These days, we often see vehicle manufacturers offering vehicles that are 4WD. 4WD stands for 4 Wheel Drive. Technically, these are vehicles that allow the torque produced by the engine to be received by all 4 wheels. Among the many different kinds of wheel drivetrains, this is the one that is able to provide the most torque to all wheels and hence mostly seen in off road vehicles.
4L, 4H, and 2H are transfer case settings. The transfer case is the machine that gets power from the transmission system and is responsible for distributing this power to the vehicle’s axles. 4L means low range 4WD transfer case setting. 4H is the high range 4WD transfer case setting. 2H, lastly, means 2 wheel drive high range transfer case setting.
To better understand the difference between 4L, 4H, and 2H, let us discuss when they are best used.
4L is best used on slippery surfaces. This means that they are used in wet zones and sandy areas. Obviously, it is best to use the 4L setting when running through mud too. They are best used in shallow waters and in steep hills. Simply put, the 4L setting is used if you need to creep along in slow speed. This specific transfer case setting doesn’t provide a lot of traction to the vehicle, but more than twice the torque.
You are probably wondering what the difference is between torque and traction. Well, here we go. Torque, simply put, is the turning force that’s delivered by the engine. Big engines deliver more torque and vice versa. Traction on the other hand, is about the friction between the car’s wheels and the road surface. More friction means more traction and so on.
To help you understand the difference between the two, let’s consider a situation where two vehicles are receiving a new set of tyres each. One is a 4200cc SUV and the other one is a 1000cc hatchback. Assuming that the old set of tyres is equally worn out in each of the two vehicles, the drivers will get almost the same amount of traction. However, the torque is different and it depends on the engine output. Each car has an engine with a different capacity hence the difference in torque delivered to the wheels. Torque varies when you shift gears; traction depends on the surface and the tyres.
4H, on the other hand, is the setting you need to use when you are running your vehicle in high speeds. In other words, it is best to use the 4H setting when you are in snow or ice, slipper conditions, extremely muddy areas, and the like. Also, it is best to use the 4H setting when you need a lot of traction in areas that are not steep. It is likewise important that you are aware that using 4H in areas that are not slick will cause a lot of wear to your tires.
Lastly, we have 2H. 2H is the transfer case setting that you will use on normal occasions. In other words, this is the transfer case setting that is best used in ordinary days when you are not off road. In this setting, the 2 rear wheels are engaged on the high end gear of the transfer case. Since this is the setting best used for driving around, you are sure that your tires will not get worn out as fast as they would with the other two settings.
Generally, if you have a 4WD vehicle there will be a lot for you to know. Having an off road vehicle can indeed be lots of fun as it will allow you to go places and enjoy driving at the same time. If you are the adventurous type of person, a 4WD is surely for you. But of course, you must make sure that you are well aware of the many different things you can do with your vehicle and be able to use it at its utmost best – no matter where you are or what you plan to do.