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Be prepared
Always check your vehicle before going off-road. Make sure your battery is fastened, all hoses are in good condition and oil and fluids are topped off, including fuel.
Be on the lookout
Once off-road, put your vehicle in 4WD whenever you anticipate a situation that will demand the additional traction. It's difficult to engage 4WD after you get stuck.
Take it easy
Speed and power are not required in rough off-road driving. In low-range 4WD, the low gearing and low speed of Jeep® vehicles at idle will generally pull you over obstacles.
Mud
Don't shift to a lower gear than necessary to maintain momentum. Over-revving the engine can spin the wheels and traction will be lost. If you begin to lose traction in mud, turn your steering wheel back and forth rapidly. This will generally help the wheels bite into fresh terrain and pull you through. If traction is lost, STOP. Wheel spinning will just dig you in deeper. The key is to maintain forward momentum.
Sand
Also be sure that all four tires are in good condition and have the proper tire pressure. Avoid travelling alone, especially into unfamiliar territory.
Hills
NOTE: Never drive up a hill at an angle. If the hill is very steep and you don't feel confident that you or your vehicle can make it up, don't attempt it. Never get sideways on a steep slope as this can lead to vehicle instability. Off-roading + can be very challenging. Remember, go as slow as possible. Use common sense with safety being the foremost concern.
Rock Crawling
Dropping tire pressure 3-5 pounds improves traction and helps avoid tire punctures. (Return to normal pressure after use in these conditions.) Remember, the ideal speed for rock crawling is 1-3 miles per hour.
Tread lightly
Leave it better than you found it. Observe posted signs and stay on trails and recreation areas approved for off-roading . Use your good judgment in protecting the beauty and solitude of the area.
FAQ and Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions
Full of questions but short on time? Take a deep breath — we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions so you can spend less time at your computer and more time on the trails.
What is the difference between full-time and part-time 4x4 systems?

Full-time 4x4 systems utilize a center differential, which enables the front and rear driveshafts to turn at different speeds, thereby allowing engagement on dry surfaces for normal driving conditions. A part-time system does not employ a center differential and locks the front and rear driveshafts together. With a part-time system, 4x2 mode should be used during normal driving conditions and 4x4 mode is to be used only when off-road or on wet or slippery surfaces.

Why can't you use a part-time 4x4 system on dry surfaces?

Part-time 4x4 systems effectively lock the front and rear driveshafts together, forming a single driving unit that does not allow for differential action between the front and rear driveshafts. Driveline noise and binding (Crow Hop) may occur when operated especially on dry surfaces or in turns. This binding can lead to heat buildup and early part failure.

Why does "Crow Hop" occur?

When a vehicle turns, each wheel rotates on a different radius to the turning circle, thus traveling at different distances and speeds. If the vehicle's front and rear axles are locked together and are turning on dry surfaces, the difference in wheel speed sometimes results in driveline binding that is released with a "bang" or vehicle "shudder" when one of the tires forcibly loses traction.

Can I shift into 4x4 High-Range at any speed?

On Jeep® 4x4 systems, shifting into 4x4 High-Range can be done with the vehicle stopped or in motion. If the vehicle is in motion, shifts can be made up to 55 mph (88 km/h).

How long can I drive in 4x4 High-Range?

With a part-time system, prolonged driving in 4x4 High-Range is recommended only for wet, loose or slippery road surfaces. With a full-time system, you need not worry about switching to 4x2 mode when road surfaces improve.

How fast can I drive in 4x4 High-Range?

You should not go faster than road conditions permit.

What is 4x4 Low-Range?

4x4 Low-Range is a mode specifically designed for temporary use when additional traction and low-speed maximum pulling power is desired. Front and rear driveshafts are locked together and engine power is sent through another set of gears to multiply torque. Avoid attempting to engage or disengage Low-Range with the vehicle moving faster than 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h) and do not use this mode for normal driving.

Can I shift into 4x4 Low-Range at any speed?

No. With the vehicle rolling at 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h), shift an automatic transmission to Neutral or depress the clutch pedal on a manual transmission. While the vehicle is coasting at 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h), shift the transfer case lever firmly through Neutral and into the low-range position.

How fast can I drive in 4x4 Low-Range?

Do not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h).

Can I shift into 4x4 Low-Range when stopped?

