SOUTH Africans love 4x4s, but what does it mean if you say you have a 4x4?
What it is
A four-wheel-drive or 4x4 refers to the delivery of power to all four wheels from the engine. When four powered wheels are engaged it helps to stabilise the car’s handling and maximises road grip.
All other things being equal, having four-wheel drive generally makes a car or truck safer when changing direction, and especially in slippery or icy conditions.
Why it helps
4x4 vehicles are less likely to get stuck in mud, sand or gravel. The main reason for this, and other off road capabilities, is all four wheels receive power so they all help dig in for traction.
Despite this, some 4x4 systems are driven using two-wheel drive during regular driving. The vehicle automatically chooses between two-wheel drive and four-by-four, or the driver can make the selection. Alternating between the two drives is achieved by using levers or switches.