Should I Use 4H or 4L for Snow? – Detailed Guide

Should I Use 4H or 4L for Snow

If you are confused about driving your 4WD or let’s say 4×4 on the snowy road then there is nothing to get embarrassed about at all as not everyone can drive the 4WD in snow. So today I have brought some major gear knowledge that you should know before you leave for a super adventure. It is essential that you know these things because you can drive safely to your destination without encountering any trouble.

Moreover, before you leave your house out of excitement to see the mountains covered in snow, make sure that your beloved 4×4 is in its best mechanical condition. Check each and everything from your engine to the wind wipers, to the extra fuel bottle, and especially the condition of the 4×4 brakes and wheels. So tag along to add more facts and figures about driving your 4WD in snow. Read the guide, on how to put the Jeep in 4 Wheel drive.

4H or 4L for Snow – Which Gear You Need to Use on Ice

Should I Use 4H or 4L for Snow

What is 4H and When to Use it?

4H is a gear in 4WD which is used for various reasons. You put the gear to 4H when you are driving on a rocky surface or some sandy surface where there are major chances of a vehicle skidding. The 4H gear provides ultimate traction to the wheels which keep the car in control. 

But make sure the 4H should be turned on only when your speed is above 40 miles per hour. This gear helps the wheels to gain premium traction. And once the wheels attain proper traction and one feels comfortable, while driving on a slippery road, you can even lower down the gear to 4L. 

What is 4L and When to Use it?

4L in the 4-wheel drive is used when you are driving on slippery, snowy, or muddy roads. The 4L is turned on when the speed of the car is below 30 miles per hour which means you are driving extremely slowly. Moreover, if you press acceleration to speed up the 4ED while you are into 4L then there are chances that your gearbox and engine might be damaged later.

So when you are stuck in deep snow or mud, it’s time that you turn the 4L gear. It provides traction to the tires and helps them spin to move out of that snow or mud. Obviously, when you are stuck somewhere you need to get energy from a very low level first. So to attain this energy you have to pull the 4L gear. You can also use it when you are driving on steep slopes.

Is 4H or 4L Better for Snow?

It depends upon the situation. If it just started to snow and you are on a 4H gear then it’s better that you speed up the car and reach the destination safely and securely. But if the snow has made the roads slippery enough then it is better to turn down the gear to 4L and reduce your speed as much as possible. 

Also, if you have just started your engine in the snow then it’s better to apply 4H gear first and when the wheels attain certain traction and start moving through the snow without any skid then you can pull the 4H gear. But keep in mind you cannot go below the speed of 40 mph once you are into 4H gear.

How to Drive a Car with 4WD in the Snow?

It is a pretty technical task to drive on the snowy road and not everyone can do so. If you have a 4WD then it will aid your driving skills more than any other vehicle. You just have to keep a firm grip over the steering and have control over the brakes as they can be needed any minute on such roads.

Furthermore, you also need to calculate when you need an accelerator, and also don’t forget to keep a fair distance from the car in front of you, just to be on the safe side. Lastly, always keep your 4WD in 4H gear to keep the car going on smoothly in the snow.

Precautions to Take When Using 4H and 4L in Snow

Precautions to Take When Using 4H and 4L in Snow

1. Maintain Speed

While you are using 4H or 4L, it is necessary that you don’t go below or above the speed. By going above or below the speed required by the 4H and 4L you can put pressure over the engine which will provide unnecessary and unsuitable torque to the tire. This may lead to some major significant problems later on and can damage your car’s engine and gearbox forever.

2. Keep Distance

Keep your distance from the car going in front of you. In the snowy/ hilly areas your foot is over the accelerator and the very next second it’s on the break as the change of speed is required every second due to the turning and steep roads.

You never know about the driving skills of the person driving the car next to your vehicle. Thus it is necessary that you keep a fine distance between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you.

3. Keep an Eye on Fuel

As in hilly areas, you can’t rely on maintaining the speed of your vehicle due to the twist turns and slopes, and thus the vehicle consumes more fuel than on ordinary roads. You will notice that your fuel tank hit halfway just after a few kilometers.

Moreover, you never know what adventure brings for you, if due to heavy snowfall or heavy rainfall you get stuck in a place and your vehicle’s fuel meter hits E, then what? So to be on the safe side it is better that you keep a spare bottle of fuel within the car.

Additional Tip for 4H or 4L Users

If you are planning to go for a trip to snowy areas then keep some packets of commercial salts with you. Why? Well, it is said that the salt helps prevent the slipping of tires and one can accelerate his vehicle smoothly. So whenever you feel you cannot handle the vehicle anymore, just take out the salt packets, open them up, and sprinkle the salt all over the snow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is driving in snow areas require some skills?

Yes, of course. Not everyone can drive in snow and one should definitely know about controlling the mechanical features of the car and should especially know how to prevent the car from slipping. If you are not sure about your driving skills then it’s better that you don’t drive in such areas.

Can one overspeed in the snow?

People overspeed in snow but it is quite dangerous for everyone. So I would say that Never ever over speed in the snow because roads are either too slippery or are filled with snow to get your vehicle stuck. It is better to go on average speed throughout the trip.

Why in snowy areas keeping a distance from the vehicle next to you is necessary?

It is necessary to keep your distance from the car going in front of you because in steep areas the car next to you might fail to adapt traction and while it happens and it starts slipping backward, you get a chance to move your car aside.

Final Thoughts

So now as you know all about 4H and 4L, it’s time that you pull the gears appropriately and reach your destination safely. But let’s have a quick recall here, 4h is used over the slippery surface and with high speed.

While 4L is used when you are stuck in the snow or mud or something else. Also, don’t forget to check your car’s mechanical condition before you leave for the trip. Have a safe journey!

Hi! Roy Penny here, a passionate adventurer who has been driving jeeps all his life. My passion for the thrill of off-roading has allowed me to learn what modern-day jeeps have to offer. Exploring the popular trails and seeking thrills in the unexplored terrains allowed me to discover the true intimacy nature had to offer and become an avid learner of Off-roading with Jeeps. Hence, I decided to create this blog to share my experiences of jeep riding and off-roading with the world. My only goal is to provide the readers with quality reliable information about jeeps.