Four wheel drive is used on all types of vehicles from those solely designed for recreation to those used for work or just getting around safely in adverse weather. The 4WD system provides power to all four wheels of a vehicle to give better control on many surfaces. Torque is the force the twisting force the engine produces, but the maximum amount of torque that can be created is determined by the amount of traction you are getting. Traction is only created for each wheel that has power; the others are just going along for the ride. 4WD allows you to utilize the traction of all four wheels by independently applying additional power to those wheels as needed.
Your four wheel drive vehicle is great for getting you where you need to go on rough or slick terrain, but in order to keep it running at peak performance, it is necessary to perform regular maintenance, especially for rugged off-road driving or towing. In North Idaho, having a 4WD or all wheel drive vehicle is a necessity for many people.
The main parts of any 4WD system are the front and rear differentials, and the transfer case. In addition, part-time 4×4 systems have locking hubs. Most vehicles, both full-time and part-time, likely have advanced electronics to make better use of the traction system. When you go around a turn the differentials enable the speed difference between the inside and outside wheels. In all wheel drive the speed difference between front and rear wheels is handled by the transfer case which splits power between the front and rear axles.
One of four types of lubricant is used in all four wheel drive systems, depending on the manufacturer. These are Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF), 30W motor oil, 90W gear oil, or synthetic lubricant. ATF and 30W should be changed every 50,000 miles, and 90W should be changed at 80,000 miles. Synthetic lubricants need to be changed at recommended manufacturer’s intervals. Proper maintenance of your 4WD is critical, so it is recommended to have a mechanic check the system every two years or 24,000 miles. Your mechanic will check the fluids for proper levels, presence of moisture, and wear particles from metal or friction material. Snow, ice, water, salt, and mud easily find their way into your 4×4 system and can turn your four wheel drive useless at the worst possible moment. Keeping up on maintenance minimizes your expense and downtime.
During regular maintenance, four wheel drive technicians will check your fluids for level, proper color, and consistency. If any problems are found they will drain and refill the transfer case and differentials with fresh clean fluids, and perform a transmission flush and fluid exchange when needed. The mechanic will also disassemble, clean, and perform a thorough inspection for any leaks, mechanical wear, or grime in the 4WD system.
Scheduling regular professional maintenance of your 4WD vehicle will give it a long life of getting where you need to go, through any extreme driving conditions the Inland Northwest offers.
Silverlake Automotive, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is your local 4×4 specialist. An ASE Certified technician is ready to inspect and repair your four wheel drive vehicle. Whether you have an all wheel drive car, four wheel drive truck or SUV we have the knowledge and expertise to perform the proper maintenance and repairs for you. Give us a call at 208-772-6081, contact us through the website, or stop by to schedule an appointment.