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Buying a truck, 2WD or 4 WD

I will soon be purchasing a truck. I was curious if others thought it is worth the money to buy 4WD. I live in Atlanta, GA which rarely or even ever gets snow/ice etc. However, 4 weeks a year I go out west(Wyoming) to hunt where 4WD will be required. What would be the pros and cons of having a 4WD truck that is only used those 4 weeks? Are 4WD trucks more expensive to maintain? Do they break down more often? Any information appreciated. THanks

My opinion is buy a 2WD and rent a 4WD when needed.

4X4 more expensive to buy, more to maintain, and about 3 mpg less in fuel economy.

Have to agree with these Guys ,My Dodge Dakota is a 4wd (which during the current weather is nice ) But it has a LSD and if you put some weight over the rear wheels ,you would amazed where that thing will go in 2 WD . .

Buy a 2WD truck. That’s what I have done for the past 30 years. A 4WD truck is more expensive to maintain and they break down more often.

I agree; buy a 2WD truck. Do you REALLY need a 4WD truck to hunt? I thought good boots and a proper firearm were the essentials.

Agree with @kmccune A truck with a limited slip axle will do much better off-road than you realize with a little weight in back. Just make sure you have good, fairly aggressive tread pattern on your tires. They will be a touch noisier on the highway. 4WD will cost you fuel, money and maintenance all the time, the tire noise is only an issue on the highway.

I’ve owned 4wd vehicles for over 30 years. There is a higher maintenance cost…but it’s not much. A good quality 4wd truck will last for hundreds of thousands of miles and the overall maintenance difference compared to a 2wd vehicle will be less then $1000. There is the potential of more things breaking…but if you buy a quality vehicle and maintain it… then you negate that.

If you decide on 4wd, don’t get AWD. Make sure it is a 4WD with a selector to shift between 2WD and 4WD.

A 2WD with a limited slip (LSD) will do almost as good as a 4WD and certainly better than an AWD. The real issue will be ground clearance, most 4WDs have greater ground clearance. Off road it is often the ground clearance that is far more important than the number of driven wheels.

A good set of all terrain tires will help also. A set of oversize all terrain tires with a 2WD and LSD should get you just about anywhere except out of a mud bog.

A 2WD with a limited slip (LSD) will do almost as good as a 4WD and certainly better than an AWD.

At what? Driving in the rain. I’ve owned many 4wd with a LSD rear-end…when I shifted into 4wd…it was night and day. Almost as good?? It’s NOT even close in snow or off-road.

Compared to AWD?? Again…not even close. I have a AWD vehicle now…far far better then any LSD setup I’ve ever owned…even when equipped with good AT or even winter tires.

I have been driving 2WD trucks for 25 years for the fuel economy on long trips but that is less of a factor on late model trucks.

Over the years when exploring old mining trails if I lose traction I get out and walk then turn back. If I had a 4WD (I have a Jeep that I use locally) I could drive up those grades without noticing a problem. These are dry trails, I don’t have to deal with mud.

2WD is good enough for dry city/highways, if your going off road for hunting you should be prepared with 4WD or rely on others for transportation. 4WD trucks have a greater resale value that is close to the additional purchase cost.

I have a 4WD truck, I have not spent appreciably more in maintaining it than a comparable 2WD truck. The front brake rotors were a little more, and the fuel economy is slightly worse, but that’s about it. IMHO it’s better to have 4WD and not need it all the time, than it is to have 2WD and then have a situation where you need 4WD.

My F-150 has a 4WD , a limited slip rear diff, and BFG A/T KO’s. other than my old Bronco, it’s the most confidence inspiring vehicle I’ve ever driven through unplowed roads

@Nevada_545 brings up a good point. Where I live, used 4WD trucks command quite a premium over 2WD trucks. They hold their value noticeably better.

