You should turn off traction control in 4WD only when driving through off-road conditions like sandy dunes, or driving up a long steep hill. Other than that, you need to keep your traction control system on. The traction control system ensures proper grip for the tires to avoid accidents while driving through slippery surfaces.
With features like 4WD, it’s understandable to feel confident about your off-road capabilities. However, as you already know 4WDs come with a traction control feature and it’s there for a reason.
So, you might be thinking, “Should I turn off traction control in 4WD?”
So let’s get started to find out more about the traction control system in 4WD.
Should I Turn Off Traction Control In 4WD?
In normal conditions, you should not turn off the traction control system in 4WD. This is because the traction control system helps to ensure proper traction of the wheels.
However, in off-road conditions, you should turn off your traction control system. But always make sure that you are properly driving through rough terrain if your traction control system is off.
When To Turn Off Traction Control in 4WD?
Now, of course there are some situations where turning off the traction control is going to help you more. Let’s go through each of these scenarios.
Driving Through Sand
You should turn off the traction control system if you are driving through any sandy terrain whether it is the beach or desert. This is because these surfaces are often inclined and the sand itself has a loose and abrasive surface. As a result, there is not enough friction between the wheels and the surface..
Without friction, your wheels lose grip. It also starts spinning. This phenomenon is called wheelspin.
Traction control system helps to stop this wheelspin. Of course, the traction control system itself doesn’t control your wheel’s spinning. The traction control system on a typical 4 x 4, applies brakes to the wheel or reduces engine power to reduce wheelspin.
Now, if the wheelspin is stopped on an on-road slippery surface, your traction control system is protecting you from accidents. But on sandy terrain, it just gets your wheel bogged down and stuck.
So, turn off the traction control system when driving on sandy tracks.
Driving Through Deep Mud
If you find yourself in deep mud, you should turn off your vehicle’s traction control system.
In deep mud, you need your wheels to spin in order to keep your vehicle moving forward. When the traction control system is on, it works to reduce the throttle and prevent your wheels from spinning. This can make it more difficult to get out of the mud and continue your journey.
So, if you are driving through deep mud and find yourself stuck, don’t hesitate to turn off your traction control system. By doing so, you’ll give your wheels the freedom they need to spin and help you get out of a tight spot.
You need to spin your wheels fast enough if you want to drift in snow. Turning off the traction control system helps to drift in snow.
Regardless of the type of vehicle, you should be careful with the traction control in snow and ice for your safety.
Driving Up A Long Steep Hill
On a similar note, a steep hill requires more spinning from the wheels. So, turn off the traction control system to enable wheel spinning to accelerate up the steep hill.
Now, of course you can turn off the traction control system for better control in sandy or muddy terrain. But you can also turn on your 4WD low if you want to drive through water crossing, muddy roads or just want to do rocky crawl.
As a rule of thumb, enable 4WD high when you are driving through any dirt road and gravel track or you need more speed in general. Whereas you should use 4WD low when you need more torque and lower gear ratio, for example, in sand dunes, steep hills and deep mud.
How To Turn Off Traction Control in 4WD?
You can turn off the traction control system with or without using the traction control button. Let’s go through each of the methods.
Turning Off Traction Control Using Button
Following are the steps of turning off the traction control using the traction control button
- Find the traction control button around your steering wheel [Prado 150] or the center console [Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford f150].
- Press the button.
- Check the dashboard for the ‘Traction or TCS off’ message.
However once you are done driving through the rough terrain, you need to turn the traction control system on.
With that, we hope that you got a clear idea of if you have to turn off the traction control in 4WD or not.
Is It Legal To Drive a 4WD With Traction Control Turned Off?
Yes, it is legal to drive a 4WD with traction control turned off. Of course, it is not recommended that you turn off the traction control system unless you are driving through off-road conditions.
Are Traction Control and Stability Control the Same In 4WD?
No, traction control and stability control are not the same in 4WD. Traction control system ensures proper tire grip through controlling wheel spinning during slippery surfaces. But stability control helps your 4WD avoid skidding while making a sudden maneuver.
Does Turning Off Traction Control Make My 4WD Go Faster?
No, turning off the traction control system has nothing to do with increasing your speed. Traction control system only provides traction to your tires when it’s losing grip. It has no direct effect on your engine’s performance and therefore, turning it off will not make your car go faster.
Now, you know the answer to the question ‘Should I Turn Off Traction Control in 4WD?’. Turn off your traction control system during the given situations and always turn it back on. Follow the steps mentioned in the article and keep in mind when you need to use 4WD high or low range.