How does RAV4 4WD work? - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 02:09 PM
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How does RAV4 4WD work?

My new RAV4 is my 6th SUV, and my 3rd with 4WD. But my previous 4WD vehicles all had a manual switch or lever to engage 4WD mode, and I'm a little unclear about how the system works in the RAV4, how the Lock button works, and heck, I'm not even clear on whether it's front-wheel or rear-wheel when in 2WD mode.

Can anyone give me a basic primer on how the system works? I don't plan on ever doing any off-roading in my RAV4, but when the snows come this winter I'd like to know how the 4WD works so I can drive with confidence.

Of course, I certainly hope we don't have a repeat of last winter, when Maryland got socked with two 2' snowfalls in less than a week. We had snow piles in the area for 60 days afterward!
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 02:16 PM
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When the computer detects slipping in the front, or lack of traction, it kicks in the 4wd system or VSC, depending on what it knows.

If you're going around a corner and may be slipping, the computer will turn it on.

If you're stuck, pressing the "lock" button should turn on 4wd until you hit 25mph. Then it turns off and the computer will turn 4wd on if necessary (slippage condition).

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#3 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 02:46 PM
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Best overview of the RAV4's AWD system comes right from Toyota. All still applies to 2010 models.

http://rav4world.com/pdf/2006/2006_4wdsystem.pdf
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#4 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 04:00 PM
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Just remember, this is AWD, and a rather weak version of AWD at that. If you've had actual 4wd SUV's in the past then you need to understand that this is definitely not real 4wd.

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#5 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dcarr1971
Just remember, this is AWD, and a rather weak version of AWD at that. If you've had actual 4wd SUV's in the past then you need to understand that this is definitely not real 4wd.
How much difference can I expect to feel when the snow starts falling? I'm not an adventurous four-wheeler anyway, and I tend to avoid driving when it snows, but there are times when you simply can't avoid it, like when your management company skimps on clearing the lot in front of your apartment, or the lot at work isn't cleared in a timely fashion, or when several inches of snow suddenly dump unexpectedly while you're at work and you have to slog your way home through it...

I must say, in the 6 days that I've had it, I've felt a big difference in the traction this vehicle has compared to most of my previous SUVs. I look forward to seeing how it will perform in the snow, because so far it's steady as a rock in the rain.

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#6 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 08:36 PM
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Here's something on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km94vXZXgHs

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#7 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rav4two
Here's something on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km94vXZXgHs
Hm... not bad performance in what appears to be about 4"-6" of snow, not counting the drifts in the parking lot.

I certainly won't be intentionally turning donuts or plowing into snowdrifts like that, but I may have to drive through an unplowed lot once in a while.

Pacific Blue Metalic is the single prettiest color in the entire E/M spectrum. Including the I/R and U/V ranges!
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#8 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 10:57 PM
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The 4WD system on my RAV is truly amazing to me and I've had an AWD Forester, a Mits AWD Expo and two Civic AWD wagons. Currently have two F250 4x4s too. The RAV gets the mileage of any other brand's front wheel drive because that's what it's in most of the time. But it doesn't react to the front drive slipping to engage the rear differential clutch, it ANTICIPATES slippage using it's accelerometers. That's to only way to explain how I can accelerate from a stop with my V6 just as fast on a wet road an on dry pavement with ZERO wheelspin. I have to get used to having no hesitation to punching it anytime anywhere including starting off on a wet corner. It just goes where I steer it and does it quickly.
I got the car last November and did some acceleration tests on a snow covered parking lot last winter. All I can say is you better be ready to hit the brakes because you'll shoot across a lot quite smartly with or w/o 4WD lock on.
I also did extensive testing on steep snow covered hills. Will have to find the post for the link. ENJOY!

Fred
2006 RAV4 V6 4WD Red Limited - wife's
2006 Accord V6 Hybrid - Dr. Dyno's - quick as the RAV but +8 mpg
2003 Odyssey V6 - handy people & cargo mover
1999 F-250 4X4 Diesel - snow plow, Bully Dog chip
2001 F-250 4X4 Diesel - truck camper, TS chip, 20' bike/trike dyno trailer
2004 Suzuki DRZ-400S Dual Sport

It's the pedal (or the handgrip) on the right!!
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#9 (permalink) Old 05-13-2010, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillCAD
How much difference can I expect to feel when the snow starts falling? I'm not an adventurous four-wheeler anyway, and I tend to avoid driving when it snows, but there are times when you simply can't avoid it, like when your management company skimps on clearing the lot in front of your apartment, or the lot at work isn't cleared in a timely fashion, or when several inches of snow suddenly dump unexpectedly while you're at work and you have to slog your way home through it...
From what you're saying you'll probably be fine. Just make sure you've good tires and be ready to hit the button to turn off the VSC when things get ugly. (My '07 doesn't have that button so we have to go through a series of stupid human tricks to turn off the TRAC/VSC.

I live in Pittsburgh where everything is on the side of a steep hill and snow covered/frozen for at least 4 months of the year, so the difference between a good AWD system and what the Rav offers (Hey, its still better than FWD ) is noteworthy...just as the difference between any AWD and real 4WD is significant to someone who really needs a 4x4.

Dave C.
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1999 Land Rover Discovery II
2006 Subaru Legacy GT Ltd (Sold) :-(
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#10 (permalink) Old 05-14-2010, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillCAD
Quote:
Originally Posted by rav4two
Here's something on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km94vXZXgHs
Hm... not bad performance in what appears to be about 4"-6" of snow, not counting the drifts in the parking lot.

I certainly won't be intentionally turning donuts or plowing into snowdrifts like that, but I may have to drive through an unplowed lot once in a while.
The caption for that vehicle says "14 inches fresh snow". It doesn't seem quite that much, but there were definitely areas of more than 6 inches. In any event, snow performance is predominantly dictated by tires. AWD helps get you moving, but is of only moderate help in turning and little help in braking. Still, I have pretty good confidence the Rav is going to be good for exactly the conditions you described, which is basically what we get where I live.

We had one big snow event in the Seattle area the winter before last and with one FWD vehicle and one RWD vehicle, we spent hours just going a few miles, having to chain and de-chain a couple of times each way. Because of that, we purchased the Rav right before this winter, which of course everyone said would guaranteed us a snow-free winter (which is exactly what we had).
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