Skip to Content

How to Put a Jeep Sahara in Four-Wheel Drive: Step by Step

How to Put a Jeep Sahara in Four-Wheel Drive: Step by Step

The Jeep Sahara is one of the many model designs Jeep has available to customers. There are additional upgrades that pertain to all parts of the Jeep, especially the powertrain and towing options. So how do you put a Jeep Sahara in a four-wheel drive?

To put a Jeep Sahara in four-wheel drive, first find the 4WD shift lever located above the center console next to the gear shifter. Slow down to under 40 mph before shifting into 4H or 4L or you could cause damage to your Jeep.

Putting a Jeep in 4WD is an essential task that might take more work for some people. The good thing is there’s only one way that Jeep Wranglers, no matter their trim level and upgrades, are placed into four-wheel drive. So read on and learn all you need to know about putting your Jeep Sahara in 4WD.

Engaging the Four-Wheel Drive in a Jeep Wrangler Sahara

Jeep makes the important things, like starting and fueling your Wrangler, a snap to perform. However, engaging the four-wheel drive requires knowing a few locations in your vehicle’s interior. You can figure out how to engage the 4WD with no issues by doing homework.

Here’s a video walk-through with more info and written steps below:

Make your Jeep unique with any of these Jeep Accessories, Covers, Latches, Floor Mats, Etc. Found Here from Amazon

Knowing Where the Gear Shift is the First Step

Your Sahara is a beefed-up Wrangler with extra options like larger engines and electronic access to trailer lights and traction control. It will have a gear shift box in the center of the front floorboard.

It will be automatic with a single handle or a manual with a gear shift with a shifting diagram on the top.

The steps to find the gear shift in your Jeep Sahara are as follows:

  • Center Console – One of the most productive ways to find the gear shift is by starting with the center console. It is a long piece of steel and rubber that covers the inner workings of the shifters as well as a storage place. The gear shifter is at the head of this console, by the radio.
  • Gear Shifter – Just below and to the left of the gear shift is another handle with a diagram on the top. This is the four-wheel drive lever. It disengages the 2WD and allows you to change to several other modes. Each of the modes depends on the type of terrain you are trying to cross.

Now that you know where the 4WD lever is located, you can change it to the appropriate mode for your situation. The thing to remember is that newer model Jeeps can shift on while driving, with some being able to move upwards of 35 mph while shifting.

Shifting the Sahara into Four-Wheel Drive is Easy and Fast

The four-wheel drive lever will move forward and back with some stops along the way. Other modes allow for driving on snow and sand, and even some give you the power to slough through deep mud.

The four-wheel drive modes for the Jeep Sahara are as follows:

  • 2WD – The place your lever should be when looking for it is in the first position or two-wheel drive. 2WD is the normal driving mode with only two rear wheels engaged. It is suitable for getting around town but could struggle to pull large trailers or boats.
  • N – Neutral is the gear that disengages all drive modes. It is used for towing, and if you have a large motorhome, it is essential for towing the Jeep several miles at a time. N should only be used for these situations, as the transmission can also be kept neutral.
  • 4H – Four-high is the mode most used in situations where the ground could be slick. Putting it into four-high is the only option when the Jeep has difficulty finding a purchase. It is designed for snow and sand, with the ability to move faster.
  • 4L – Four-low is the mode people think of when they hear four-wheel drive. It works in deep mud and gears the Jeep so low that it can climb steep hills or large rocks. Four-low makes the Jeep’s speed slow to a crawl but will give it extreme power to the wheels.

The modes of the Jeep will allow you to traverse any kind of environment with ease. By knowing what the modes are capable of, you prepare yourself for any type of disaster or natural event that might occur. However, be warned that driving in 4L for extended periods might increase your need for service.

Make your Jeep unique with any of these Jeep Accessories, Covers, Latches, Floor Mats, Etc. Found Here from Amazon

Moving the Lever Will Engage the Four-Wheel Drive

Once you know what mode you need, you can move the lever to the appropriate position. Moving the lever should be done slowly and deliberately. Jerking the lever can cause gears to miss, and it could fail to engage. When it doesn’t engage, you could find yourself stuck or tossed into a situation worse than you began.

Here are a few things you should do when changing to four-wheel drive in your Jeep Sahara are:

  • Slow Down – While you don’t have to come to a complete stop to engage the 4WD, you must slow down to under 40mph. If you are traveling faster than that, the extra energy could shear off the parts that help enable 4WD.
  • Feather the Gas – Sometimes, if the transition isn’t smooth, you should take your foot off the gas and allow the friction to open. Releasing the friction will enable bits of the drive to move to the appropriate place, and the drive will engage.

Trying those things should get you engaged in appropriate 4WD gear. You can tell by a higher-pitched whining from the transmission and a noticeably slower top speed to accommodate the lower gears.


Engaging in the four-wheel drive mode will save you time and heartache in a sticky situation. If you are somewhere and the water rises, you can throw it into 4L and beat a path to higher ground. If you are hanging on the beach and the tide rolls in, you can hit 4H and slip away before you find yourself knee-deep in salt water.

Your Jeep Sahara will have a four-wheel drive lever next to the main gear shift at the head of the center console. The shifter is hard to miss, and the four-wheel engagement lever should be directly beside it. No matter what your situation engaging the four-wheel drive in your Sahara is an easy task to complete.

Sharing is caring!