Shifting into or out of 4x4 Low-Range is possible with the vehicle completely stopped; however, difficulty may occur due to the teeth of the gears not being properly aligned. The preferred method to engage the low-range is to slow down to 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h) and put the transmission in Neutral. While still moving forward, move the shift lever firmly into the four-low position. Then return the transmission to the desired gear. Refer to your owner's manual for detailed instructions.

What if I never use the Selec-Terrain® switch?

In AUTO mode, the vehicle will automatically select the correct drive system for the condition it senses.

Does the vehicle need to be parked or moving to operate the Quadra-Lift® suspension or Selec-Terrain® system?

The vehicle can be in either Park or moving to operate the Quadra-Lift® air suspension or Selec-Terrain® settings. When the vehicle is moving, the driver can manually select the appropriate height setting of the Quadra-Lift system or have the vehicle select the optimal setting automatically. Drivers can also use the Selec-Terrain® control dial to optimize drivetrain and brake control systems for a specific terrain. There are speed thresholds for the various Quadra-Lift® height settings. For instance, the driver can make the request for Park mode at speeds below 12 mph. The system begins lowering to Park height when the vehicle speed is below 6 mph. This feature ensures that Park height is achieved prior to exiting the vehicle. Off-road heights are also speed-limited on the upper end to maintain ride comfort objectives.

Glossary
A

Approach Angle

Starting from level ground, this is the degree of slope a vehicle can approach without scraping or hitting the front undercarriage. It's a great indication of the ability to navigate severe off-road terrain like boulders and logs. A short front overhang produces high angles of approach, thus increasing off-road ability.

Axle Articulation

The ability of one axle to move relative to the chassis. It is the measure of the ease with which tires stay in contact with the ground (and retain traction) on very uneven terrain.

Axle Differential

An axle differential is a gear system located in the center housing of an axle assembly designed to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.

Axle

A rigid piece of metal that connects the front and/or rear wheels together. The suspension components attach to the axle and to the vehicle's body frame.

B

Brake Traction Control System

Transfers torque from one wheel to another on the same axle when wheel slip conditions are detected.

Breakover Angle

The degree of slope that defines the largest ramp or hill that a vehicle can travel over without scraping against the frame or underbody components.

C

Center Differential — Geared

A gear system located inside the transfer case of full-time 4x4 vehicles. It is used to distribute drive torque to the front and rear driveshafts and allows the front and rear wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.

Clutch Plates

A series of alternating steel plates within the transfer case of many on-demand or automatic 4x4 systems. One set of plates is splined to the clutch assembly hub of the rear driveshaft; the other set is splined to the clutch drum attached to the front driveshaft. The clutch housing is usually filled with a viscous, silicone-type fluid that clings to the discs and, when heated by the friction of slipping, instantly expands to help transfer torque. The engagement of clutch plates can also be controlled electronically.

Coil Springs

A coil of flexible metal that can be compressed or stretched along its centerline axis without permanent deformation. Coil springs support the weight of the vehicle while allowing the wheels to travel up and down over bumps.

Continuously Variable Transaxle

A stepless transmission that uses a sheave clutch to transmit engine torque.

Crawl Ratio

Essential for serious off-road treks involving steep hill climbs and descents, this is the final drive ratio of a vehicle in Low-Range and in lowest gear. It allows Jeep ® vehicles to "creep" along (without depressing the accelerator) at very low speeds. Essentially, the vehicle does all the work. Crawl ratio is determined by this formula: first gear ratio x rear axle ratio x Low-Range 4x4 ratio. The higher the number, the better the off-road capabilities.

Crow Hop

Vehicle shudder and tire scuffing due to a binding condition in the driveline. Usually caused by operating in basic 4x4 or part-time 4x4 modes on dry pavement.

D

Departure Angle

When returning to level ground from a descent, this angle indicates the degree of slope from which a vehicle can depart without scraping or hitting the rear undercarriage.

Differential

A gear system that transmits torque to the drive wheels, while also allowing the wheels to rotate at different speeds when cornering. 4x4 vehicles have differentials in both the front and rear axles.

Driveshaft

Shaft connecting the transmission output shaft to the differential drive pinion shaft. Four-wheel-drive vehicles employing this system add a second driveshaft from the transfer case to the front differential.

