Re: 4x4 vs AWD
My wife drives an 04 EB AWD Explorer and I drive 05 ST 4x4 with 2WD, 4Low & 4High settings.
Here is how AWD work: Under normal conditions one axle gets 100% of the torque - meaning you are driving in 2WD. During traction loss at the driven axle a fully automatic system (hydraulic, mechanical or electronic) makes up to 50% of the torque to the axle with traction available. This means you have to lose traction in 2WD on your driven axle first and then the other axle will be added and try to keep the car moving and stable. Once the primary driven axle regains traction and both axles rotate at the same speed again, the system reverts back to 2WD.
On 4 WD, when "4-low" is selected the wheels create substantially more torque than in "4-high" - at the same time the vehicle moves at substantially slower speeds. 4-low does not create more traction - it creates more torque and that can be detrimental when traction is marginal. Slipping tires are more likely in "low" than in "high".
The low setting is an advantage for drivers who need to tow and maneuver a heavy trailer etc. and for drivers who at one point or another may want to negotiate difficult off-road terrain, when more torque and/or slower speed is needed.
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