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How to Take a Jeep Out of Four-Wheel Drive: Do’s and Don’ts

How to Take a Jeep Out of Four-Wheel Drive: Do’s and Don’ts

Getting your Jeep out of four-wheel drive is an easy process that can be done from the driver’s seat with no help from the passengers. Back in the day, turning rotors could only be done outside the cabin. Today there’s an array of Jeep 4x4s, all of which have easy-to-use locking. So how do you take a Jeep out of a four-wheel drive?

You can take a Jeep out of four-wheel drive by toggling the 4WD lever, button, or knob while at a complete stop, depending on your model. Some high-trim models will have an automatic 4WD that will disengage and engage the four-wheel drive for you as needed.

Changing the driving mode in a Jeep can be done in several ways, depending on your make and model. If you are driving a Wrangler, there could be a lever in the floor, and if you have a Grand Cherokee, there could be a knob or buttons. Don’t sweat it! Read on and learn all you need to know about how to take Jeep out of four-wheel Drive.

How do I Disengage my Four-Wheel Drive?

Disengaging your four-wheel drive is an easy process that has become lost in translation on YouTube and across message boards. The process differs from Jeep to Jeep, so disengaging is hard to pin down in writing or video until you know the model.

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Several Models of Jeep have 4×4 as an Option.

The first thing you need to do is find out what kind of Jeep you are driving. This should be apparent from all the badges and shapes of the vehicle, but if it isn’t, you can check the owner’s manual, which will give you all the details. However, some ways to distinguish will keep you from breaking out the manuals.

A few ways to distinguish your type of Jeep are:

  • Body Shape – One of the most significant ways to determine what kind of Jeep you have is by looking at the body’s shape. While they are often square-bodied, the new Cherokees have a sleek design, and Wrangler has an iconic sizeable rectangular shape. Gladiators are easy to discern as they have a truck bed.
  • Top Options – People buy Jeep Wranglers for the tops. They can be partially or entirely removed and come with Wranglers and Gladiators. The Cherokee models have a solid top that cannot be removed. Checking the types becomes easier once you consider their tops.

By looking at the top and body, you can easily discern what type of Jeep you have. You should know your model type, as it will let you know which option to take when disengaging the four-wheel drive.

Jeeps can be Disengaged by Moving the Lever or Pushing a Button.

Taking the Jeep out of four-wheel drive will depend on how you engage it. You will take the same steps to disengage and should ensure the Jeep is on a level grade with no obstructions.

Finding the switch or lever for the 4WD should be easy and is usually located by the gear shifter or has a prominent array on the dash.

Some ways that a Jeep can be moved from 4WD to 2WD are:

  • Lever – The most common way your Jeep will be taken out of 4WD is by using the lever. The lever is a gear shift that is down by the transmission shifter. It will have a diagram of the 2H, 4H, N, and 4L four-wheel drive gears and could be covered with a boot. All you need to do to disengage the lever is move it back to the 2H while moving slowly.
  • Button – One of the new fads is to have a button on the dash with the 4WD options labeled. These options are selectable or can be programmed with multiple pushes. Disengaging with the controls means you must push 2H or cycle the options until the 2H appears.
  • Knob – Another way that Jeeps can be disengaged is by using a knob. These knobs work to turn the selector and engage the four-wheel mode selected. To disengage with the knob, you need to rotate until the 2H is displayed or the 2H light is active.
  • Automatic – In newer model Jeeps, an automated system engages and disengages the four-wheel drive modes. This Quadra-Trac engagement system comes in the high-trim models of the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Disengaging requires that you know how to put your Jeep into 4WD. If you are unsure how to engage the four-wheel drive, you should look into the owner’s manual or search YouTube to find your make and model.

Can You Switch From 4H to 2H While Driving a Jeep?

You can move the 2H to 4H modes while driving, but it must be at a low speed. The transmissions will move from active to stand-by depending on your Jeep model and the options available for 4WD.

Sometimes it will move without you knowing, and if it doesn’t disengage, you should push the buttons until you feel a change. But, again, going slowly helps the process. (source:

Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Jeep out of Four-Wheel Drive

Do: Ensure that your Jeep has moved out of 4WD by listening for the change. The transmission will make a clunking or knocking sound that will let you know it has changed. If you don’t hear it, try shifting the gear again to help with the change.

Don’t: Do not slam the lever or gear shift into place if you can’t get it to move. Often there could be binding in the gears that take a bit of slack to release. By being gentle with the lever and moving forcefully, you have a much better chance of helping the transmission change.

Do: Try moving when you make changes. Go slow, and allow the gap in friction to let gears slip into place. Give the gas pedal a minute to breathe and ease back into driving slowly for the best results.

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Taking your Jeep out of four-wheel drive is a snap as long as you know a few things. Firstly you must know what type of Jeep you are driving. The 4×4 systems vary from model to model; knowing the model type will let you know what is used for disengagement.

You should always allow for a bit of movement when changing in and out of the four-wheel drive. Sometimes the lack of friction on the gears is just what they need to return to their starting position. No matter what type of Jeep you have taken it out of, four-wheel drive is an easy job that shouldn’t give you any headaches.

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