4x4: To Go Full-Time 4x4 Or Not to Go Full-Time? | Jeep Canada

4X4: TO GO FULL-TIME 4X4 OR NOT TO GO FULL-TIME?

2021-03-03
For decades, Jeep vehicles have been known as some of the most capable sport-utility vehicles you can buy. Their tall ride height, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles, short overhangs for great approach and departure angles and their short, maneuverable wheelbases all combined to help carry the torch for off-roaders everywhere ever since the Willys MB in the ‘40s.
And of course, there was their 4x4 system – or should we say, 4x4 “systems” because there has been and continues to be a wide variety of these systems available in Jeep vehicles. But, before there’s any point in considering the differences between Quadra-Trac I and Quadra-Drive II, the first choice you need to consider if you’re looking at a Jeep is whether a full-time or part-time 4x4 system best suits your needs.
A 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk parked on a dirt trail in the forest

Advantages of a Full-Time 4x4 System

Let’s start with full-time all-wheel drive because contrary to what you may think, the better use case for a full-time 4x4 system is actually in vehicles that are going to be used as daily drivers more so than weekend trail adventures.
With a full-time AWD system – such as Jeep’s Active Drive I system found on the Cherokee or the Selec-Trac 4x4 system found on the Jeep Wrangler – the vehicle can switch from between FWD and 4x4 automatically if it starts to sense slip, and send power to the wheels with the most traction. Systems like this come in handy when on the highway when weather systems quickly become adverse, because it’s not on the driver to engage the rear wheels, but the system itself. This helps save fuel when cruising as power isn’t always being sent to all four wheels, which would result in more fuel usage.

For Those Looking for a More Hardcore 4WD system, a Part-Time system may be the Better Choice

With part time systems – such as the Command-Trac 4x4 system found on the 2021 Jeep Gladiator – it’s on the driver to engage all four wheels through a transfer case. When done, the front and rear axles get locked for maximum traction over adverse terrain. Command-Trac also offers a 2.72:1 low range setting, so your ability to climb the steepest, loosest terrain is improved yet again.
A 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon driving on boulders up a hill
You’ll want to avoid using locked differentials on paved roads, however. For one, it costs you fuel but it can also cause unneeded stress on your axles and drivetrain. Why? When your differentials are locked, the same amount of power is sent to each wheel, meaning they’re all spinning at the same rate. When you’re on a soft road surface with slip it’s not too much of a problem but as soon as you get on dry roads and wheels are gripping, they effectively have to fight each other as you round bends. When that happens, the tires can start to hop causing stress both on them and other parts of the drivetrain. Not to mention that at lower speeds in tight areas, having your axles locked will increase your turning radius, artificially lengthening your wheelbase and making already tight manoeuvres even tighter.
The 2021 Jeep new vehicle lineup has a range of models, each with their specific four-wheel drive systems. Finding the perfect system for your needs won’t be a problem.

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