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Currently have my truck in 2wd mode. When the white stuff falls, should I throw it in auto mode?

When does one make a move over to 4WD low and high?
 

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2019 GMC Canyon All Terrain
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Here is how I use the 4 wheel drive system in my Z71.

2wd - normal, dry road conditions, any speeds
AUTO - rain or light snow, wet roads. any speeds (flip on the fly when needed aka, taking off straight and turning from a standstill.
4hi - heavy snow or off road, limit top speeds to around 35-40 mph. If you are in 4hi, conditions should reflect a slower driving pattern.
4lo - LOW Speeds, heavy snow or off road. Emphasized LOW speeds. You should not drive in this mode on public roads.
 

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I agree pretty much with Fondupot except if there is any snow or ice on the road, I will throw it in 4wd High instead of Auto. I will travel a little higher highway speed in 4 High if the four lane roads are hard packed. 4 Low is only used on boat ramps, when stuck, or when pulling someone out. Have not had enough snow since I bought the Colorado to get stuck yet, but with the G80 rear end, if I do get it stuck, it will be someplace that I shouldn't have been in the first place.
 

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Here is how I use the 4 wheel drive system in my Z71.

2wd - normal, dry road conditions, any speeds
AUTO - rain or light snow, wet roads. any speeds (flip on the fly when needed aka, taking off straight and turning from a standstill.
4hi - heavy snow or off road, limit top speeds to around 35-40 mph. If you are in 4hi, conditions should reflect a slower driving pattern.
4lo - LOW Speeds, heavy snow or off road. Emphasized LOW speeds. You should not drive in this mode on public roads.
There is no need to limit your speed in 4hi. I mean unless conditions warrant, but 4hi goes to the governed vehicle top speed.

Auto 4wd is great to use in urban ares as it allows the front and rear axles to spin at different speeds, while still powering both, removing the "binding" typically noticed in 4hi when turning in parking lots and such.
 

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Here is how I use the 4 wheel drive system in my Z71.

2wd - normal, dry road conditions, any speeds
AUTO - rain or light snow, wet roads. any speeds (flip on the fly when needed aka, taking off straight and turning from a standstill.
4hi - heavy snow or off road, limit top speeds to around 35-40 mph. If you are in 4hi, conditions should reflect a slower driving pattern.
4lo - LOW Speeds, heavy snow or off road. Emphasized LOW speeds. You should not drive in this mode on public roads.
I put a few sand bags in the bed as well. I framed them between the wheel wells with some lumber. It comes in around 290 pounds. I've never not done it. Anyone else find traction to be different with 4-wheel and no weight?

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There is no need to limit your speed in 4hi. I mean unless conditions warrant, but 4hi goes to the governed vehicle top speed
Technically yes, you can engage 4hi at any speed, but I wouldn't advise it.

Which is why I said to limit speeds. Because if you are in a scenario that requires 4hi (i.e. snow packed roads) there is no reason for you to be going really fast, because even the best four wheel drive system wont save you then.

I put a few sand bags in the bed as well. I framed them between the wheel wells with some lumber. It comes in around 290 pounds. I've never not done it. Anyone else find traction to be different with 4-wheel and no weight?
Not a terrible idea, but I have not done if for about 10 years. Definitely helps with extra traction. I just don't like adding the extra weight and losing the cargo space.
 

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Here is how I use the 4 wheel drive system in my Z71.

2wd - normal, dry road conditions, any speeds
AUTO - rain or light snow, wet roads. any speeds (flip on the fly when needed aka, taking off straight and turning from a standstill.
4hi - heavy snow or off road, limit top speeds to around 35-40 mph. If you are in 4hi, conditions should reflect a slower driving pattern.
4lo - LOW Speeds, heavy snow or off road. Emphasized LOW speeds. You should not drive in this mode on public roads.
I agree for the most part. If there's more than a dusting of snow I will probably go into 4hi to ensure all 4 wheels are getting power.

I also prefer 4hi for snow and icy conditions. The higher gearing helps prevent me from being too aggressive and just spinning the tires. In 4lo, it is too easy for me to just spin on the snow. Spinning on snow can quickly turn to spinning on ice or slush.
 

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2 wheel until I can’t move. Then 4 hi. I don’t like the computer deciding where my power goes. It may work great in auto, but it’s all personal preference. You can run 4 hi at any speed, just make sure you engage at a lower speed. If there’s sections of bare or wet pavement, I’d go back to 2 wheel or auto if you like that. If you’re not experienced or confident enough to drive near the posted speed on snow covered roads (with good visibility), please put your flashers on and let people pass if you start causing a parade. If it’s really bad visibility, don’t go out. If you must, flashers, lights turned on via switch (sometimes auto lights think lots of white snow is daylight and will only trigger DRLs), and drive slowly. Don’t always rely on the tracks you’re following, you could be following them into the ditch or worse oncoming traffic.

