I have a 2004 Ranger XLT 4 X 4 & I live in northern New England. A major winter
storm will be approaching in a day or
two & the roads become slippery at times. I hear a lot about not using the 4WD
on "hard pavement" but after the plows
do their work & the road surfaces have been treated with salt & sand will
continued usage of the 4 X 4 impose additional
wear on the tranny & transfer case. I usually leave it in 2WD & shift it to 4WD
only when climbing or descending hills.
Read the owners manual - If you have a part-time 4WD system with no
center differential DO NOT leave it in 4WD while on pavement. If the
wheels can't slip and you turn corners you will build up differential
stresses in the drivetrain till something breaks. Whatever is weakest
- a locking hub, a U-joint, a pinion gear...
You can leave the manual front hubs locked all winter if you want
to, so you don't have to get out of the car and wade through mud to do
that. (It will cost you a small fraction of a MPG to spin the front
differential parts, but won't hurt anything.)
But leave it in 2WD mode unless you're just about to get stuck. And
the minute you get clear, shift back to 2WD.
--<< Bruce >>--
My ranger has an electronic transfer case selector & can be employed up
to 55 MPH. The manual does state not to use 4WD on dry hard pavement
but up here in northern Maine, it becomes difficult to see of it is dry or not. I
just rely on my judgement & keep it in 2WD until I spot a stretch of snow then
it is 4WD time.
I would tighten up the criteria a lot - a "stretch of snow" likely
isn't enough to allow wheel slip (to relieve stresses) if needed. If
it's fine powder snow with no ice underneath, the tires are more than
likely getting down to the pavement.
I would up the ante to only shifting into 4WD when you find
'un-plowed side street with a good 6" of snow', and other cars are not
cutting ruts down to the pavement. Not for stretches where you think
you might need it, reserve it for areas you *know* you'll need it.
Or wait till it gets sloppy enough that you feel it starting to lose
traction and/or the rear end tries coming around on you the first time
- and believe me, when it happens for real you'll know it. Next time
you can feel it getting close, shift it into 4WD then.
--<< Bruce >>--
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