E

Electronically controlled Coupling

Manages the torque split from front to rear with no driver input needed for smooth and automatic performance.

F

Fixed Yoke Output Assembly

Effectively handles the extra output from the transfer case and helps to ensure smooth and durable driveline operation.

Four-Wheel Drive

A drivetrain that utilizes a transfer case to distribute engine power between the front and rear axles in order to drive all four wheels. Full-time four-wheel-drive systems utilize a center differential, which enables the front and rear driveshafts to turn at different speeds, thereby allowing engagement on dry pavement for normal driving conditions. A part-time system does not employ a center differential and, during normal driving conditions, must operate only in two-wheel drive. With a part-time system, the four-wheel-drive mode is to be used only when off-road or on wet or slippery surfaces. Front Axle Disconnect

Front Axle Disconnect

A mechanical or vacuum-operated component used primarily on four-wheel-drive models to connect and disconnect drive torque to the front axle. When shifting from four-wheel drive to two-wheel drive, this system disengages the front axle from the front driveline, so that the front wheels aren't turning the front driveline unnecessarily. This reduces unnecessary front driveline wear, noise and fuel consumption.

G

Ground Clearance

Don't drag your belly through the mud—just clear nasty logs, rocks and uneven ground without sustaining undercarriage damage. Jeep ® Trail Rated ® 4x4 vehicles feature optimized approach, departure and breakover angles to keep you in the clear.

H

High-Range

A 4x4 mode used for on-road or light off-road use.

Hill Descent Control

This system uses the antilock brake system braking to control the car's motion downhill. Also allows a smooth and controlled hill descent in rough terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal. If the vehicle accelerates without the driver input, the system will automatically apply the brakes to slow down to the desired vehicle speed

J

Jounce/Rebound

The motion of a wheel that compresses its suspension. If a wheel is at full jounce, it is at the upper limits of its travel. The opposite of jounce is rebound — or wheel movement that decompresses a vehicle's suspension.

L

Limited-Slip Differential

Provides the same basic functions as an axle differential, but with an added advantage: when the drive wheel begins spinning as a result of being on a slippery surface, a limited-slip differential automatically transfers torque to the opposite wheel to help improve traction.

Locking Differential

Provides consistent traction by "locking" the axle shafts together when the driver wants to do it. Locking differentials do not allow for wheel speed differences and must not be used on dry, paved roads.

Low Crawl Speed

The "crawl ratio" is the lowest gear ratio in a vehicle and is determined by multiplying the first gear ratio by the low-range ratio and the axle ratio.

Low-Range

A 4x4 mode used for severe off-road conditions.

M

Maneuverability

Athletic. Agile. Trail Rated ®. Jeep ® 4x4 vehicles have the footwork to navigate narrow gaps, dodge emergency situations and avoid cosmetic damage to underbody sills thanks to precision steering and optimized wheelbases. Even gazelles don't move like this.

N

Neutral

When the shifter is in this position, the front and rear axles spin freely. Sometimes used for towing a Jeep ® vehicle behind another vehicle (such as a motor home), so that uncoupling the driveshafts is not required. Also used in the process of shifting into 4-Low.

O

Open-Center Differential

Located in the transfer case on some full-time four-wheel-drive vehicles, this component works in the same way as an open differential in the axles, but is of a more compact design. This component employs a planetary gearset, with planetary gears that revolve around the sun gear and inside the ring gear.

P

Power-Robbing Friction

Surface resistance to relative motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.

R

Running Ground Clearance

The distance from the ground to the lowest point between the axles.

S

Shift-on-the-Fly

The ability to shift from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive while the vehicle is moving

Skid Plate

Helps protect the undercarriage from damage when driving off-road.

Suspension Travel

From full jounce to full rebound, this is the amount of vertical wheel movement allowed by the suspension.

T

Tow Hooks

Heavy-duty forged steel hooks in the front and rear of a vehicle that provide attachment points for snatch-em straps and winch cables (see the Off-Road Driving Tips section) should you get stuck.

Traction

Traction in 4x4 is equivalent to grip on Asphalt. Trail Rated ® traction helps you stay in control on untamed terrain, slippery (wet, mud, snow) conditions and on steep grades.

