Toyota 4WD

Full-time and Part-time Toyota Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) information for the 2017 Tundra, 2017 Tacoma, 2017 4Runner, 2017 Land Cruiser, and 2017 Sequoia

The off-road heritage in Toyota legendary four-wheel drive (4WD) systems stretches back 65 years, with the introduction of the Toyota Land Cruiser. For the Pacific Northwest’s most ardent adventure seekers, 4WD is simply not optional. Whether you choose full-time 4WD in Toyota’s luxury-trimmed SUV line-up or part-time 4WD in the maximum utility models, you’re assured of a 4WD system that will tackle the toughest backroads in Oregon.

So let’s talk about what makes Toyota 4WD systems great and why you might choose one system over the other. Unlike many All-wheel Drive (AWD) systems, which transfer power between the front and rear axles, true 4WD systems can manage and send available torque to all four individual corners of your vehicle. And while part-time 4WD vehicles are designed to be driven in 4WD mode only in off-road or slippery conditions, Toyota’s full-time 4WD rigs are designed to be operated on all terrains while all four wheels are engaged with the powertrain.

To better understand the difference in the systems, look no further than a key component, the center differential. When a vehicle is turning, each wheel is on a different path, hence the term “differential.” You can see this in the tracks your car makes when turning in mud or snow; so each wheel has to turn at a different speed. A differential manages the amount of torque that is delivered to the wheels or axles. Nearly all vehicles have front and rear differentials, which allow outside wheels to turn at a different speed than inside wheels.

The center differential allows the front and rear axles to turn at different speeds when the front and rear wheels need to turn at different speeds as well. Toyota’s full-time 4WD system continuously delivers power to the front and rear axles while allowing the vehicle to maneuver more smoothly on dry pavement. A part-time 4WD system doesn’t use a center differential; instead it uses only a locking transfer case. By contrast to full-time 4WD, when a part-time 4WD system is in 4WD mode, the front and rear axles are locked and cannot turn at different speeds. As a result, a part-time 4WD vehicle should not be driven on dry pavement with 4WD engaged, as the vehicle will not corner smoothly. Put another way, driving a part-time 4WD vehicle with 4WD-mode (high or low) enabled WILL cause expensive damage to your vehicle.

One advantage to the part-time 4WD in the Tacoma, Tundra, and certain 4Runner models, is that the driver decides when 4WD is needed. If you know your environment and your vehicle’s capabilities (and limitations) well enough, this might be the right system for you. Since these vehicles are normally in RWD (rear-wheel drive) mode, there are some fuel savings versus vehicles running with all four wheels engaged.

For simplicity and smoother driving, consider full-time 4WD. No driver engagement is needed in slippery environments when a vehicle is always in 4WD, such as in Toyota’s Land Cruiser, Sequoia, and 4Runner Limited. They have a center differential so that the vehicle can be driven anywhere with 4WD engaged. For extremely low-traction environments, some full-time 4WD vehicles have a transfer case as well, allowing the driver to shift into lower gear ranges for maximum torque at the wheels.

Transfer case shifting is accomplished using an electronic mode selector in the cabin. Some Toyota 4WD vehicles even have “Multimode” selectors, allowing for different vehicle handling under various, even more extreme, low-traction situations. For instance, Crawl Mode on select Toyota 4WD vehicles can save you from being stuck in a near-zero traction problem, such as spinning your wheels in sand out at the dunes. Just set the mode and speed; all you have to do is steer!

Dealer Info

Phone Numbers:Sales Hours:
  • Mon - Sat8:30 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Sun10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Service Hours:
  • Mon - Sat7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • SunClosed
Parts Hours:
  • Mon - Sat7:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • SunClosed
Quick Lube Hours:
  • Sun9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Mon - Sat7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Wilsonville Toyota

9155 Boeckman Rd., Wilsonville, OR 97303, United States


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Wilsonville Toyota 45.31746, -122.7702898.