4WD Lock Vs 4WD Low: How Do They Differ? (Explained)

How do 4WD Lock and 4WD Low differ in their mechanism? Quite simply, (4WD), four-wheel drive refers to the following: transmitting power and torque to all 4 wheels simultaneously. By splitting power between two wheels, your tires can handle complex traction tasks, such as snow and sand, on your truck.

As long as one and more wheels are slipping off the ground or are loose, the truck will keep moving since the rest have power. Off-road SUVs and work trucks are equipped with 4WD to handle washed-out roads and large craters.

Some four-wheel-drive vehicles have a feature called 4WD Lock, which allows the driver to connect the front & rear axles. Added traction to slippery surfaces is beneficial, so the vehicle can climb steep inclines and escape harsh off-road conditions.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between 4WD Lock Vs 4WD Low accurately. If you’re still confused, read below and discover.

4wd Lock Vs. 4wd Low: Briefly Comparison Table

When more torque is required, a 4wd low gear ratio is required, for instance, when driving over rough terrain or deep sand. This reduces the engine’s rpm while giving the wheels enough power to move. Let’s see both 4wd Lock Vs 4wd Low comparison tables in brief.

4WD Lock4WD Low
Used for off-road drivingUsed for on-road situations
4wd Low has a higher gear ratio4wd Low has a bit low gear ratio
Driving both front & rear wheels simultaneously4WD low is obviously 4WD but works in a low gear
Work better on dry roadNot suitable on dry road
Used in any situation where you wish to drive the vehicle’s 4 wheels together4WD Low also can reduce engine speed & vehicle speed, improving fuel economy
Use the 4WD lock when driving over surfaces such as gravel, sand, or snow where spinning can occur4WD low ideal for climbing rocky terrain, fording creeks, navigating sand and mud

4wd Lock Vs. 4wd Low: In-Depth Discussion

There is a very common question about 4wd Low and 4wd Lock: what’s the difference? Previously, we answered this common question in a straightforward way; now, we’ll go into more detail. We’ll discuss performance on different terrains, turning your vehicle into 4WD, gas mileage & how it relates to 4WD. In addition, we will analyze the effects of driving at higher speeds while in 4WD continuously.

4wd Lock: What Does It Do?

‘4wd Lock’ refers to a 4-wheel-drive technology that is capable of allowing all four wheels on a vehicle to rotate simultaneously. They are often used for off-road driving when additional traction is required.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles are equipped with a feature called 4WD Lock, which enables the driver to connect the front & rear axles. The tires provide better traction in slippery conditions so that the vehicle can climb steep hills and negotiate off-road terrain.

4wd Low: What Does It Do?

The 4wd Low model is a 4-wheel-drive system that allows the vehicle’s four wheels to rotate at various speeds independently. Used for on-road situations in which traction is not required.

Four-wheel drive Low has a low gear ratio, which is beneficial when you need more torque, for instance, when driving over sand and rough terrain. By doing so, the engine can run more slowly while still producing enough power for the wheels to move the vehicle.


When a 4WD lock is engaged, vehicles can reach highway speeds, which may not be necessary or safe due to road conditions. Since the terrain and conditions are unfavorable, it’s better to drive in 4WD between 25 and 40 mph for safety’s sake.

For the sake of safe and efficient driving, you may want to shift your vehicle into 4WD, in which case you should consider the following factors. You will be able to determine whether a 4WD lock is right for you & your vehicle.

You need 4WD Low for low-speed traction if you’re using 4WD High at higher speeds. Whether you’re facing deep snow, dry sand, rock crawling, crossing streams, mudding, or pulling out a boat, 4WD Low has you covered. It’s important to keep the “low” below 15 mph. Additionally, this mode is not suitable for ice. The surface is slippery, plus the wheels are under massive torque, making it impossible to move.

