How to Shift a Honda CR-V Into AWD

by Robert Moore

The four-wheel drive system in your CR-V turns on and off automatically when needed as you drive -- just like your anti-lock brakes. There is no switch or lever for you to activate the system manually.

Pre-2012 Models

If you own a CR-V build before 2013, the all-wheel-drive system is fully hydraulic. The system has two hydraulic pumps -- one driven by the front wheels and one driven by the rear differential. Under normal conditions, the pumps work at the same speed. If you lose traction at the front wheels, the pressure difference between the two pumps activates a multi-disc clutch that splits the torque between the front and rear wheels. Once you regain traction, the hydraulic pressure between the two pumps equalizes and all torque is returned to the front wheels.

2012 and Newer Models

If you own a 2012 or newer CR-V, the on-board computer monitors the speed of each wheel as you drive. When it detects either of the front wheels losing traction, it automatically engages four-wheel drive. When four-wheel drive is active, power is split between the front and rear axles. The system automatically turns off once you have equal traction with all four wheels.

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