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Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD questions

dwm86dwm86 Member Posts: 3
edited May 2014 in Suzuki
I'm planning on buying a new subcompact SUV in the next 2 or 3 months. One of the vehicles I'm researching is the Grand Vitara (Toyota's RAV4 & Hyundai's Santa Fe are other options, although I might expand that list...). I have a few questions about the Four-Mode 4WD, which is quite intriguing to me.

My questions are...

1 - Is there a difference between "4H" and "4H-Lock" in terms of how well the vehicle performs in snow, slush, and ice? Particularly at speeds like 35 to 45 mph.

2 - Can a driver switch between "4H" and "4H-Lock" on dry pavement while driving at freeway speeds?

3 - Can you even drive in "4H-Lock" on dry pavement at freeway speeds (50 to 75mph)? Of course I realize that "4H" is prefered on dry pavement, but I'm curious if damage to the powertrain would occur from driving in "4H-Lock" on dry pavement.

What usually happens to me while driving to the mountains to go skiing is that road conditions change. The worst case situation is that the pavement in a sun exposed area is perfectly dry, and when the road goes around a corner into a shady area, the road will be covered with ice. Switching between "4H" and "4H-LOCK" on the fly really isn't a very good option. I would prefer to shift the vehicle into "4H-LOCK" while driving in the mountains, regardless of the road conditions (dry, wet, snow covered, ice, slush, etc.) Answers to my questions above will help me understand better what I can do with the GV while driving mountain roads.

Thank you for your time and help. Of course if any of the 2006 and 2007 GV owners have any experiences to share relative to my questions above, I would appreciate being able to read them.



  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    You may want to check out the 4WD & AWD systems explained and Toyota 4WD systems explained discussions too.
  • dwm86dwm86 Member Posts: 3
    Steve -

    Thanks for the reply, but that's not what I'm looking for. If I wanted to learn about 4WD & AWD in general, I would have gone to Wikipedia as that website generally has good info. (I searched the threads you linked for "Suzuki" and "Vitara" and didn't find anything specific to the '06 and '07 GV.)

    What I'm looking for is specific info about the 4WD system in the Grand Vitara. Here's an example of what I'm looking for, except this info is for the Mitsubishi Outlander... http://www.mitsubishiforum.com/m_109254/tm.htm

    If someone has info, even from the Grand Vitara's owner's manual, that would be appreciated.

    Thanks again.

  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    GV owners may be able to help in Suzuki Grand Vitara 2006 and newer.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    We use our '06 GV in exactly those conditions. We never use 4H lock on "normal" roads, including those steeper, twistier ones going up and down from ski hills. If the road is open to any traffic at all, the GV will make it with no problem, without using 4H lock.

    The only time we use 4H Lock is when doing even more demanding driving, such as steep unplowed logging roads. Even then, it's more to avoid getting stuck than to make it somewhere. No one has ever gotten farther than we have over two winters, and we've gotten much farther than an awful lot of other very capable vehicles.

    The times we've used 4Low Lock are even more rare, and in even worse conditions. The only time I've ever gotten stuck was when I slid off a paved road into a snowbank. Because we've never run out of traction on a road, I can't say that I've noticed any difference using 4H Lock and 4H normal. (This is all with the stock tires, btw.)

    Using 4H Lock on bare pavement will either cause damage, or the system has provisions to take it out of lock as it senses stress. You can switch it in and out of Lock at any speed, I think, as long as you have the steering pointed straight ahead.

    This is an extremely capable vehicle on slippery surfaces, and it's not just the drivetrain. It's also because the tires each carry 25% of the vehicle's weight, which minimizes the weight on each wheel at about 900lb, and is ideal for traction challenged driving.
  • dwm86dwm86 Member Posts: 3
    xostnot -

    That's quite an endorsement for the vehicle's 4x4 abilities, particularly with stock tires. I wasn't impressed with the tires I saw mounted on the new GV's at the dealership last weekend, btw, so I'm amazed with your results.

    When I visited the Suzuki dealership last weekend, the sales person tried to tell me the GV could be driven in "4WD-Lock" on dry pavement. I was obviously skeptical about that. I'm assuming from your reply that you don't see any response problems from the powertrain in "4H" mode on slippery surfaces.

    Thanks for taking time to reply. There's a lot about the GV that appeals to me as a new SUV/crossover buyer.

    tidester - Thanks for the link to the thread. I'll take a look at it.

