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4x4 vs. 4x2



  • What doickle is talking about (and I'll use a term from high school physics) is called: "Being able to accelerate to a stop". Talk about wheel spin.. I drive a 97 ranger regcab, shortbed, 4L, 5 speed auto, 4x2 - in New Hampshire of all places. 4.0 liters is too much for this little truck - and fun too. I do have 4 wheel ABS though. I swear by it for paved road driving. I have over 59700 miles on this truck and have only fishtailed twice in the winter. doickle is talking about: people don't know their own driving abilities, they don't know the capabilities AND limitations of their vehicles, and about tailoring their driving to the weather and road conditions. Folks need reminding that 4WD is not the security blanket that the car companies are selling it as.
  • It doesn't really matter what you have, 4x2 or 4x4, unless you understand the limitations of each. I have a 4x4 Sierra and as long as you understand how 4x4 works, it can help you out a lot of the time. But I've seen some people put their vehicle into 4 wheel drive and think that turns it into a god damned tank. Those are the people that end up in ditches.
  • I live in Delaware and we get about 3 snowstorms a year, most small snowfall amounts(1-3"). The last snowstorm we had I saw a few 4x4's sitting in the ditches along my drive home(35 mi. mostly highway). I watched a guy pass me, and as he tried to come into my lane, he lost it. Watched him go through snow fence, into weeds along highway. He was fine, just a bit shook up and mad, because his'4x4 couldn't handle something as little as snow.' I told him mine was doing just fine on the same road, and maybe he should learn to drive with it before he wrecks another $30,000 truck. Called me a smart@&^, but her got the ticket for driving too fast for conditions.
    Just thought I'd share that little story with you.
  • We have exactly the same problems here in rural Ontario. You can always tell the city boys on the highway, they think 4x4 equates to an ability to drive at summer speeds in blizzard conditions.

    All comes down to what you are used to, I see no more accidents here than I did when I lived in UK and we had (usually) an inch or so a year. Becuase people weren't used to it there were loads of accidents.

    I know of people locally who drive little 2wd cars and manage without trouble virtually all year because they have grown up with the conditions. Virtually all that will stop them is an unplowed road.
  • gobeangobean Posts: 8
    I live in Arizona so most of my 4x4ing is in the desert. I always go in in two wheel drive as far as I can, the 4x4 is my escape mode. Folks who don't have much outdoor experience tend to think 4x4 = unstoppable. NOT, as we all know.
    Now what is this "snow stuff ya'll are talking about". :-)
  • As I look forward to the prospect of saying goodbye to my yard for the next 5 months, I have one thing to say about your snow question.

    Shut Up, Shut Up, SHUT UP.

    Thank you
  • aaron_aaaron_a Posts: 29
    I am not sure what that snow stuff is either, can you please explain it to us Arizona People.
    so we can join in the the conversation
    I have heard it's white and falls from the sky..
    Oh well that what happens when you live in AZ...
    Wow it's going to be 88 in Tucson today... What wonderful weather :-)
  • Its going to be 88 here too - next June
  • blugillblugill Posts: 36
    Lets put it this way, I'm not impressed when I read that Jesus walked on water. I have driven miles on water, and I didn't get my tires wet.

    One of my friends has a trailer home on an island in the middle of a small lake. He likes watching you southerns drive the boat around the island several times. Sometimes you can hear them disscussing how they got it there. No, no airplanes or helecoptors. Not even a boat, just a simple semi tractor. (He has a class A license and a friend to borrow the tractor from)

    Andy Jordan: Please move elsewhere. We are too crowded up here as it is. I happen to like -25 tempatures. It is the heat that bothers me, and to me too hot is anything about 55.
  • I have no intention of moving elsewhere. And if you are too crowded you don't live near me. And if you had read many of my posts you would know that one of the reasons for getting my truck is to carry my dog sled around. Kinda need snow to get the most out of it.

    I am sorry if the wit and irony of my previous posts went over your head, I'll try better next time.
  • gobeangobean Posts: 8
    In reality us Arizonans know a bit about snow its not unheard of to go up north and play in the snow and back to the desert and go swimming. Snowblind and sunburn in the same day. (no pun intended on the snowblind)
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    Growing up, I always had a 4wd ('77 F-150 4wd, CJ-7, CJ-5, '73 Bronco). Needless to say, I played around with them alot in high school. Tested them to the limit. And had to call upon my 4wd friends to pull me out when I got stuck. That's how you learn the limits.

    Now we have a whole new batch of pickup/SUV buyers that never had 4wd when they grew up. Never learned the limits. Now when I'm crawling around when I know the conditions require it, even with 4wd, those new guys are sitting in the snow bank, pissed because their 4wd must have failed.

    The funniest thing I've ever seen is during the incredible freezing rain we get up here in Oregon. The wind can push parked cars across parking lots. You need to wear golf cleats to walk. There were 4wd pickups and SUVs every 100 yards piled up on the shoulder and center median. In those conditions, the ultimate vehicle (although you really shouldn't be driving at all, but you know humans, we always find a way to justify it) is a Subaru with studs.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    We had our first snow that stuck up here in Anchorage earlier this week and it's snowing again now. It's a great time of the year if you have 4wd. I've heard input from several people who live in snow country and own 2wd pickups, but there is no way that they are safer. Even with studded tires and sand bags, the potential to fish tail is much greater. It's also just harder to push all of that weight than to pull and push it. The 2wd trucks up here have trouble getting out into traffic safely and they drive much slower on the roads, almost to the point of being dangerous to other commuters. It's not that it can't be done, but it certainly can't be done as safely.

