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How to Shift a Toyota Into 4WD

by Natalie Lyda

Four-wheel-drive capabilities allow a vehicle's motor to provide power to all four wheels, which helps improve traction in a variety of driving conditions including snow and mud. Toyota manufactures a wide array of four-wheel-drive vehicles including pickups and sport utility vehicles. Although the specific procedure for engaging four-wheel-drive varies by model year and make, a quick evaluation of your Toyota will help you determine the proper procedure for a specific vehicle.

Look over the interior of the Toyota four-wheel-drive vehicle. Determine whether the vehicle is equipped with a transfer lever or four-wheel-drive switch. Transfer levers look much like a common gear shifter and are typically on the floor of the vehicle near the center console. Four-wheel-drive switches might be comprised of buttons or turn dials that indicate when a vehicle is in two- or four-wheel drive.

Place the Toyota in park, and move either the transfer lever or switch to the "4WD" position. Watch for a four-wheel-drive indicator light to illuminate on the dashboard.

Lock the free wheel hubs, on the front of the vehicle, following the appropriate procedure. Many newer Toyotas are equipped with automatic locking hubs, meaning once the gear box is engaged in four-wheel drive, the hubs will lock themselves. Otherwise, power locking hubs require the driver to push an additional button in the interior of the vehicle to facilitate the locking of the hubs. A third option, common in older model years, is that hubs be manually locked. To manually lock a Toyota's hubs, exit the vehicle and turn the switch on the hub assembly of each front wheel 180 degrees using your fingers or a flat-head screwdriver.

Test drive the vehicle to ensure four-wheel drive has engaged. If you feel the vehicle is not handling as it should, repeat the procedures to engage four-wheel drive for your vehicle.

Warning

  • Driving in conditions that necessitate the use of four-wheel drive requires the vehicle operator to pay close attention to road conditions and drive at speeds safe for the conditions. Failing to do so might increase the probability of an accident.

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About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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