How Fast Can You Drive In 4 High Chevy Silverado? [Explained]

Whether you’re a seasoned Chevy Silverado owner or new to the world of four-wheel-drive vehicles, you may have found yourself questioning the capabilities of your truck’s 4WD system. How fast can you drive in 4 High? 

In a Chevy Silverado, you can typically drive up to speeds of 55-60 mph in 4-High, depending on road conditions and the specific model. However, it’s crucial to remember that 4-High is designed for low-traction conditions like snow, ice, or loose gravel, rather than regular highway speeds.

The rest of this article will delve into the intricacies of 4-High and 4-Low modes, factors affecting the top speed in 4-High, and much more. Let’s dive in!

How Fast Can You Drive In 4 High Chevy Silverado

Factors Affecting Top Speed 4 High Chevy Silverado

There are several factors that can affect the top speed when your Chevy Silverado is in 4-High. It’s crucial to understand these factors to optimize your vehicle’s performance and maintain its longevity. 

Vehicle Model

Different models of the Chevy Silverado may have slightly different performance characteristics, even when they’re in the same drive mode. 

The engine size, transmission type, and overall vehicle weight can all influence the top speed in 4-High.

Road Conditions

The primary purpose of 4-High is to provide better traction on slippery or uneven surfaces.

If you’re driving in mud, snow, or on loose gravel, your top speed in 4-High will likely be lower than if you’re on a dry, well-maintained road. 

Tire Type and Condition

The type and condition of your tires can also affect your top speed in 4-High. 

Tires designed for off-road use may not provide the same level of performance on pavement, and vice versa. Similarly, worn-out tires may reduce your top speed and overall vehicle control.

Vehicle Load

The weight you’re carrying in your Silverado can also impact its top speed in 4-High. If you’re towing a heavy trailer or have a lot of weight in the bed of your truck, your vehicle will need to work harder to maintain speed, which can reduce the top speed.

Maintenance Status

If your vehicle is not properly maintained, its performance may suffer. Issues with the engine, transmission, or drivetrain can all reduce your top speed in 4-High.

What Is The Difference Between 4 High And 4 Low Silverado?

4-High and 4-Auto are different drive modes in your Silverado. 4-High locks the front and rear driveshafts together, providing equal power to all four wheels, while 4-Auto allows the truck to automatically adjust power distribution between the front and rear wheels based on traction conditions.

4 High (4H

4 High (4H) is the mode used for regular driving conditions on slippery surfaces or off-road situations where additional traction is needed. 

It allows power to be distributed to all four wheels, providing better stability and grip. This mode is suitable for driving at higher speeds and can be engaged while the vehicle is in motion.

 4 Low (4L)

On the other hand, 4 Low (4L) is a low-range gear mode designed for extreme off-road conditions, such as steep inclines, deep mud, or rock crawling. 

It provides maximum torque and control at low speeds, enabling the vehicle to overcome challenging obstacles.

4L mode offers enhanced crawling power and is not meant for regular driving or high-speed use. 

It should only be engaged when the vehicle is stationary or moving at very low speeds.

What Is The Difference Between 4 Hi And 4 Auto?

The difference between 4 Hi (4 High) and 4 Auto (Auto 4WD) in a vehicle’s four-wheel drive (4WD) system is as follows:

4 Hi (4 High)

This mode is manually engaged and provides constant power to all four wheels. It is typically used in off-road situations, slippery road conditions, or when additional traction is needed. 

In 4-Hi mode, the vehicle distributes power equally to both the front and rear wheels, allowing for better stability and grip. 

This mode is suitable for driving at higher speeds and can be engaged while the vehicle is in motion. 

However, it should not be used on dry pavement or during normal driving conditions, as it can cause drivetrain strain and excessive tire wear.

4 Auto (Auto 4WD)

In this mode, the vehicle’s 4WD system automatically detects the need for additional traction and engages the four-wheel drive as necessary.

It continuously monitors various parameters, such as wheel slippage and road conditions, to determine when 4WD is required. 

When the system detects slippage, it transfers power to the front or rear wheels as needed, providing enhanced traction. 

4 Auto mode is convenient as it allows the vehicle to operate primarily in two-wheel drive (2WD) mode, conserving fuel and reducing wear on the drivetrain. 

It automatically engages 4WD only when required, making it suitable for unpredictable road conditions or occasional off-road driving.

Is It Better To Drive In 2WD Or 4WD?

Is It Better To Drive In 2WD Or 4WD?

