Is 4WD Auto any good?

jaan

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Hi everyone,

Yesterday I got a chance to take my 2004 out in the snow for the first time.  I kept it in 4WD high for the most part, but when I came home I took it out to an big empty half plowed parking lot to try out 4WD Auto.  I'm not sure if I liked it or not.  Unfortunately my exuberant experimentation was cut short by a patrolling police officer (no worries, he just stopped and stared at me until I left).

So, in the real world, is 4WD Auto any good or should I stick to choosing for myself like I've always done?
 

newavguy

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Yes it is good, I'm from michigan (who could not tell that from my name) when I drive I will get several different conditions when you are in 4 wheel drive on the freeway at 70 MPH it will slow down the AV, with Auto it's fine it can tell the wheel's aren't spinning so it will go over 70. I don't worry if you put it in auto if snow or ice may be there and just drive
 

gn85

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I'm like you, and like to have 4WD on and tell it what to do.  Actually, I don't like push-button 4WD.  I like to pull a lever and do it right.  Still, I've tried Auto4WD in my Trailblazer in times when the weather was OK and the streets were cleared with spots of slush or snow and it works just fine.  It's actually nice to drive like that, not have it in 4WD, yet when you need it because you're spinning on slush or snow, you don't have to reach for the button.  It has it's place in limited traction situations.

 

newavguy

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Plus the mileage drops like a rock in 4wd
 

ibshortie

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I will put mine in 4wd auto when it's raining heavy or it has rained for the first time in a while.  I had one occasion where the freeway was stopped for some reason, I was going to pick up my children from school and couldn't be late.  I decided to cut across the freeway to a side road that was just dirt, actually mud from all the rain.  I made it 1/2 way across then the truck started to slide sideways.  I felt the 4wd kick in and I finished making it to the other road.

Bottom line I thought it worked great, as others have said the mpg drops a little in full time 4wd also.  It depends on the situation whether you use auto or full time but for me in my situation it worked fine.

shortie
 

stevescheidt

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Auto 4wd works great for me, used it yesterday and a little today due to the snow.  It helps out on the highways when the plow crews decide to start a little late or never.
 

SRFNSNO

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I use 4 auto all the time in bad weather and dirt roads. rain and light snow
dose not seam to hurt MPG much if at all.

4high for severe snow or off roading.
 

Pj

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4wheel wimps! :)

You shouldn't need 4wd (auto or otherwise) for rain.... I have tried it, didn't see any difference.

How does the auto actually work? I pressed it on the other day with the windows down, and you can hear the front engaging (or hubs locking/whatever)... or does it actually do it on the fly?

Personally, unless there is a good amount of snow on the ground, I leave it in 2wd until the traction really gives out. I grew up on the thought of leave it until 2 until you need 4. You gas milage and tires will like it.
 

Iocane

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MichiganSilver03 said:
Yes it is good, I'm from michigan (who could not tell that from my name) when I drive I will get several different conditions when you are in 4 wheel drive on the freeway at 70 MPH it will slow down the AV, with Auto it's fine it can tell the wheel's aren't spinning so it will go over 70. I don't worry if you put it in auto if snow or ice may be there and just drive
Well if you're going 70 down the highway and you hit an ice patch, 4wd isn't going to help you one bit.  You'll still go right into the ditch or oncoming traffic.
 

newavguy

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Iocane said:
Well if you're going 70 down the highway and you hit an ice patch, 4wd isn't going to help you one bit. You'll still go right into the ditch or oncoming traffic.
I understand what you are saying about the ice patch nothing is going to help you. I did not mean I would drive 70 in the snow or if ice is possible I have not had a accident since 1993 or a ticket since 1984  I am a very safe driver I only have one life and I want to keep it
 

trannyman

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I only use 4wd when I'm plowing or for a better launch when racing >:D. Once in a great while I need to use 4wd auto if I have the kids and the roads are bad. But it isn't good to use auto under heavy loads, it will burn the clutches inside.
 

FLINTaVa

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Auto 4WD is great as it behaves like 2WD until needed. In heavy rain you can feel it kick in when you lose grip due to hydroplaning. It's good on any loose surface that you don't need full time 4WD on, gravel, sand, snow or ice.