And for off-road? 2hi at the rev limiter with the rear locked in offroad mode with the nannies off! Then switch to 4 dig when **** gets deep!


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2 wheel until I can’t move. Then 4 hi. I don’t like the computer deciding where my power goes. It may work great in auto, but it’s all personal preference. You can run 4 hi at any speed, just make sure you engage at a lower speed. If there’s sections of bare or wet pavement, I’d go back to 2 wheel or auto if you like that. If you’re not experienced or confident enough to drive near the posted speed on snow covered roads (with good visibility), please put your flashers on and let people pass if you start causing a parade. If it’s really bad visibility, don’t go out. If you must, flashers, lights turned on via switch (sometimes auto lights think lots of white snow is daylight and will only trigger DRLs), and drive slowly. Don’t always rely on the tracks you’re following, you could be following them into the ditch or worse oncoming traffic.

And for off-road? 2hi at the rev limiter with the rear locked in offroad mode with the nannies off! Then switch to 4 dig when **** gets deep!


This! Voice of experience.
 

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Some of us, me included don't have the auto option. I never have in any truck. It's starts snowing and sticking and freezing, I switch into 4 hi. Even on the highways as most people are driving slower anyhow. I just try to switch into 4 wheel hi at speeds under 50 mhp. That's just a habit from the first generation Colorados. I have cruised down the highway at speeds above 70 in 4 wheel hi and it is fine. I never had a problem with this even if I drive out of the storm. I will find a rest stop or place to slow down to about 50 mph and switch back when the roads are dry. I think I read in this manual that you can switch at higher speeds than 50 mph, but that makes me nervous. Besides, I am usually in bad driving conditions and going slower anyhow. People using their lights on highways in snow is always a nice thing. ( Friggin Morons!). Just as @G2SKIER mentioned.
 
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People using their lights on highways in snow is always a nice thing. ( Friggin Morons!). Just as @G2SKIER mentioned.


Always seems to be the white cars too!


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Here is how I use the 4 wheel drive system in my Z71.

2wd - normal, dry road conditions, any speeds
AUTO - rain or light snow, wet roads. any speeds (flip on the fly when needed aka, taking off straight and turning from a standstill.
4hi - heavy snow or off road, limit top speeds to around 35-40 mph. If you are in 4hi, conditions should reflect a slower driving pattern.
4lo - LOW Speeds, heavy snow or off road. Emphasized LOW speeds. You should not drive in this mode on public roads.
I'm in a Canyon but I have the same tires so.... I agree with this.

I find the Duratrac tires to be pretty poor in the rain with regards to maintaining rear end traction on winding roads or even taking off from a stop. The back end has swung around (or started to) numerous times with the last few rains we have had. Even after the "first rain road slickness" has worn off I still find the back end eager to slide. I haven't gotten around to adding sandbags to the bed; not a common practice in this area. So I tend to use AUTO quite a bit. It helps keep the rear in place with the pulling action of the front tires.

I'm well versed in handling oversteer from decades of racing RWD cars and trucks but damn this truck (or tires) is annoying to drive in the rain without AUTO 4WD engaged. In fact, I won't let my fiance' drive it in the wet without it engaged. It's just not safe.
 

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My strategy has always been this:

2-hi - for almost everything until water starts freezing.

4-hi - Compact snow/ice on the road or freeway. I generally don't go above 40-45, because, why would you want to do any faster in slick conditions?
I also use 4-hi on dirt roads sometimes with grades and poor surfaces, helps the vehicle climb a little smoother.

4-lo - Crawling only, on rock/dirt trails. I generally lock the trans into 1st gear as well, and my speed is usually <10mph. Also used if I'm doing a recovery pull, on or off road.

Auto - I've used this once in a previous vehicle, for black-ice conditions. Seemed to do alright. But, the biggest safety factor was reducing my speed and being really cautious. Stabilitrak manages most of the loose ends in corners. Not really a fan of "auto" mode because it slips a clutch to stay partially engaged.
 

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this is my first 'truck'. i've come over from the jeep world and all my jeeps had a full time 4wd setting on the transfer case that allowed you to set it and forget it in the winter -- either manually (cherokee and wj gc) or the system did it automatically (wk gc). by all accounts these things were unstoppable in the snow.

i've been told how horrible pickup trucks are in 2wd in the snow and today was the 1st time i had a chance to drive one. roads were snow packed but i had no reason to use 4wd hi or auto. i swapped the stock LT highway tires/wheels for a set off brand new wrangler adventure ATs (got a good deal on Z71 takeoffs) last week. if we were in blizzard conditions or the snow was deep i could see auto or 4wd hi being a big bonus but it seemed to me the truck was just fine in 2wd. next winter i will replace the stock highway tires on the LT wheels with a set of snow tires and just run the ATs in the summer.
 