Whether it is better to drive in 2WD (two-wheel drive) or 4WD (four-wheel drive) depends on the specific driving conditions and your personal preferences. Let’s compare the two options:

More fuel-efficientConsumes more fuel
Better for normal road conditionsBetter for low-traction conditions
Lower maintenance and repair costsHigher maintenance and repair costs
Less traction controlImproved traction control

Fuel Efficiency

In general, 2WD vehicles tend to be more fuel-efficient than 4WD vehicles. This is because 4WD systems add weight and complexity, which can increase fuel consumption. If fuel efficiency is a priority for you, driving in 2WD mode may be preferable.

Road Conditions

2WD vehicles are typically better suited for normal road conditions, such as paved roads or well-maintained surfaces. They provide adequate traction for regular driving scenarios.

On the other hand, 4WD vehicles excel in low-traction conditions like snow, ice, mud, or off-road terrain. They distribute power to all four wheels, enhancing traction and improving handling in such situations.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Generally, 2WD vehicles have lower maintenance and repair costs compared to 4WD vehicles.

This is because 4WD systems are more complex and have additional components that require servicing.

Maintenance costs, such as tire replacements and drivetrain repairs, can be higher for 4WD vehicles.

Traction Control

4WD vehicles have an advantage when it comes to traction control. The power distribution to all four wheels helps improve grip and stability, especially in low-traction conditions.

In contrast, 2WD vehicles have less traction control since power is only sent to two wheels, typically the front or rear.

Tips For Safe And Responsible Driving In 4-High

Tips For Safe And Responsible Driving In 4-High

Driving in 4-High refers to driving in a four-wheel-drive (4WD) high-range mode, which is typically used in off-road or low-traction conditions. Here are some tips for safe and responsible driving in 4-High:

Familiarize yourself with the vehicle

Before driving in 4-High, read your vehicle’s manual to understand how to engage and disengage the 4WD system.

Get comfortable with the controls and understand the limitations and capabilities of your vehicle.

Use 4-High when necessary

Engage 4-High only when you encounter conditions that require additional traction, such as snow, ice, mud, or loose gravel.

Avoid using 4-High on dry, paved roads, as it can strain the drivetrain and affect handling.

Moderate your speed

While 4-High can improve traction, it does not guarantee invincibility. Drive at a moderate speed that suits the conditions and maintain a safe following distance. Remember, your stopping distances may increase in low-traction situations.

Smooth acceleration and braking

Apply the throttle smoothly to avoid spinning the wheels and maintain control. When braking, do so gently and early to prevent skidding or sliding. Allow for increased braking distances in low-traction scenarios.

Steer smoothly and avoid sudden maneuvers

Make gradual steering inputs to maintain stability. Sudden turns or jerky movements can upset the balance of the vehicle and cause a loss of control. Be especially cautious on slippery surfaces.

Plan ahead and anticipate obstacles

Look ahead and identify potential hazards on the road or off-road. This allows you to react in advance and choose the best path to navigate through challenging conditions.

Keep a lookout for others

Be aware of other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles around you. Communicate your intentions using turn signals or hand signals when necessary. Yield the right of way and be considerate of others on the road or trail.

Respect environmental concerns

If you’re driving off-road, stay on designated trails to minimize environmental impact. Avoid damaging sensitive habitats, and follow local regulations and guidelines.

Practice recovery techniques

Learn basic recovery techniques, such as how to get unstuck or use recovery equipment like traction mats or tow straps. Being prepared can help you handle unexpected situations effectively.

Maintain your vehicle

Regularly service and maintain your vehicle, especially the 4WD system. Check tire pressure, tread condition, and ensure all components are in good working order. This helps optimize performance and ensures safety.


Before we delve into frequently asked questions, it’s important to note that understanding your vehicle’s capabilities and limitations is key to maintaining its longevity and ensuring safe driving.

Can I Switch To 4h While Driving?

Yes, in most Chevy Silverado models, you can shift into 4-High while the vehicle is in motion, ideally under 55 mph.

Does Driving In 4h Use More Fuel?

Yes, driving in 4-High typically uses more fuel than 2WD because it engages more components, increasing the load on the engine.

What Is The Towing Capacity Of The 4th Generation Chevy Silverado?

The towing capacity of the 4th generation Chevy Silverado varies by model, but it can range from 7,900 to 13,300 pounds.

Final Words

Understanding your Chevy Silverado’s 4WD system is crucial for optimizing its performance and maintaining its longevity. 

Whether you’re tackling tough terrains or maneuvering through inclement weather, knowing when and how to use 4-High can significantly enhance your driving experience. 

Always remember to drive responsibly and keep your vehicle’s capabilities in mind.

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