What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean? new for 2022

4 wheel drive vehicles are becoming more and more popular, but what does “4 wheel drive” actually mean?

Many people don’t know the answer to this question, and even those who do often have a misunderstanding about what service means in regards to 4 wheel drive.

What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean
What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean

So What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean? In this article, we’ll help you know more about it. Let’s find out together!


What does service 4 wheel drive mean?

What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean
What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean

What Exactly Does 4WD Mean?

The term 4WD stands for “Four Wheel Drive.” The four categories of drivetrain are front wheel, rear wheel, four wheel, and all-wheel drive. This distinct classifying shows how your wheels collaborate to provide the most power to your car. Four-wheel drive is one of the most frequent forms of drivetrain. As a result, while driving, the engine is sending power to each wheel simultaneously.

What does a 4X4 service include?

Four-wheel drive vehicles need to be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear, especially when used for off-roading or towing. Services that are typically performed on 4x4s include:

  • Removing and replacing the Transfer Case’s drain and refill it with fresh fluid.
  • To go further than ever before.
  • Fill all of the differentials at the same time, then drain and refill them together to keep your trip safe (If it’s snowy outside).

The significance of 4×4 service

What does service four-wheel-drive mean? The 4×4 system, also known as four-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, is a power distribution mechanism that sends power to all four wheels at the same time. If you have a vehicle with four-wheel drive, you know it requires a lot of maintenance. Vehicles with 4×4 venture off road on difficult surfaces and tow substantial weights; therefore they require regular upkeep to ensure that they continue functioning as effectively as possible.

It’s common for off-road vehicles to have higher maintenance rates than other cars because they rely more on their transmissions. Pay attention to your car while driving, and if you notice any problems with gears, noises, or a loss of acceleration power, get your vehicle checked out immediately.

Four-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transfer case, which uses drive shafts to transmit power from the transmission to the axles. The transfer case is one of several components that you should check on at least every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.

The front and rear differentials must also be drained and refilled. Differential systems allow the front and rear axles to turn the wheels at varying speeds, preventing slipping and wheel hopping on curves. Every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, differential oil should be changed. A transmission flush is recommended every 50,000 to 100,000 miles if your owner’s manual recommends it.

In order to keep your 4×4 system and vehicle in good condition, have a experienced professional regularly inspect your transmission and drive-train system for any mechanical issues. Fixing small problems before they have time to develop into larger ones will help extend the life of both your 4×4 system and your vehicle as a whole.

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What does an indicator light labeled Service 4WD mean?

When the “Service 4WD” indicator illuminates, there is a problem with your four-wheel drive system. It’s critical to resolve this as soon as possible to avoid losing traction in snow or mud before it’s too late.

Read more What Does Service All Wheel Drive Mean?

How to service a 4-wheel Drive: 4WD Components

How to service a 4-wheel Drive: 4WD Components
How to service a 4-wheel Drive: 4WD Components


The drivetrain is located below the vehicle and, because of this, is the most vulnerable out of all four-wheel drive components. The majority of the drivetrain hangs exposed which subjects it to a lot wear and tear while driving offroad. A 4WD drivetrain consists various moveable joints and knuckles that need to be inspected routinely. These include:

  • The U-joints on the front drive-shaft
  • The U-joint on the rear drive-shafts
  • The yoke needs to be re-lubricated
  • Differential oil levels
  • Transfer case oil levels
  • Gearbox oil levels
  • Transfer case actuator

All of the above-mentioned parts are specific to four-wheel drive automobiles and require special attention before and after every big excursion. At the least, a checkup is required.


The yoke is a component of the rear driveshaft that connects it to the rear differential. It allows for movement and flexibility of the vehicle suspension without damaging the drive shafts. The Yoke has a spline that slips into the rear driveshaft and is filled with grease in order to lubricate it and protect it from dirt and moisture.

If you’re frequently driving on unpaved roads, your rear driveshaft is likely to take a few hits. You should inspect the 4-wheel drive yoke regularly for damage and play, as it can snap off if it runs dry. Once all the grease has run out or you’ve been wading through water often, old grease lubrication becomes ineffective and metal fatigue sets in, which could result in component failure.

Fluid for the Transfer Case

It’s imperative that you inspect the fluid for metal filings during every major service. This is a high torque component because all engine power and torque is transferred through it to the drivetrain, which then goes to the front and rear axles. If you have a 4-wheel drive transmission, always check oil levels; if they’re too high and excess oil is oozing out, it’s time to be alarmed.

Therefore, there might be a break in the seal between the transmission box and transfer case. It’s crucial to take care of this problem as soon as possible. I would also recommend refraining from any 4-wheel driving until it has been fixed.

