How do you use 4-wheel drive on a Toyota 4Runner?

My wife bought me a Toyota 4Runner Trail for my birthday and I’ve been using it for hiking and fishing trips. I feel like I could be getting more out of it if I could use the four-wheel drive system. How can I access the 4WD on my 4Runner?

Melanie Krieps Mergen · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Toyota 4Runner
Trail is a fantastic vehicle for any outdoor enthusiast. And with the four-wheel drive system, you’ll achieve much better control and performance.
Here’s how to use the four-wheel drive system on your 4Runner
  • Locate the shift lever transfer on your center console. 
  • With this shift lever, you can swap between two-wheel drive high, four-wheel drive high (H4), and four-wheel drive low (L4), depending on your needs.
  • You must come to a complete stop and keep your foot on the brake pedal to adjust this lever. Once stopped, shift the transmission to neutral and move the shift lever transfer to the L4 or H4 position, meaning four-wheel drive low (L4) or four-wheel drive high (H4).
Here’s what else you need to know:
  • You also have the option to shift your car into two-wheel-drive high (H2).
  • You can shift between H2 and H4 while driving as long as you’re going less than 50 MPH. However, you should never switch to low-range 4WD or from low-range to high-range 4WD while you’re driving.
  • Your car must be stopped to shift to or from L4. Press on the brake and shift into neutral. Then, move the gear shift lever to L4 (or H4).
  • You can shift into either drive or reverse to set your new gear.
For more guidance, you can consult your 4Runner’s owner’s manual.
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