Transfer Case

Mounted behind and driven by the vehicle transmission, the transfer case transmits power to the front and rear driveshafts in 4x4 Jeep ® vehicles and offers high and low range. For the full line of Jeep transfer cases, see the Get Ready section.

Transmission

A mechanism that transfers torque into usable driving power through the use of gear sets. These gear sets multiply engine torque in varying amounts to meet specific driving demands.

Two-Wheel Drive

When the shifter is in this position, the front axle spins freely while power is sent to the rear axle and wheels, which then drive the vehicle.

V

Viscous Coupling

A speed-sensitive device located in the transfer case that transmits drive torque between the front and rear driveshafts when wheel slip occurs. Viscous couplings are typically used on all-wheel-drive vehicles and vehicles with automatic and on-demand four-wheel-drive systems.

Approach Angle

Starting from level ground, this is the degree of slope a vehicle can approach without scraping or hitting the front undercarriage. It's a great indication of the ability to navigate severe off-road terrain like boulders and logs. A short front overhang produces high angles of approach, thus increasing off-road ability.

Axle Articulation

The ability of one axle to move relative to the chassis. It is the measure of the ease with which tires stay in contact with the ground (and retain traction) on very uneven terrain.

Axle Differential

An axle differential is a gear system located in the center housing of an axle assembly designed to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.

Axle

A rigid piece of metal that connects the front and/or rear wheels together. The suspension components attach to the axle and to the vehicle's body frame.

Brake Traction Control System

Transfers torque from one wheel to another on the same axle when wheel slip conditions are detected.

Breakover Angle

The degree of slope that defines the largest ramp or hill that a vehicle can travel over without scraping against the frame or underbody components.

Center Differential — Geared

A gear system located inside the transfer case of full-time 4x4 vehicles. It is used to distribute drive torque to the front and rear driveshafts and allows the front and rear wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.

Clutch Plates

A series of alternating steel plates within the transfer case of many on-demand or automatic 4x4 systems. One set of plates is splined to the clutch assembly hub of the rear driveshaft; the other set is splined to the clutch drum attached to the front driveshaft. The clutch housing is usually filled with a viscous, silicone-type fluid that clings to the discs and, when heated by the friction of slipping, instantly expands to help transfer torque. The engagement of clutch plates can also be controlled electronically.

Coil Springs

A coil of flexible metal that can be compressed or stretched along its centerline axis without permanent deformation. Coil springs support the weight of the vehicle while allowing the wheels to travel up and down over bumps.

Continuously Variable Transaxle

A stepless transmission that uses a sheave clutch to transmit engine torque.

Crawl Ratio

Essential for serious off-road treks involving steep hill climbs and descents, this is the final drive ratio of a vehicle in Low-Range and in lowest gear. It allows Jeep ® vehicles to "creep" along (without depressing the accelerator) at very low speeds. Essentially, the vehicle does all the work. Crawl ratio is determined by this formula: first gear ratio x rear axle ratio x Low-Range 4x4 ratio. The higher the number, the better the off-road capabilities.

Crow Hop

Vehicle shudder and tire scuffing due to a binding condition in the driveline. Usually caused by operating in basic 4x4 or part-time 4x4 modes on dry pavement.

Departure Angle

When returning to level ground from a descent, this angle indicates the degree of slope from which a vehicle can depart without scraping or hitting the rear undercarriage.

Differential

A gear system that transmits torque to the drive wheels, while also allowing the wheels to rotate at different speeds when cornering. 4x4 vehicles have differentials in both the front and rear axles.

Driveshaft

Shaft connecting the transmission output shaft to the differential drive pinion shaft. Four-wheel-drive vehicles employing this system add a second driveshaft from the transfer case to the front differential.

Electronically controlled Coupling

Manages the torque split from front to rear with no driver input needed for smooth and automatic performance.

Fixed Yoke Output Assembly

Effectively handles the extra output from the transfer case and helps to ensure smooth and durable driveline operation.