You want a quick start from standing still ? You will get a better grip on dry pavement too in 4WD Auto, it really works on wet pavement from a stop or any surface that causes rear wheels to slip. The locking rearend can get you squirley on slippery surfaces on a tight turn, doesn't happen in 4W auto and all the power goes back to rear wheels if they aren't slipping.
 

yakmar

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....mine stays in Auto from the first snow (october abouts) until the snow is gone (may abouts).  I've only used the 4HI 2-3 times in the past 4 years, and you can almost watch the gas hand move !!!  :E:
 

rs72camaro

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Yakmar said:
....mine stays in Auto from the first snow (october abouts) until the snow is gone (may abouts).? ?I've only used the 4HI 2-3 times in the past 4 years, and you can almost watch the gas hand move !!!? :E:
Not anymore    :p
 

FLINTaVa

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Yakmar said:
....mine stays in Auto from the first snow (october abouts) until the snow is gone (may abouts).? ?I've only used the 4HI 2-3 times in the past 4 years, and you can almost watch the gas hand move !!!? :E:
You can watch the gas hand move in 2WD if you have a lead foot  :p 
It sucks gas when it's really windy on the highway too, I recently watched my DIC go from 12.5 to 17.5 as I drove south into urban areas where they have noise walls that cut off the sideways wind gusts.
 

m02redl

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Pj said:
4wheel wimps! :)

You shouldn't need 4wd (auto or otherwise) for rain.... I have tried it, didn't see any difference.

How does the auto actually work? I pressed it on the other day with the windows down, and you can hear the front engaging (or hubs locking/whatever)... or does it actually do it on the fly?

Personally, unless there is a good amount of snow on the ground, I leave it in 2wd until the traction really gives out. I grew up on the thought of leave it until 2 until you need 4. You gas milage and tires will like it.
lmao  :laugh:
 

LuvDog

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I hate the auto 4wd... to me it seems like it kicks in too late.

I'd rather be in full time 4WD if the road conditions call for it.  I'm with some of the others though... I stick in 2WD unless I absolutely need 4WD and then I'll switch back as soon as I gain traction.

 

SRFNSNO

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I always use the rule.
If it is possible to need it better to have it engaged now.
Dose not do as much good after it is required.

Go into 4 before leaving the pavement. (also air down)
And out of 4 after you are back on Black. (and air back up)

Have seen two many people stuck 5-10' away from the black top (or less)

Also my ride dose not like 4high or low and blacktop.
When in auto I seem to do better on the street.
As for rain I am talking about Nor-Easters 1-3" per hour and Flooding in 30-60mph winds. We see that a few times a year.
Surf's up. >:D
 

SamHouseIII

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I not only use it when it snows, But also in the rain.

Works like a charm

Sam
 

anglarry04

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hehehe...cutting across to a side road...gotta love the avalanch. ? Auto 4wd hasnt worked for me yet. ? ?Course I probbaly didnt need it yet either. ? I've tried it out on a few occasions and never noticed it kick in. ?Either way, I like the idea of choosing when I want it. ? I can see the advantage of auto though. ? I'm just wary of using 4x on the highway, cuz you usually wheel the wheels bouce when turning. ?

ibshortie said:
I will put mine in 4wd auto when it's raining heavy or it has rained for the first time in a while.? I had one occasion where the freeway was stopped for some reason, I was going to pick up my children from school and couldn't be late.? I decided to cut across the freeway to a side road that was just dirt, actually mud from all the rain.? I made it 1/2 way across then the truck started to slide sideways.? I felt the 4wd kick in and I finished making it to the other road.

Bottom line I thought it worked great, as others have said the mpg drops a little in full time 4wd also.? It depends on the situation whether you use auto or full time but for me in my situation it worked fine.

shortie
 

FLINTaVa

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Unless the snow is deep or you are on ice you don't want 4W High on pavement, 4W Auto is a handy setting for intermittent traction like heavy rain or spotty snow & ice. Same for gravel or sandy roads, if it's hard pack you don't need 4WH and auto will only kick in when rear wheels don't grab. 

Sure 2WD will work in most cases on a hard pack road but 4W Auto moves power to another wheel if one slips.
 

Pj

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I dunno....I just can't see the use of 4WD in many situations that have popped up in this thread.

I find with the AVA with its stock Goodyear tires and my Suburban with the BFG's, that 4WD is unnesseary in most urban and off road situations.

Up here in the Catskills, there has to be some good snowfall on unplowed roads to throw it into 4WD. All the dirt road and "unimproved roads" around here, PA, MD and WV that I do (forest muck and abandoned rail lines) never needed it.

Rain, a definate no. Its like ice...if your going to hydroplane....its already too late. Perhaps its that I grew up in snow and dirt road county, but 9 out of 10 times 4WD isn't nessesary if you know how to properly drive in the conditions that you are subjecting yourself and your vehicle too. Too many people use 4WD as the "if I have it, I won't get stuck" solution.

At least it beats the "4-way flasher traction control system" that people in NY/NJ seem to think works better than having a 4WD vehicle.
 

Senor Plata

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AWD works very well in drizzly Western Washington.  Believe it or not we have 6 months where it does not rain much and the rubber and oil build up on the road faster than the occasional light rain can remove it.  Thus it will drizzle and you can hear the sound of spinning tires on the steeper hills of downtown Seattle as the average car tries to make it up to the next stop light.

The Avs modest engine will break the rear wheels loose if you give her gas from a stop on a slight slope.  Thus I put it in AWD and nothing breaks loose.
 
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