Maintaining Your Four Wheel Drive

The four wheel drive system of a truck is what helps you to drive off road or on other types of uneven land. If you want to always be ready for action, you have to maintain the four wheel drive and understand how it works. Here are some tips for maintaining your four wheel drive.

Parts of a Truck Four-wheel Drive System

The chief parts of a four wheel drive system are its front and rear differentials and its transfer case. Also, some four wheel driver part time systems include locking hubs, as well as some consisting of more advanced electronic parts that could be hard for the average owner to manage, and which should be maintained by a specialist trained in truck four wheel drives.

These two differentials control the torque that goes from the transmission or the driveshaft to the wheels. One is between the vehicle’s front wheels and the other is between the rear wheels. The differentials in addition let the wheels turn at varying speeds when the driver goes around a turn.

Four-wheel Drive Differentials

Four Wheel DriveThe type of four wheel drive system characteristically put onto trucks that are four wheel drive is normally one that controls the rear wheel drive. In this case, the truck’s transmission connects directly to the transfer case and the drive shaft works the axle in the front, while the other one works the axle in the back.

When the driver engages this four wheel drive, its transfer case locks up the front driveshaft to the one in the rear and each axle gets an equal amount of engine torque. When speaking of the axles in the front and back, these are called open differentials. It’s best to understand the difference when planning the maintenance of your truck’s four wheel drive system.

An open differential divides the truck’s torque uniformly between each of the wheels it connects to and if one of the wheels leaves the ground, or ends up on a rough road, then its torque goes to zero. Since the torque is divided evenly, the other wheel also has no torque. These things are important when determining if a truck’s four wheel drive is in need of maintenance or not.

Making Improvements to the System

To make improvements, you can choose to install a limited slip rear differential, which ensures that both of the rear wheels can apply torque no matter what the situation is. Or, you can get a locking differential. This makes the real wheels lock together and ensures they can access all the torque even if a wheel goes off the road, which helps improve performance in an off road situation.

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