Four-Wheel Drive

A drivetrain that utilizes a transfer case to distribute engine power between the front and rear axles in order to drive all four wheels. Full-time four-wheel-drive systems utilize a center differential, which enables the front and rear driveshafts to turn at different speeds, thereby allowing engagement on dry pavement for normal driving conditions. A part-time system does not employ a center differential and, during normal driving conditions, must operate only in two-wheel drive. With a part-time system, the four-wheel-drive mode is to be used only when off-road or on wet or slippery surfaces. Front Axle Disconnect

Front Axle Disconnect

A mechanical or vacuum-operated component used primarily on four-wheel-drive models to connect and disconnect drive torque to the front axle. When shifting from four-wheel drive to two-wheel drive, this system disengages the front axle from the front driveline, so that the front wheels aren't turning the front driveline unnecessarily. This reduces unnecessary front driveline wear, noise and fuel consumption.

Ground Clearance

Don't drag your belly through the mud—just clear nasty logs, rocks and uneven ground without sustaining undercarriage damage. Jeep ® Trail Rated ® 4x4 vehicles feature optimized approach, departure and breakover angles to keep you in the clear.

High-Range

A 4x4 mode used for on-road or light off-road use.

Hill Descent Control

This system uses the antilock brake system braking to control the car's motion downhill. Also allows a smooth and controlled hill descent in rough terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal. If the vehicle accelerates without the driver input, the system will automatically apply the brakes to slow down to the desired vehicle speed

Jounce/Rebound

The motion of a wheel that compresses its suspension. If a wheel is at full jounce, it is at the upper limits of its travel. The opposite of jounce is rebound — or wheel movement that decompresses a vehicle's suspension.

Limited-Slip Differential

Provides the same basic functions as an axle differential, but with an added advantage: when the drive wheel begins spinning as a result of being on a slippery surface, a limited-slip differential automatically transfers torque to the opposite wheel to help improve traction.

Locking Differential

Provides consistent traction by "locking" the axle shafts together when the driver wants to do it. Locking differentials do not allow for wheel speed differences and must not be used on dry, paved roads.

Low Crawl Speed

The "crawl ratio" is the lowest gear ratio in a vehicle and is determined by multiplying the first gear ratio by the low-range ratio and the axle ratio.

Low-Range

A 4x4 mode used for severe off-road conditions.

Maneuverability

Athletic. Agile. Trail Rated ®. Jeep ® 4x4 vehicles have the footwork to navigate narrow gaps, dodge emergency situations and avoid cosmetic damage to underbody sills thanks to precision steering and optimized wheelbases. Even gazelles don't move like this.

Neutral

When the shifter is in this position, the front and rear axles spin freely. Sometimes used for towing a Jeep ® vehicle behind another vehicle (such as a motor home), so that uncoupling the driveshafts is not required. Also used in the process of shifting into 4-Low.

Open-Center Differential

Located in the transfer case on some full-time four-wheel-drive vehicles, this component works in the same way as an open differential in the axles, but is of a more compact design. This component employs a planetary gearset, with planetary gears that revolve around the sun gear and inside the ring gear.

Power-Robbing Friction

Surface resistance to relative motion, as of a body sliding or rolling.

Running Ground Clearance

The distance from the ground to the lowest point between the axles.

Shift-on-the-Fly

The ability to shift from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive while the vehicle is moving

Skid Plate

Helps protect the undercarriage from damage when driving off-road.

Suspension Travel

From full jounce to full rebound, this is the amount of vertical wheel movement allowed by the suspension.

Tow Hooks

Heavy-duty forged steel hooks in the front and rear of a vehicle that provide attachment points for snatch-em straps and winch cables (see the Off-Road Driving Tips section) should you get stuck.

Traction

Traction in 4x4 is equivalent to grip on Asphalt. Trail Rated ® traction helps you stay in control on untamed terrain, slippery (wet, mud, snow) conditions and on steep grades.

Transfer Case

Mounted behind and driven by the vehicle transmission, the transfer case transmits power to the front and rear driveshafts in 4x4 Jeep ® vehicles and offers high and low range. For the full line of Jeep transfer cases, see the Get Ready section.

Transmission

A mechanism that transfers torque into usable driving power through the use of gear sets. These gear sets multiply engine torque in varying amounts to meet specific driving demands.

Two-Wheel Drive

When the shifter is in this position, the front axle spins freely while power is sent to the rear axle and wheels, which then drive the vehicle.

Viscous Coupling

A speed-sensitive device located in the transfer case that transmits drive torque between the front and rear driveshafts when wheel slip occurs. Viscous couplings are typically used on all-wheel-drive vehicles and vehicles with automatic and on-demand four-wheel-drive systems.