Gearbox Fluid

The gearbox is another high-stress component. If you have an automatic gearbox, the oil in the gearbox is extremely critical to keep and check on regularly. The oil inside the car’s gearbox is meant to lubricate as well as minimize heat buildup. Your auto’s gearbox oil cooler should be inspected on a regular basis. Look for leaks and metal filings in the oil, which might suggest metal friction and severe wear inside the box.

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Actuator Control Switch

The actuation switch is a power switch with a shaft that is installed below the transfer case’s 4-wheel drive. When the knob in the cabin is set to 4WD, the function of the switch is to engage 4WD high and low. The actuator replaces the gear lever on the old short ratio shift stick next to the main gear shift stick. Because it lies underneath the car, it is also highly susceptible to weather conditions off-road. Disconnect all connections, clean them, and spray them with a dielectric spray.

Lines of Brake

The majority of vehicle’s brakes lines run along the vehicle’s bottom chassis. A 4WD is no exception. This means it is yet another susceptible component of a 4WD. Always check for damage and leaks in the brake lines. Make sure all of the brake hoses are still properly fastened under the chassis since any off-road obstacle, such as a bush or dry branch, might get caught in there and pull them free.


The diff locker is generally placed on the rear differential, although some 4WDs have a front differential locker as well. The diff locker’s aim is to keep the wheel axle rigid while off-roading over difficult low-traction surfaces. This should only be utilized in situations where traction is limited and when wheel slippage is likely.

If you don’t engage the rear locker at the right time, it could cause damage to your drivetrain and tires, which might bind the drivetrain. Here’s more information on that. You should test the diff locker regularly to make sure it’s working properly, and also clean and spray it with a dielectric spray to keep its electrical connection intact.

Difficult to define

Differential fluids are key in ensuring the gears inside the differential are properly lubricated. The oil should be changed every 35,000 miles at a minimum, but always consult the owner’s manual for what type of oil to use. Make sure to regularly check fluid levels and top off as needed.

You should change the rear differential oils on your 4-wheel drive every 15,000 miles at most, but always refer to your owner’s manual before you do anything. Using the wrong lubricant could mean damage to either the diff or locking mechanism if your 4WD has a lockable differential.


The 4WD system uses u-joints as the joints that allow it to flex and move. They are a consumable part that should be inspected on a regular basis for leaks in the rubber seals and lubrication. Check for dripping rust water or damaged rubber gaskets, both of which indicate it’s time to replace them. A squealing pop is generally associated with a faulty or dry u-joint.

Almost all u-joints can be serviced, and have a greaseable nipple on the side of the U-joint. This allows you to insert more grease into the four tiny housings where little metal pins are located. These low hanging components can easily catch a rock and get damaged off-road so inspect for damage before and after each off-road trip. In the event that the nipple gets damaged, allgrease could escape, causing component failure soon afterwards.

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How do you reset a 4WD’s service light?

How do you reset a 4WD's service light
How do you reset a 4WD’s service light
  1. Start by turning on the ignition, but don’t start the car.
  2. Push down on the gas pedal three times.
  3. The 4WD light should turn on4the dashboard; this tells you that most likely,  the 4WD is already turned on.
  4. If the lights are still acting strangely, then it might be time to replace the switch entirely.

Read more What Does A Wheel Hub Do? All About Wheel Hub

What is the cost for service 4WD?

What is the cost for service 4WD
What is the cost for service 4WD

The cost of a rebuilt transfer case varies depending on the make and model of your car. The price for labor to install it is generally additional than what’s included in this sort of product, commonly ranging from 400 to 800 dollars.

FAQs What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive Mean

Is it OK to drive with service 4WD light on?

The 4WD switch light will show 2WD or Auto while the vehicle is in motion. If the light stays on, or if you see a “Service 4WD System” message, there is an issue with the 4WD system. It does not imply that regular maintenance of the 4WD system is required.

Why is my service all wheel drive light on?

The light next to the word “Service” on the dashboard illuminates when the computer detects an AWD system problem. In most cases, an AWD system problem will result in the system being disabled entirely in order to safeguard it from further damage.

How do I know if my 4WD actuator is bad?

The only time you should have to think about your 4WD actuator is when it’s not functioning properly. If the 4WD (either 4H or 4L) becomes difficult to engage, gets stuck, or fails to activate, that means there’s something wrong with your actuator and you should take it in for maintenance right away.

Service 4wd diagnosis


What Does Service 4 Wheel Drive System Mean? Service 4 wheel drive is a system that helps to get power to all four wheels of the car, which can be extremely helpful when you’re driving in slippery conditions. When your car has this system, it will automatically send power to whichever set of wheels needs it most at any given time. This can help you stay safe and in control while you’re on the road. Our team from Amortips.com hope this article bring you many useful information. Thanks for reading!

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