How to Put a Jeep Wrangler in a 4 Wheel Drive

| Last Updated: August 27, 2021

The Jeep Wrangler is a classic utility vehicle that is famed for its off-road abilities. Most of the Jeep Wranglers are equipped with 4WD capability.

Now, when you consider the power a Jeep has, and then throw in 4WD, you get a dominating utility vehicle that will stop to nothing.

While a 4WD vehicle will provide you with better performance, including greater traction in the slippery roads, many Jeep enthusiasts don’t know anything about shifting 4WDs.

Sure, you might have a 4WD, but you need to understand that every brand has a different 4WD system.

While there are no stark differences between the various brands, it’s always advisable that you follow your brand’s manual.

And today, we will be looking at how to engage a 4WD on a Jeep Wrangler.

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Having a 4WD function does not mean you need to have your Jeep in 4WD mode always. 4WD in Jeep Wranglers is primarily used in situations where you need more traction.

There are two varying types of 4WD, and each type has its recommended use. Before we look at the exact process of shifting gears on a Jeep, it would be prudent that we have a rudimentary understanding of the various gears and their uses.

Gear Options

2 Hi or 2H

This gear combination is typically used when the surface is dry. There’s not much that you’re supposed to do when on these gears, and it’s the recommended gear position for your everyday driving.

4 Hi or 4H

This gear option is often used for normal speed driving, but more suitable when you need extra performance such as traction of the dirt roads, hard-packed sand, or ice/snow/ slick surfaces When this gear is engaged, the front wheels on your Jeep will significantly aid in traction by adding more stability to your vehicle.

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4 Lo or 4 L

It’s the optimal gearing position when you need maximum traction as well as power. While it will offer the least speeds, it suitably conditions your Jeep Wrangler to handle the toughest road conditions.

Engage in this gear position when working through mud, rocky surfaces, sharp and steep inclines, and deep snow. On this gear position, both the front and the rear wheels are driven in low range, using a lower gear ratio.

This often results in lower speeds, but it delivers a higher torque. Additionally, it will offer greater braking power while allowing for easier control.

How to Switch Gears on the Jeep Wrangler

Now that you know the various gearing positions let's look at how you can effectively shift the gears on a Jeep Wrangler.

1. Determine whether you need to change gears The first step is determining whether you need to change gears. You only need to change gears when there’s a change in the road conditions.

For instance, if you’re traveling from a fine concrete road to the rugged road, it may call for a change of gears.

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2. Stop your Jeep To change the gears, first, stop your Jeep. From here, engage the gear shift selector in “N” (Neutral). While at i4H to 4L or 4L to 4H, keep the foot pedal firmly on the brake pedal.

From here, you can now move your shift selector to your require gear position. Once you’re done, move the gear selector back to “D” (Drive) and continue driving.

Changing Various Gears

The above description is a general outline on how to change gears on a Jeep Wrangler. In the section below, we look at how we can switch from the different 4DW gearing positions.

Switching From 2H to 4H/ 4H to 2H

Shifting between these gearing positions is only possible with your Jeep either in motion or stopped. If your Jeep is in motion, the transfer case will engage/disengage faster if you momentarily release the accelerator pedal once you’re through with shifting. When shifting the transfer case lever, it’s recommended that you apply constant force.

4H to 4L or 4L to 4H

If you require maximum traction, you’ll move your Wrangler to 4 low. Start by slowing down your vehicle to 2-3 mph. With your Jeep coasting, shift to neutral, and slowly but firmly pull the lever back.

Put your Jeep back in gear, and you’re good to go. However, if the pavement of wet, slick, or loose, you need to apply the 4WD.

Here, you simply pull the lever without pausing I the “N” position between the two gears. Move you, standard gear selector, back to and continue driving.

Tips, Trick and Don’ts of Gear Shifting on a Jeep Wrangler

  1. 4H is suitable for the slick, slippery on-road driving at speeds from 45-55 mph

  2. Don’t move directly from 2H to 4L or vice versa. First move from 2H to 4H, then neutral, then to 4L.

  3. Avoid speed of more than 25 mph when on 4L

  4. To disengage from 4WD, slow down, shift to neutral, and while rolling, push the lever to 4H. Put your Jeep back in gear and push the lever form 4H to 2H.

  5. Check on your user manual if you’re unsure of how to use or shift the 4WD.

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