The old saying about the wilderness was "drive in 2wd till you get stuck ,then put it in 4wd and turn around and head back out "
There are pros and cons for everything ,you have never had an experience like the feeling of AWD with bad tires in slick conditions (absolutely uncontrollable ,those wheels slip the slightest bit ,you have no directional control ) I have had the advantage of learning to drive with old front heavy pickups with open differentials (essentially a one wheel drive ) I can tell you 4wd is better ,but the OP will probably never need it and when you start replacing parts on a 4WD you will wonder what you were thinking when you bought the thing for a daily driver,Some of these Guys here have bought good 4WDs and maintained them religiously which makes a difference in the long run . A poorly maintained 4 wd ,with bald tires is a menace , When I used to have to haul my wife around for home health ,when the roads got bad I wouldnt engage 4wd until absolutely necessary for practice ,turns out that was rarely necessary (wouldnt tell Her though ) There are a lot of things you learn about bad weather and then you figure why the Jeep commercials show the vehicles busting through a foot plus of fresh powder snow .But when its all said and done nothing beats a good set of chains or better yet Mattracks .
Strangely enough I know of cases where a 2wd pickup with good low end torque and a good set of uniroyals would go where a 4wd with open diffs wouldnt go ,good tires ,weight balance ,ground clearence and the man in the cockpit are essential elements for safe driving in the bad stuff .I have driven by too many Surburbans and 4wds over the bank ,to say that careful driving is not essential .
My SIL ,who lives in Havelock NC ,bought a new Jeep Cherokee a few years back(2wd ) and put close to 200K on it ,never a minutes trouble with that machine ,I think my Niece still drives that thing .
Anyrate the next AWD vehicle I buy I hope is FWD with electric drive in the back .

“A 2WD with a limited slip (LSD) will do almost as good as a 4WD and certainly better than an AWD.”

Like Mike, I strenuously disagree with that opinion.
4WD is good for only one thing–off-roading and/or getting out of a ditch.
In actual slippery road conditions, it is possible for 4WD to put you in danger as a result of the slippage of tires on curves.

2WD with LSD is certainly better than 2WD w/o LSD, and 4WD does have its place–albeit in very limited circumstances–but a good AWD system yields traction that is superior to the others in virtually every condition.

Depends what the dealer has. 80% 4wd inventory? It’s about 98% 4wd in my area

All of our work trucks have been 4wd available forever. They rarely goes into 4wd outside of snowstorms. Yes the potential for one more thing to go wrong is there, but in our experience it has not been a major issue.

I hear this old debate all the time . If you live in a hilly / mountainous area that has real winter weather or get off the 4 lane in winter weather you’ll quickly realize how much better 4WD is than 2WD . FWD is better than RWD simply because of the added weight of the engine over the tires . I won’t get into LSD & POSI-TRAC & tire chains , etc . I live in an area that is anything but flat & usually have real winter weather . I have 5 vehicles & 4 of them are 4WD & the other 1 is FWD with traction control .
That being said I drove 2WD , RWD vehicles for years & made do . I haven’t found maintenance costs to be much more on the 4WD’s than the 2WD’s & in my area resale value is much better on the 4WD’s . In areas without much winter weather or flatlanders might come to different conclusions . There are also people that can’t drive in an inch of snow no matter what they’re driving . Just my opinions formed from where I live & my own driving experience .
If I lived in an area that didn’t have winter weather conditions & hills to navigate in winter weather & only needed a 4WD for a hunting trip once a year I’d likely have a 2WD vehicle & rent a 4WD for the hunting trip .
I have wondered why a FWD pickup isn’t available & the only conclusion I can come to is the manufactures think it would cut deeply into their 4WD market which it probably would .
I have never owned an AWD vehicle so I can’t comment on the pros & cons of those .

4WD is good for only one thing--off-roading and/or getting out of a ditch. In actual slippery road conditions, it is possible for 4WD to put you in danger as a result of the slippage of tires on curves.

4wd is FAR FAR superior in driving in snow on very slippery roads then 2wd. It will keep you out of a ditch. Drive the same speed in two similar vehicles…but one with 4wd…the 4wd will do a much better job of keeping you on the road. I’ve driven many slippery roads in 2wd with an (LSD) and with 4wd…the difference is night and day. Many times I’ve driven one of my 4wd SUV’S in 2wd mode when the conditions started getting worse. Switched to 4wd…and it was almost like driving on dry pavement.

Our 4WD Suburban had no 4WD-related problems for the 13 years we owned it.

You don’t need a 4WD unless you often traverse undeveloped land.