Should I Use 4H or 4L for Snow?

If you are confused about driving your 4WD or, let’s say, 4×4 on the snowy road, there is nothing to get embarrassed about, as not everyone can drive the 4WD in snow. So today, I have brought some significant gear knowledge that you should know before you leave for a super adventure. You must know these things because you can drive safely to your destination without trouble.

Moreover, before you leave your house out of excitement to see the mountains covered in snow, make sure that your beloved 4×4 is in its best mechanical condition. Check everything from your engine to the wind wipers, to the extra fuel bottle, and especially the condition of the 4×4 brakes and wheels. So tag along to add more facts and figures about driving your 4WD in snow.

Should I Use 4H or 4L for Snow?

4H Or 4L For Snow – Which Gear You Need To Use On Ice

What Is 4H And When To Use It?

4H is a gear in 4WD that is used for various reasons. The 4H gear provides ultimate traction to the wheels, which keeps the car in control. You put the gear to 4H when driving on a rocky or sandy surface with significant chances of a vehicle skidding.

But make sure the 4H should be turned on only when your speed is above 40 miles per hour. This gear helps the wheels to gain superior traction. And once the wheels attain proper traction and one feels comfortable while driving on a slippery road, you can lower the gear to 4L.

What Is 4L And When To Use it?

4L in the 4-wheel drive is used when driving slippery, snowy, or muddy roads. The 4L is turned on when the car’s speed is below 30 miles per hour, so you are driving extremely slowly. Moreover, if you press acceleration to speed up the 4ED while you are into 4L, then there are chances that your gearbox and engine might be damaged later.

So when you are stuck in deep snow or mud, it’s time that you turn the 4L gear. It provides traction to the tires and helps them spin to move out of that snow or mud. When you are stuck somewhere, you must first get energy superficially. So to attain this energy, you have to pull the 4L gear. You can also use it when you are driving on steep slopes.

Is 4H Or 4L Better For Snow?

It depends upon the situation. If it just started to snow and you are in a 4H gear, then you should speed up the car and reach the destination safely and securely. But if the snow has made the roads slippery enough, it is better to turn down the gear to 4L and reduce your speed as much as possible.

Also, if you have just started your engine in the snow, it’s better to apply the 4H gear first, and when the wheels attain specific traction and start moving through the snow without any skid, you can pull the 4H gear. But remember, you cannot go below 40 mph once you are into 4H gear.

How To Drive A Car With 4WD In The Snow

Driving on the snowy road is a technical task; not everyone can do so. If you have a 4WD, then it will aid your driving skills more than any other vehicle. You must keep a firm grip over the steering and control the brakes, as they can be needed any minute on such roads. Furthermore, you also need to calculate when you need an accelerator, and also don’t forget to keep a fair distance from the car in front of you to be on the safe side. To keep the car running smoothly in the snow, make sure your 4WD is in 4H gear.

Precautions to Take When Using 4H And 4L In Snow

Maintain Speed

While using 4H or 4L, you mustn’t go below or above the speed. By going above or below the speed required by the 4H and 4L, you can put pressure on the engine, providing unnecessary and unsuitable torque to the tire. This may lead to significant problems later on and damage your car’s engine and gearbox forever.

Keep Distance

Keep your distance from the car going in front of you. In the snowy/ hilly areas, your foot is over the accelerator, and the very next second, it’s on the break as the change of speed is required every second due to the turning and steep roads. You never know the driving skills of the person driving the car next to you. Thus you must keep an acceptable distance between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you.

Keep an Eye on Fuel

As in hilly areas, you can’t rely on maintaining the speed of your vehicle due to the twist, turns, and slopes; thus, the vehicle consumes more fuel than on ordinary roads. You will notice that your fuel tank hit halfway after a few kilometers. Furthermore, adventure awaits you at every turn. If you get stuck in a place due to heavy snowfall or heavy rainfall, and your vehicle’s fuel meter hits E, then what? So to be safe, keeping a spare fuel bottle in the car is better.


If you are planning to go for a trip to snowy areas, then keep some packets of commercial salts with you. Why? Well, it is said that the salt helps prevent the slipping of tires, and one can accelerate his vehicle smoothly. So whenever you feel you cannot handle the vehicle anymore, take out the salt packets, open them up, and sprinkle the salt all over the snow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Driving In Snow Areas Require Some Skills?

Yes, of course. Only some people can drive in snow, and one should know about controlling the mechanical features of the car and should especially know how to prevent the car from slipping. In case you are uncertain of your driving skills, then it’s better not to drive in such areas.

Can One Overspeed In The Snow?

People overspend on snow, but it is pretty dangerous for everyone. So, never over speed in the snow because roads are too slippery or are filled with snow to get your vehicle stuck. The best thing to do is to drive at an average speed the whole way.

Why In Snowy Areas keeping A Distance From The Vehicle Next To You Is Necessary?

It is necessary to keep your distance from the car in front of you because, in steep areas, the car next to you might fail to adapt traction, and while it happens and it starts slipping backward, you get a chance to move your car aside.


So now, as you know all about 4H and 4L, it’s time that you pull the gears appropriately and reach your destination safely. But let’s quickly recall here 4h is used over the slippery surface and with high speed. While 4L is used when you are stuck in the snow, mud, or something else. Also, don’t forget to check your car’s mechanical condition before you leave for the trip. Have a safe journey!