  • hardwater_39hardwater_39 Member Posts: 1
    hi i have a 2002 suzuki grand vitara 4wd 2.5l automatic. out of the blue it statring shifting very hard. to the point that it will chirp the tires when it shifts from 1st to 2nd gear. some times it jerks 2 times between 1st and 2nd gear. not getting a check engine light. main power switch to cruise control has stopped working about the same time this problem ocurred. any help would be greatly appreciated thanks
  • bcurrallbcurrall Member Posts: 1
    Recent road conditions caused me to shift the transfer case into 4 w/d. The 4w/d light did not light and proceeding up the road neither did the 4 w/d work. Any ideas?
  • jackie1966jackie1966 Member Posts: 1
    Can anyone help me?
    I have grand vitara 02 2.0 td.
    Engine warning light keeps coming on and off.
    When on i have no power in accelerating , but then it goes off and motor is o.k.
    Any answers would be appreciated as it is driving me mad! :confuse:
  • elioelio Member Posts: 1
    i have a grand vitara 2003 .when i shift to 4wd drive the front weels doesn't lock ..
    can someone explane to me how the locks does work ..or if u know what could be the problem. thx a lot
  • bbranchbbranch Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Grand Vitara, which ordinarily I find to be a great little 4X4. However, when the temperature drops below about -10 Celsius, the pump activating the system won't work, and I can't get it into 4WD. I find this to be totally frustrating, as I am in Canada where we get long, cold winters with lots of snow, so if I can't use 4WD, the vehicle is useless to me.

    I can sometimes get the pump to activate by going from D to R and rocking the vehicle, but not always. If anyone knows a solution to this problem, I'd love to hear it.
  • llundllund Member Posts: 1
    Could use some help solving a mystery. Just bought an 02 Vitara. On the panel by the shifter is a button. It looks like this:
    Any idea what it does? The info on the transfer case is worn away so if it explains it, I can't read in any longer.
    Does anyone know what it does?
    Thanks, Lori
  • timmyp1timmyp1 Member Posts: 3
    We have a 2006 Grand Vitara AWD which does not have the ability to switch modes. It's automatic 4WD. We have replaced the stock Yokohama's with a more aggressive tread from Discount Tire called the Pathfinder SUV. Whenever we get 1/2" of rain or snow we start fish tailing as soon as we get up to 30mph. The dealership has tested the AWD and can get it to engage on the rack and says they don't see a problem. It's almost like the wheels can't decide which one should be active and it starts throwing you all over the place. This is very dangerous because once it starts fish tailing the vehicle feels out of control and it's only going to take that one time to catch the snow just right to kill us or someone else. Has anyone else experienced something like this? I'm going to the dealer today since we have a pretty good snow storm brewing and have them test drive it with all the snow on the road. I almost lost it this morning.
  • bm000092bm000092 Member Posts: 70
    Did they check your alignment ?
  • timmyp1timmyp1 Member Posts: 3
    We had the alignment done right after the new tires were put on. The car drives and handles great on dry pavement. It's only when there is a little resistance from rain or snow that the car feels out of control.
  • bm000092bm000092 Member Posts: 70
    For sure something is wrong, even with the crappy EOM Yoko's mine doesn't do that
  • timmyp1timmyp1 Member Posts: 3
    We are going to try and take it to another dealer to have them take a look. But with only 4 dealers in the Denver area we are going to have to drive a ways to get it looked at. Might drive it through the Summer and then trade it in.
  • malraymalray Member Posts: 1
    Acquired 2006 GV w/ V6 & 4WD. It will be a donor car with engine-gearbox(auto trans) moved to my Brooklands 280S sports car OR we may just rebuild it (it has been rolled. But it is driving (or was driving). We disengaged gearbox to put it on car dolly and tow it about 20 miles home. Now cannot figure how to reengage gearbox. SO cannot put in gear? Is there some code? No Owner Book inside car!
    THanks very much
  • xostnotxostnot Member Posts: 232
    Who knows what the rollover did to the car's electronics! I don't know if you've done this, but the engine has to be running with the transmission lever in Neutral when you switch in or out of "tow mode" or low range.
  • jdd7jdd7 Member Posts: 1
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    If you just bought it, then your dealer would probably want to help you out right away - unless, of course, it was a private sale.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
This discussion has been closed.