torquey setting, so you’ll want to use this when you’re trying to generate a more secure, robust performance profile. If you’re driving under 15 mph and are trying to get out of a sticky spot, if you’re driving on an extremely slippery surface, if you’re trying to make a steep climb, or if you’re going through thick mud, sand or water — all great times to use 4×4 Low. Then, if you’re about to go over 15 mph, you can seamlessly switch into 4×4 High in any of Nissan’s many truck or SUV models.
We hope that this clears up any questions you might have regarding 4×4 settings, and that you’ll come see us at McNeill Nissan for any of your 4×4 needs!