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As per usual the topic of tires has been pretty much entirely neglected.

Regardless of your drivetrain, there is ome thing that touches the ground.

Good tires mean everything in terms of braking and turning.

On cars i run a dedicated winter set, may on the craptor based off how its bf triple peak logo advantage sport whatevers do.
 

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Just about all of this is good advice except 4lo. I would never use that on-road. It's for slow, nasty, digging our crawling. I use 4lo in loose sand and sometimes crawling up my really steep driveway in deep snow.
 

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When to use the 4WD? There are many factors involved. Some work better than others depending upon type of road (paved vs dirt), hills, heavy traffic, temperature and visibility. But the biggest safety factor has already been stated by many above. Knowing that all vehicles are equipped with a set of operational headlights. Yet there are a small set of individuals that have the common sense of a fence post by choosing to leave their headlights off?

Why do they do this? I have no f%^#ing idea! In many states, Maine included, if your wipers are on your headlights MUST be on also. You can actually get a ticket if not in compliance. My wife calls me the headlight police. I will always flash my lights at clowns who drive w/o their lights on.

As you can tell this is a real pet leave of mine. Thanks for letting me shine a light on this subject.

Gusto!
 

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Although the original poster was referring to snow, I would like to add that once the pavement dries, there are a couple things to consider.

Most of this has been covered, but as a previous Jeep owner (TJ wrangler) I would not use 4WD hi or lo on dry roads. There is a potential for damage by driving on dry cement or asphalt. The problem comes into play when one wheel (or set of wheels) wants to rotate at a different speed than the other(s). Something as simple as having the rear end of the truck loaded with cargo will effectively change the radius of the rear tire, and in turn change the circumference of the contact path. This essentially equates to having a smaller set of tires on the rear of the truck vs the front. As we know, a smaller tire has to rotate more quickly than a larger tire in order to move at the same speed. So... If you're locked through the transfer case, something has to give. More times than not you will just hear the tires scrub or chirp on dry pavement, however, what you may not be realizing is that you're placing a lot of stress on your drivetrain. Eventually you will damage the weakest component. Rubber tires will take more abuse than your u-joints, drive shaft yokes, ring and pinion teeth, axle shafts (etc...).

Per GMC "When to use four-wheel drive"

HIGH-RANGE FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
High-range four-wheel drive, marked as “4↑” on most transfer cases, is designed for use on loose or slippery surfaces. In this setting, the front axle is engaged, and the transfer case then sends power to both the front and rear axles and to all four wheels.

This mode forces the front and rear axles to spin at the exact same speed. Due to minor tire size differences and track length differences when turning, the front and rear axles can ‘fight’ against each other on high-friction surfaces and results in a condition sometimes known as ‘crow hop’ as tires are forced to slip to the ground.
Since GMC’s transfer cases are designed to be “shifted on the fly,” drivers can shift between high-range two-wheel drive and high-range four-wheel drive without bringing the vehicle to a halt. On electronic transfer cases, an indicator on the selector knob will flash while the shift is being performed and turn solid once it’s fully engaged. For trucks equipped with a manual transfer case, an indicator within the gauge cluster will illuminate.

It’s important to note that high-range four-wheel drive is not intended to be used on dry surfaces or roads with good traction. Doing so may place undue stress on axles, transfer cases, and other drivetrain components which could lead to damage. It’s important to remember to shift out of 4 HI as soon as road conditions improve.

LOW-RANGE FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
GMC models equipped with a two-speed transfer case also include a four-wheel drive setting known as “low range.” Typically marked as “4 ↓”, low range effectively doubles the torque sent to the wheels, making it useful for off-road driving in deep sand, mud, or snow. 4WD Low is important for severe off-roading to allow accurate control of vehicle speed over obstacles, and to provide effective engine braking on steep grades to save the brakes from overheating. Low range is meant predominantly for off-road situations, and should not be used at speeds above 45 mph.

Shifting into low-range four-wheel drive is a little more involved than shifting into high-range four-wheel drive. Drivers will need to shift the transmission into neutral to disconnect torque to allow the transfer case to shift gears. It is sometimes helpful on Manual Shift Transfer cases to keep the vehicle moving below 3-5 mph while shifting into 4 ↓ to allow the gears to align teeth. Once the transfer case is in low-range, shift the transmission back into drive. To shift out of low-range back to high range, follow the same procedures.

It’s important to note that Low-range four-wheel drive is not intended to be used on dry surfaces or roads with good traction. Doing so may place undue stress on axles, transfer cases, and other drivetrain components which could lead to damage. It’s important to remember to shift out of 4 Low as soon as road conditions improve.

Four-Wheel Drive Benefits, Tips & Uses ? GMC Life
 
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