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2019 GMC Canyon CC 4X4, 2020 Chevy Z71 CC 2WD
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Discussion Starter #1
I've driven in snow and/or ice probably 15 times in my life, all with a two wheel drive with an open diff. Never had issue. I'm planning a trip to Tennessee in two weeks and there is some snow in the forecast. I've used the hell out of the 4wd in my Canyon, but never used the 4wd auto. I guess my question is.....if I run into a snowy, icy patch on the highway, how far can I safely drive in 4wd auto if I feel the need for the additional safety factor? I'm running Geolandar AT's that are in great shape, so I may not even have the need for 4wd. I've never driven in the hills and mountains in snow or ice and just want to prepare myself.
 

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I've driven in snow and/or ice probably 15 times in my life, all with a two wheel drive with an open diff. Never had issue. I'm planning a trip to Tennessee in two weeks and there is some snow in the forecast. I've used the hell out of the 4wd in my Canyon, but never used the 4wd auto. I guess my question is.....if I run into a snowy, icy patch on the highway, how far can I safely drive in 4wd auto if I feel the need for the additional safety factor? I'm running Geolandar AT's that are in great shape, so I may not even have the need for 4wd. I've never driven in the hills and mountains in snow or ice and just want to prepare myself.
As long as you need to.

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2019 GMC Canyon CC 4X4, 2020 Chevy Z71 CC 2WD
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Discussion Starter #4
Awesome! Thanks guys. I thought I had read somewhere that there was a distance or speed rating. I guess not. Makes me feel better.
 

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2018 Colorado CCLB Duramax
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125 Posts
4WD auto engages the front axle assembly, and will have everything up front, including the front driveshaft spinning, being driven by the rotation of the front wheels. Exactly like the old school 4x4s used to be. No harm is being done except maybe losing a couple mpg.
If the ABS sensors determine the rear wheels are turning faster than the front, a clutch pack in the transfer case engages, now driving the front driveshaft, and you have 4WD.
 

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2019 zr2 crew cab. Avs aeroskin hood protector and hs2 havoc step bars. Weather tech splash guards
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I've driven in snow and/or ice probably 15 times in my life, all with a two wheel drive with an open diff. Never had issue. I'm planning a trip to Tennessee in two weeks and there is some snow in the forecast. I've used the hell out of the 4wd in my Canyon, but never used the 4wd auto. I guess my question is.....if I run into a snowy, icy patch on the highway, how far can I safely drive in 4wd auto if I feel the need for the additional safety factor? I'm running Geolandar AT's that are in great shape, so I may not even have the need for 4wd. I've never driven in the hills and mountains in snow or ice and just want to prepare myself.
Don't worry, here in Tennessee we dump salt and/or salt brine anytime the weather looks like it might snow. If it actually snows and you are in extreme north east area, go ahead and plan for 4hi.
 

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You are correct, there are some rather vague limits to it's use. The owners manual is somewhat vague, telling you not to use it all the time. But it doesn't really specify a speed or distance limit. The service manager at the dealership told me the same thing.

It will also cost you some fuel mileage to leave it on all the time.

I turn it on when traction is intermittent, and it works really well. Like when there are patches of snow on the road.
 

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I've done over a 880 mile one-way trip at 70-75mph with it in auto, was drizzling most of the way with temps right at 32ish, some bridges were a little icy and north winds trying to push sideways STL to Ft Collins
 
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4Auto - light snow/ice/unpredictable conditions. You WILL eventually wear out the clutch pack if you drive this a lot. Every single engagement causes wear. Just keep that in mind.
4hi - predictable conditions. Deeper snow, mud, whatever would make the wheels spin.
4lo - hi torque applications, hill climbs/descents and in certain snow/mud applications. Avoid this till you need it. 4lo digs holes a lot faster than 4 hi.


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The only thing you really need to worry about is if you get into really slippery situations, where you're spinning the wheels to move, then you should be in 4WD--if left in auto the clutches in the transfer case can be damaged. That's probably fairly unlikely unless you're in stop and go or some such thing.

And the inverse--being in 4WD when it's not slippery (or gravel) at all for a long distance.
 

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2019 Chevy Colorado CCLB, 2.8L Duramax, Shadow Metalic Grey. 2" level kit
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Lol mine has not ventured into the auto setting yet. The traction control system works so flawlessly.... love it when it just deads out and leaves me stuck in the turn lane.
 

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18 zed r2 extended cab
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When its in awd mode its just like every other full-time awd. The ability to turn it off is a truck towing thing and maybe a mpg saving for the books. Its not a mickey mouse system either, remember the saab- soob exchange?.I use mine in the rain straight up or for a snowy day, with awd/tc off/off road/ rear lock just to get some yayas out. It just rips when you put some revs to it. I found myself on a sheer ice ,crowned backroad one day. The system didn't even blink. As an added bonus, it surprises the hell out of the fartcan set at the lights, wet or dry.
 

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The only thing you really need to worry about is if you get into really slippery situations, where you're spinning the wheels to move, then you should be in 4WD--if left in auto the clutches in the transfer case can be damaged. That's probably fairly unlikely unless you're in stop and go or some such thing.

And the inverse--being in 4WD when it's not slippery (or gravel) at all for a long distance.
Stop and go is where awd shines, I use it all the time in town if roads look like they may be damp, or pulling my boat up the boat ramp...
 
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