    With that said, I agree that you see alot of 4wd vehicles in the ditches. Experience and knowing your vehicles limitations are the key. Everyone should take their vehicles on empty rural side roads or large parking lots and just practice quick accelarations, fast turns, and braking on snow and ice. These are not things that you will necessarily want to do on crowded streets, but if you know what your vehicle can do, you have a much better chance of reacting in the right way and possibly avoiding an accident in an emergency situation if confronted with one, such as someone pulling out in front of you or sliding through an intersection.

    There are a few keys to helping you avoid getting into accidents and staying out of the ditch with a 4wd:

    First, remember that your vehicle doesn't stop any faster. You've got leave plenty of room in front of you, even if you're normally used to tailgating in the summer.

    Second, you can't regain control any better if you lose control at hwy speeds, so you have to make very gradual lane changes on the hwy and you need to build speed gradually. The unforgivable sin at hwy speeds is breaking traction.

    Third, when in doubt, take your foot off the gas and avoid hitting the brakes. If you lock the brakes (anti-lock brakes lock on ice), not only are you not stopping, you also have no control over the direction you are heading.

    If you keep these things in mind, the chances of putting your 4wd in a ditch or getting in an accident are greatly reduced. If ypu've got a 2wd rear wheel drive truck, there are way too many winter driving precautions to list. It can be done and is done all the time, but like I said, it's a lot more dangerous to you and the other drivers on the road.
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    Two-wheel drive is more tricky but for the vast majority out there who can't justify the price; they have to be more careful. That doesn't mean that they are any more dangerous. I've seen more reckless driving from 4x4s than two wheel drivers.
  • meredithmeredith Posts: 578
    "Magical thinking"....

    to repost one of my periodic rants on this subject:.... (climbing on his soapbox and risking a serious nosebleed from the height)

    we have a serious problem in this country with "magical thinking"....

    Afraid of being constrained by bad weather? Buy an SUV/4WD, ignore the operating limitations of the vehicle, then drive it as if there was no bad weather, and be amazed and outraged when the vehicle wrecks as a result of "driver error". After all you paid GOOD MONEY so you WOULDN'T HAVE TO THINK about slowing down or controlling the vehicle in the bad driving conditions. You PAID for the MAGIC TALISMAN and it DIDN'T WORK! How DARE it!

    Afraid of crime? Buy a gun! Which is of course just a tool. Don't bother to take shooting lessons or learn to use the tool safely and effectively. You paid GOOD MONEY for the MAGIC TALISMAN! When the criminal takes it away from you and you become another statistic?.... How DARE it!

    Alternatively, blame all crime on the possession of the MAGIC TALISMAN (i.e. gun) by the wrong sorts of people (you know who THEY are....) just ban the MAGIC TALISMAN and the crime will magically disappear. And when it doesn't... find an excuse for restricting the possession of MAGIC TALISMAN's even further. After all YOUR SIMPLISTIC MAGICAL THINKING" couldn't be WRONG could it?....

    Pant, pant, pant.... Climbing carefully down from the soap box, and wiping at the bloody nose...

    Front Porch Philosopher
    SUV, Pickups, & Aftermarket and Accessories Host
  • Brutus, couldn't agree with you more, great summary.

    Rocles, fair point, idiots are idiots regardless of what they drive.

    Meredith - wow, remind me not to upset you (again).
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    I really can't believe anyone actually argues that 2wd is just as safe as 4wd. Gee, I bet the army boys get their tanks and Hum-vees stuck during war games pretty often, maybe they should make them 2wd. An extreme example, but makes the point. If the two vehicles are driven the same way, I wonder which (4wd or 2wd) is going to be in more control? Because some people drive their 4wd trucks like idiots doesn't mean they arent safer than a 2wd.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    When factoring the extra cost of the 4wd vs the 2wd, remember to factor in the extra cost of the second set of tires that you buy for the winter driving and, of course, the periodic replacement of those tires. On the other hand, I guess your summer tires last longer. You still have to pay to have them mounted and balanced twice a year. I run on All-Terrains year round.

    The one factor that remains constant in 4wd and 2wd vehicles is the driver. When you see a 4wd in the ditch, do you suppose the driver would have been any less cocky in his 2wd? A ditch diver is a ditch diver.

    With that said, even the safest driver can end up in a ditch. It happens in snow country. I've been fortunate to stay out of the ditches. The last time I went into a ditch in the snow was about 19 years ago, with my rear wheel drive 70 GTO. I was an inexperienced 17 year old with way too many horses under the hood and way too much confidence behind the wheel. How does the Bob Dylan song go? I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.....
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    4x4s are a nice luxury but ultimately the driver determines the relative safety of the vehicle. I've owned a 4x4 personally only for a few years. I grew up driving two-wheel drive cars/trucks and learned the ropes the hard way in winter. The good thing is that I'm still as cautious as I was even with the 4x4.
    Drivers as a whole are getting worse regardless of safety features and conditions. It is entirely too easy to get a license let alone keeping it! It seems like technology can't catch up to the lowering standards of the drivers themselves.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    My first 4wd was an AMC Eagle in 1987. I drove it for about a year and then went to a front wheel drive Mazda 626 before getting my 92 F-250 4x4. When I got my license at 16 up here in Alaska, the two vehicles I drove were a rear wheel drive Chevette and a GMC full size van, and eventually the GTO. I've had lots of experience with rear wheel drives in snow country, which is why I'm bias to 4wd or front wheel drive. A front wheel drive with good rubber (and preferably studs) gets along almost as a good as a 4wd.
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