Truck Stuck In 4WD: What To Do?

Why is my truck stuck in 4WD, and how do I get out of this? Well, having a truck stuck in a gear can be very frustrating, but we will tell you how to deal with it.

When you drive on muddy roads or roads coerced with snow and ice, it becomes difficult to control your vehicle. This is where the four-wheel drive comes to the rescue. Its primary purpose is to provide extra traction while traveling on challenging terrains. 

It helps keep you and the passengers safe while traveling on any type of road conditions like mountain roads, forests, and other harsh terrains.

But sometimes, trucks tend to get stuck in 4WD low while traveling on rugged terrain. To avoid this, you need to always start the vehicle and then put the gear selector in neutral.

You have to wait 10-15 seconds and then change the shift gear to 4WD high. After this, wait for another 10 seconds and shift gear to 4WD low. If you don’t follow this process, the gear might get stuck.

Truck Stuck In 4WD

2 WD Vs 4WD Low Vs 4WD High: Where To Use What?

Two Wheel Drive

2 Wheel-drive trucks are quite common on the road. These trucks’ engines can power the front wheels at once. Consequently, it provides good fuel economy.

The trucks equipped with 2 WD are even lighter and less expensive compared to 4 WD trucks. You can drive a 2WD truck on dry pavement roads very well. 

But if the weather becomes bad, a 2WD truck can become a problem for you. You cannot effectively drive a truck on low-traction roads like mountainous roads and roads covered in snow and sleet. 

Four Wheel Drive Low

You will find this setting, i.e., 4 WD low on all four-wheel drive trucks. In this setting, the engine provides power to all four wheels of the truck simultaneously

When traveling on off-roads, in flooded water, or deep snow, you should use this setting. Try to drive slowly when you do the 4 WD setting because it uses more torque to enhance the traction.

But this setting puts a lot of stress on the engine and transmission. So, it’s not wise to drive continuously in this setting.

Four Wheel Drive High

The engine in 4WD high also provides power to all four wheels simultaneously. But you need to use it only in low traction but high-speed situations. 

For instance, if you are driving on a muddy road, you can use this setting. But the high four-wheel drive setting also stresses the engine and transmission more. That’s why it’s recommended to use it every time.

How Fast Can I Drive In 4 Wheel Drive

What Should I Do If I’m Stuck On 4WD low?

Most trucks are equipped with 4WD low to drive on challenging terrains like snow, off roads, and flooded water. Try to drive slowly and use more power while using this setting. Four-wheel drive low can become malfunction with time. Consequently, the truck can become stuck on a 4 WD low.

Well,its a common issue and you can follow the steps below when the vehicle is stuck in 4 WD low.

  • You have to put the gear in neutral, and then you have to wait for at least 10 seconds.
  • Shift the gear to 4 WD high and then wait for a minimum of 10 seconds
  • Now shift gear to 2WD.

If this will not work, then you can use another alternative method. 

  • Put the gear in neutral mode and leave for almost 10 seconds.
  • Now shift gear into 4 WD high and reverse the vehicle for nearly 60 feet.
  • Now shift the gear into neutral and then to 2WD.

If these two steps don’t work, you need to call a mechanic as soon as possible. Leaving the truck at 4 WD low for a long time can stress the engine, which is not good for the life of many vital components. 

Reasons For Truck To Get Stucked In 4WD low.

Below are a few reasons the truck can get stuck in 4WD low.

#1. Mechanical Issues

Mechanical issues can be the reason for truck stocking in four-wheel drive. For instance, if the brakes do not work effectively, then the truck will get stuck in 4 WD when you are trying to shift to a two-wheel drive.

#2. Transfer Case Is Not Properly Lubricated

The transfer case gains power from the transmission and transmits to the rear and front axles through drive shafts. But if the transfer case is not lubricated for a long time or the transfer case shift motor does not work, it can leave the truck stuck in a four-wheel drive low.

#3. Driver Error

If you are driving on a muddy road and suddenly change to 4 WD low without shifting the gear to 2WD, your truck can get stuck in 4WD.

#4. Worn Out Tires

If the tires are worn out or have cracks in various places, it can leave your truck stuck in 4WD. The tires will have insufficient traction to move the vehicle on snowy or muddy roads.

You need to replace tires to get rid of this solution.

#5. Low Power

If the truck engine works hard and cannot provide sufficient power to all four wheels, the vehicle can get stuck in 4WD.

