Note:   When a system malfunction is present, a warning message appears in the information display.   See   Information Messages.  This means the system is not functioning correctly and only front-wheel drive is available. Have your vehicle checked by an authorized dealer.
Note:   When the system overheats and switches to front-wheel drive, a warning message appears in the information display. This may occur if you operate your vehicle in extreme high load conditions or with excessive wheel spin (for example, deep sand). To resume all-wheel drive function, stop your vehicle in a safe location and turn off the ignition. When the system cools, normal all-wheel drive function will return.
Note:   When using the spare tire, a warning message may appear in the information display. This message turns off after reinstalling the repaired or replaced road tire and you switch on the ignition.
Note:   Re-install the repaired tire or replace the tire as soon as possible. Different tire sizes between the front and rear axles can cause system damage, or turn off the all-wheel drive.
This system anticipates wheel spin and transfers power to the rear wheels before the spin occurs. Even when wheel spin is not occurring, the system is continuously adjusting power distribution to the wheels, in an attempt to improve straight line and cornering, both on and off road.
The system automatically turns on every time you switch on the ignition.
The all-wheel drive system does not require maintenance.
Your all-wheel drive vehicle is not intended for off-road use. The AWD feature gives your vehicle some limited off-road capabilities in which driving surfaces are relatively level, obstruction-free and otherwise similar to normal on-road driving conditions. Operating your vehicle in other than those conditions could subject your vehicle to excessive stress which might result in damage that is not covered under your vehicle warranty.
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The information display indicates the power distribution between the front and rear wheels. The more the area is filled, the more power is being distributed to that wheel.
Driving in Special Conditions With All-Wheel Drive
All-wheel drive has operating characteristics that are somewhat different from two-wheel drive, both on and off the freeway.
Note:   It may be useful to switch the traction control off. This allows for more wheel spin and engine torque in certain off road conditions or if your vehicle becomes stuck.
When driving at slow speeds off road under high load conditions, use a low gear when possible. Low gear operation will maximize the engine and transmission cooling capability.
Under severe operating conditions, the air conditioning may cycle on and off to prevent the engine from overheating.
Basic Operating Principles
  • Drive slower in strong crosswinds that can affect the normal steering characteristics of your vehicle.
  • When driving your vehicle on surfaces made slippery by loose sand, water, gravel, snow or ice, proceed with care.
If Your Vehicle leaves the Road
If your vehicle leaves the road, reduce your vehicle speed and avoid severe braking. Once you have reduced your vehicle speed, ease your vehicle back onto the road. Do not turn the steering wheel sharply while returning your vehicle to the road.
It may be safer to stay on the shoulder of the road and slow down gradually before returning to the road. You may lose control if you do not slow down or if you turn the steering wheel too sharply or abruptly.
It may be less risky to strike small objects, such as freeway reflectors, with minor damage to your vehicle rather than attempt an abrupt dangerous direction change. Remember, your primary concern should be your safety and the safety of others.
Emergency Maneuvers
If you must make a sudden emergency direction change, avoid over-driving your vehicle. Turn the steering wheel only as rapidly and as far as you need to avoid the emergency. Apply smooth pressure to the accelerator pedal or brake pedal as needed. Avoid abrupt steering, acceleration and braking changes. Abrupt changes could increase the risk of vehicle roll over, loss of vehicle control and personal injury. Use all available road surfaces to bring your vehicle under control.
In the event of an emergency stop, avoid skidding and do not attempt any sharp steering wheel movements.
Your vehicle responds differently to steering, accelerating and braking on different road surfaces when changing from one type of surface to another.
Sand
When driving over sand, avoid driving at excessive speeds. This will cause your vehicle momentum to work against you. Your vehicle could become stuck and that may require assistance from another vehicle. Remember, if you proceed with caution you may be able to back out the way you came.
Do not drive in deep sand for an extended period. This will cause the all-wheel drive system to overheat. You will see a warning message in the information display.   See   Information Messages
To resume operation, switch the ignition off and allow the system to cool down for a minimum of 15 minutes. After the system has cooled down, you will see a brief message display in the information display.   See   Information Messages
When driving at slow speeds in deep sand under high outside temperatures, use a low gear when possible. Low gear operation will maximize the engine and transmission cooling capability.
Tips when driving over sand:
  • Keep all four wheels on the most solid area of the trail.
  • Shift to a lower gear.
  • Apply the accelerator slowly.
  • Drive steadily through the terrain.
  • Avoid excessive wheel spin.
  • Avoid reducing the tire pressures.
