4-wheel drive cars are known to have many advantages over their 2WD and AWD counterparts.
This system is a favorite for many off-roaders due to its impressive traction abilities. 4WD cars can easily plow through snow.
But, is 4WD equally as good in rainy conditions?
The guide below will address the benefits of having a car with a 4-wheel drive in the rain.
We will also explain whether you should use 4-wheel High or low when on a wet, slippery road.
This post will also share tips on how to drive safely when it’s raining.
Does 4-Wheel Drive Help in Rain?
A 4-wheel drive system can be of significant help when you are driving in rainy conditions. This system offers better handling and traction for the car.
Therefore, unlike 2WD, your vehicle will not drift when driving over a wet, slippery road.
A 4WD system enhances the stability of a car no matter how slippery the road is because of rain.
If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rainfall, it’s a good idea to buy a 4WD car.
With such a vehicle, you can always activate this system when it rains, and you are driving along a slippery or wet road.
To understand better how 4WD helps in the rain, here are some benefits you may get from such a car system;
• Improves Traction of the Wheels
When you activate 4WD, your car sends power to all four wheels.
Unlike in cars that only power the front or rear wheels, your 4WD will enjoy better traction on the wheels.
As a result, your wheels will make better contact with the road, making it difficult for your vehicle to skid off.
• Better Stability
With power being sent to all four wheels, your car will be more stable even on wet and slippery roads.
Thanks to this improved stability, you can easily drive through mud and wet weather.
• Increases Handling of the Vehicle
Once you activate the four-wheel drive, you will have better handling of your car. This, in turn, makes it easier to steer through wet roads.
• It Instills a Sense of Confidence
One of the reasons people often get stuck on the road when it’s raining is because they lack the confidence to steer away from slippery surfaces.
When driving a 4WD, you feel more confident because you have better handling, stability, and traction.
4WD High or Low in Rain
When you look at the 4WD setting in your car, you will notice that it is divided into two. There is 4WD High and 4WD Low.
So, which option should you engage when it’s raining?
Most of the time, when you are driving on a wet and slippery road, you should engage 4WD High. This setting allows you to drive at normal speeds on wet surfaces.
For instance, if you are on an off-road trail and notice the road becoming slippery because of rain, you can engage 4WD High to get better traction and handling.
4WD Low is rarely used when it’s raining unless you are driving on a steep off-road terrain or a creek. The reason is that 4WD Low delivers both power and traction.
Therefore, the wheels turn much slower, which is only ideal for crawling over rocks.
Never engage 4WD High or Low when it’s not raining, or you are driving on a smooth road.
When Should You Not Use 4-Wheel Drive?
There is some excitement associated with having a 4WD car. But people don’t know that it shouldn’t be used all the time.
4WD should never be used on dry, smooth, or flat roads. Doing so may damage your car. If you are driving on the highway, there is no need for you to turn on 4WD.
Also, even if you are venturing off-road and it’s raining, there is no need to engage 4WD if the roads are not slippery.
You should also not use 4Wd if you want to save on gas. When you activate this system, a lot of fuel is used to engage the drive shaft and gears.
Car experts also advise that 4WD shouldn’t be used on extremely slippery roads. That’s because when all four wheels lose traction, it can be challenging to control the vehicle.
Therefore, just because you have a car with a 4WD system doesn’t mean you should use it all the time. Only activate it when it’s necessary.
Is It Better to Drive Fast or Slow in the Rain?
Even if your car has 4WD, driving slowly is better and safer. Always ensure that you go a little under the speed limit because there are so many hazards on the road when it rains.
One of the risks associated with driving fast in the rain is hydroplaning. This isn’t some form of irrigation or agriculture.
Hydroplaning is when your tires come across more water than they can scatter. When driving in the rain, your car tires often slice the water on the surface and make contact with the road.
If you start driving too fast, your tires stop making contact with the road, and they float on the water.
Hydroplaning is dangerous because it will make your car difficult to steer or even brake. And it can lead to accidents.
When you are driving slowly, it’s more difficult for hydroplaning to occur.
In case you find your car hydroplaning when driving in the rain, do not panic. Remove your foot from the gas pedal, and do not press on the brakes.
Instead, gently steer the car in the direction you intend to drive to. As the vehicle slows down, the tires will gain better traction on the road.
There is no denying that a car with 4WD is more advantageous when driving in the rain. It gives you better traction, handling, and stability.
If you own a vehicle with 4WD, you must know when and where to use it. Don’t forget which mode of 4WD you should use when it’s raining.
Most importantly, follow all safety measures when driving in the rain using a 4WD. Drive slowly, turn on your wipers and headlights and beware of other motorists.
Hopefully, the above article has answered your question on – does 4 wheel drive help in rain.
I am passionate about all things automotive and have a deep understanding of the topic. As a mechanic, I use my free time to share knowledge of everyday challenges that any car owner can experience – helping you make informed decisions about tires.