Truck Stuck In 4WD

#6. Eletrical Issues

Electrical issues can create a significant problem while driving. For instance, if a wiring problem, blown fuse, or electric motor does not work, then it will allow your vehicle to stay in 4WD low. The vehicle cannot shift gears into higher mode.

#7. Malfunctioning Of Transfer Case Control Module

The work of the transfer case control module is to control the four-wheel drive of the truck electronically. But if the computer does not function properly, the truck will get stuck in 4WD.

#8. Manual Transmission Fluid Level Is Not Sufficient

A good and proper amount of transmission fluid enables you to change shifts smoothly. It even protects various transmission components from wear and tear. In short, this fluid is responsible for lubricating various transmission components so the engine can run smoothly.

But if the truck’s transmission fluid is too high or too low, then the vehicle gets stuck in 4WD.

#9. Transfer Case Issue 

The transfer case is the truck is responsible for transmitting power from the transmission to the rear and front axles of the vehicle. But if there is an improper fluid level in the transfer case, you will face the problem of a vehicle stuck in 4WD. Additionally, you will face the same issue if you use any wrong lubricant.

#10. Damaged Or Defective Actuator

The 4WD actuator is responsible for engaging and disengaging the four-wheel drive feature of the vehicle. But if this actuator doesn’t function properly, the vehicle gets stuck in 4WD low.

So, if you face a problem with a bad actuator, you can try some solutions. If you inspect that the actuator is too bad, it’s better to replace it.

Secondly, you can bypass the actuator. It means you must remove all the wires from the actuator and connect them to the 4WD. It will allow the vehicle’s four-wheel drive system to engage and disengage without the actuator.

Thirdly you can remove the wires from the actuator and remove it entirely from the truck. We recommend removing the actuator only if the other two options fail.

Truck Stuck In 4WD

#11. Differential Malfunctioning

The differential plays an essential role in shifting gears. The truck will get stuck in a 4 WD low if it does not operate normally.

There are a few signs which indicate a bad differential. For instance, if you notice grinding noise while turning the truck, it indicates some issue in the differential. The gears do not have good mesh inside the differential; hence, you face a problem. If you don’t pay attention, then the differential will ultimately fail.

Additionally, if you notice a lot of wear and tear on the tires, it indicates a bad differential. When the differential doesn’t function correctly, the wheel begins to rotate at varying speeds, resulting in a lot of wear and tear.

Sometimes the oil seal inside the differential gets dry with time and hence cannot lubricate the gears inside the differential. It can also be why a truck gets stuck in 4 WD low while driving on muddy or snowy roads. If you observe these symptoms, inspect the differential with a professional mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. What do you do if your truck is stuck in a 4-wheel drive?

Put your gear selector in neutral mode, wait for some seconds, and then shift to 4WD high mode. Wait for some seconds and then shift the truck gear to 2WD.

If the technique does not work, you can use the reversing method to get rid of the truck stuck in a 4-wheel drive. You have to reverse the vehicle into almost 60 feet and then change the gear into neutral mode and 2WD.

#2. How do I put my 4WD back into 2WD?

  • Slow down your vehicle.
  • Shift the gears into neutral mode.
  • Switch on the transfer control case into 2WD mode and then put gear.

#3. Can 4WD get stuck?

Yes, four-wheel drive, high or low, can get stuck. There are various reasons for getting stuck. For instance, when the actuator gets damaged or the differential doesn’t function properly, you will face this problem. Additionally, if the tires are worn out, or there is an electrical issue, the truck will be stuck in 4WD mode.

#4. How do I get my Toyota out of 4-wheel drive?

Most car owners use a 4WD setting while driving on snowy or off roads. But they want to come out of 4WD while parking, for which you need first to find out the 4WD knob and twist it to the 4L position. The 4LO and VSC off lights should switch on at that time, indicating that you are out of the 4-wheel drive.

Truck Stuck In 4WD

Wrap Up

Four-wheel drive has various advantages as it enables heavy vehicles like a truck to move easily on snowy roads, mountainous areas, forests, and muddy pavements. 

But sometimes, the truck can get stuck in 4 WD mode. There are various reasons, like bad actuator or differential, damaged tires, low transmission fluid, or brake issues. 

You need to inspect the problem and solve it accordingly. You may try to reverse the vehicle for almost a few feet and then change gears first to neutral and then to 2WD.

Thank you for reading this article.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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