Mud and Water
Mud
Avoid sudden changes in vehicle speed or direction when you are driving in mud. Even all-wheel drive vehicles can lose traction in mud. If your vehicle does slide, steer in the direction of the slide until you regain control of your vehicle.
After driving through mud, clean off excess mud stuck to rotating driveshafts and tires. Excess mud stuck on tires and rotating driveshafts can cause an imbalance that could damage drive components.
Water
Drive slowly through high water. Traction or brake capability may be limited.
When driving through water, determine the depth and avoid water higher than the bottom of the wheel rims. If the ignition system gets wet, your vehicle may stall.
Once through water, always try the brakes. Wet brakes will not stop your vehicle as quickly as dry brakes. Apply light pressure to the brake pedal while slowly moving the vehicle to dry the brakes.
Note:   Driving through deep water may damage the transmission. If the front or rear axle is submerged in water, have the power transfer unit (PTU) or rear axle serviced by an authorized dealer.
Driving on Hilly or Sloping Terrain
Although natural obstacles may make it necessary to travel diagonally up or down a hill or steep incline, always try to drive straight up or straight down the sloping terrain.
Note:   To maintain traction and avoid possibly rolling your vehicle, avoid turning on steep slopes or hills. When you drive on a hill, determine beforehand the route you will use. Do not drive over a hill without first seeing what is on the other side. Do not drive in reverse over a hill without the aid of an observer.
Start climbing a steep slope or hill in a low gear rather than downshifting to a low gear from a high gear after you have started your climb. This reduces strain on the engine and the possibility of stalling.
If your vehicle stalls, do not try to turn around. Turning could cause the vehicle to roll over. Instead, reverse back to a safe location.
Apply just enough power to the wheels to climb the hill. Too much power will cause the tires to slip, spin or lose traction, and you could lose control of your vehicle.
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To avoid brake overheating, come down a hill in the same gear you used to go up the hill. Do not come down in neutral. Move the transmission selector lever to a lower gear. When descending a steep hill, avoid sudden hard braking to keep the front wheels rolling and to maintain your vehicle's steering.
Your vehicle has anti-lock brakes. Apply the brakes steadily. Do not pump the brake pedal.
Driving on Snow and Ice
WARNING   WARNING:  If you are driving in slippery conditions that require tire chains or cables, then it is critical that you drive cautiously. Keep speeds down, allow for longer stopping distances and avoid aggressive steering to reduce the chances of a loss of vehicle control which can lead to serious injury or death. If the rear end of your vehicle slides while cornering, steer in the direction of the slide until you regain control of your vehicle.

Note:   Excessive tire slippage can cause transmission damage.
In snow and ice, all-wheel drive vehicles have advantages over two-wheel drive vehicles but can still skid. When driving on snowy or icy roads, should you start to slide, turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide until you regain control.
On snow and ice, avoid suddenly applying power and avoid quick change of direction. Apply the accelerator slowly and steadily when starting from a stop.
Avoid sudden braking. An all-wheel drive vehicle may accelerate better than a two-wheel drive vehicle in snow and ice. However, an all-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any faster, as braking occurs at all four wheels. Do not become overconfident to road conditions.
Make sure that you allow sufficient distance between your vehicle and other vehicles for stopping. On ice and snow, you should drive more slowly than usual, and consider using one of the lower gears. In emergency stopping situations, steadily apply the brake. Your vehicle has a four wheel anti-lock brake system, do not pump the brake pedal.   See   Hints on Driving With Anti-Lock Brakes
If Your Vehicle Gets Stuck In Mud or Snow
If your vehicle becomes stuck in mud or snow, shift between forward and reverse gears, and, in a steady pattern, stop between shifts. Press lightly on the accelerator with each shift. Rocking your vehicle this way may dislodge your vehicle.
Note:   Do not rock your vehicle if the engine is not at normal operating temperature, damage to the transmission may occur.
Note:   Do not rock your vehicle for more than a minute, damage to the transmission and tires may occur or the engine may overheat.
Maintenance and Modifications
The suspension and steering systems on your vehicle provides predictable performance whether your vehicle is loaded or empty. For this reason, we recommend that you do not make modifications to your vehicle (lift kits or stabilizer bars) or use replacement parts not equivalent to the original factory equipment.
We recommend that you use caution when your vehicle has either a high load or device (ladder or luggage racks). Modifications to your vehicle that raise the center of gravity may cause your vehicle to tip if you should lose vehicle control.
Failure to maintain your vehicle correctly may void the warranty, increase your repair cost, reduce vehicle performance and operational capabilities, and adversely affect you and your passenger's safety. We recommend that you frequently inspect your vehicle's chassis components if your vehicle is subject to off-road use.