You should never use 4WD on a smooth, dry road. When your 4WD is always engaged, it will cause bumps & thumps whenever you take a corner. This means your axles have seized, which causes premature wear on the axles. Only use 4WD Low on rough roads.

Using Capability

If you have a vehicle with 4-wheel drive, you should lock it when you’re driving on rough terrains, such as ice or snow. When the 4WD Lock is turned on, the wheels lock together, allowing them to turn in the lock step. As a result, the wheels do not slide, and traction is not lost. A 4WD lock is used in any situation where you wish to drive the vehicle’s 4 wheels simultaneously. Renegades typically drive with front-wheel drive but may switch to rear-wheel drive when the front wheels lock up.

According to your question, why do I use 4WD Low in my vehicle? I see a few major advantages. 4WD Low increases power and traction at the wheels. Driving off-road requires a higher level of traction, as well as driving in bad weather conditions.

Also, it allows the vehicle’s weight to be distributed more evenly, which can help when climbing mountains or pulling heavy loads. Moreover, 4WD Low also can reduce engine speed & vehicle speed, improving fuel economy.

Driving Conditions

During off-road conditions, “4WD Lock” modifies its torque distribution, so the vehicle’s performance capacity is optimal. Driving in this mode is only recommended under extreme conditions (such as mud, sand, and steep slopes).

Any scenario in which you want to drive the vehicle with all four tires on at once uses a 4wd lock. If the front wheels start to slip, the Renegade engages the rear wheels. The 4WD Lock can be engaged by simply switching to sand, snow, or mud on the dial selector.

When it comes to 4WD Low, both in terms of power & traction, this type of vehicle is perfect for climbing over rocks, crossing creeks, and driving through sand. Alternatively, it is capable of overcoming steep off-road obstacles. With this setting, you will notice the wheels turning slower than they will on High. Thus, keep your speed under 40mph when using Low.

When snowy roads, light off-road hiking paths, muddy terrain, and even sandy areas. If you are using 4WD Low, you should engage 4WD high whenever necessary to provide power to all 4 wheels. Using 4WD Low will increase traction, reducing the possibility of spinning and slipping.

4wd Lock Vs. 4wd Low: Which Is Better?

When driving in 4WD, you should only use the Lock when driving over surfaces such as gravel, sand, or snow where spinning can occur. Upon engaging the 4WD Lock, each tire is locked together, causing them to rotate at the desired speed. Using this feature keeps your tires from spinning and causing you problems.

Low-range 4WD is the best option, as it maximizes both power & traction. Low-range 4x4s are ideal for climbing rocky terrain, fording creeks, navigating sand and mud, and navigating steep off-road paths.

While driving on smooth and dry pavement, the 4WD Lock is not necessary. As a result, using the 4WD Lock in dry conditions may cause damage to your drivetrain. Finally, the choice is yours depending on personal preferences and road conditions.


Can you explain the difference between 4WD Lock and low?

In the absence of Auto mode, 4WD Lock should be used in situations that call for low traction and relatively high performance, such as on dirt roads or snow-covered pavement. Off-roading with 4WD Low should only be done if you need torque multiplication (such as deep sand).

Is it better to drive in a 4WD Lock?

You can use a 4WD lock if you want your vehicle to run on both of its 4 wheels at once. Renegades typically have front-wheel drive, and if the front wheels slip, they switch to the rear wheels. You can engage 4WD simply by selecting sand, snow, or mud on the gear selector dial.

How often should you use 4wd Low?

It is best to use 4wd Low when you need extra traction, for example, on a slippery surface, sand, snow, or mud. Using 4WD Low, wheels have more torque, allowing them to grip the ground more strongly and grasp the vehicle and pull through.


Which one do you prefer 4WD Lock Vs 4WD Low? Taking 4wd Lock and 4wd Low into account, you discovered all the differences. The 4WD Lock is an interlocked four-wheel drive that can never be disengaged. Anyways, 4WD Low allows you to disengage the 4-wheel drive when driving at low speeds, like off-roading.

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