Closeup of 2017 Jeep Wrangler tires driving through mud

Which Drive System is Right for Me and My Jeep?

Jeep All-Wheel Drive vs Full-time 4×4 vs Part-Time 4WD vs On-Demand 4WD

If you have every shopped for a new Jeep vehicle you may have noticed that many models offer more than one kind of drive system. With options like the Full-Time 4×4 system, All-Wheel Drive system, Part-Time 4×4 system, and the On-Demand 4WD system things can become a little confusing. This guide from Classic CDJRF is here to help break down each of these drive systems to help you find the one that is right for your Jeep. Keep reading below to learn more.


Read more: How Do I Prepare my Jeep for Off-Roading?


Jeep Drive Systems Explained

The Jeep brand is a go-to for many drivers looking for their next off-roading vehicle. Jeep has developed a reputation for being the ultimate vehicle option for the trails and its lineup of available drive systems proves why that is. Below we have broken down how the Jeep All-Wheel Drive, Full-Time 4×4, Part-Time 4WD, and On-Demand 4WD systems work in a Jeep vehicle. Blue 2020 Jeep Cherokee in sand

  • All-Wheel Drive: This system delivers power to all four wheels on your Jeep at all times. All-Wheel Drive models do not feature a “4-low” setting, meaning that their ability to handle off-road situations is a little more limited. However, the All-Wheel Drive system is a perfect match for any conditions on the road.
  • Full-Time 4×4: This drive system is a perfect match for any surface and by default will operate in four-wheel drive. This system allows the front and rear driveshafts to turn at varying speeds thanks to the use of a center differential or clutch.
  • Part-Time 4WD: This drive system does not use a center differential and by default runs as a two-wheel drive vehicle. Part-Time 4WD operates by locking the front and rear driveshafts to help make tackling the trails and off-road conditions easy.
  • On-Demand 4WD: This system reacts automatically to changing driving conditions. On-Demand 4WD will operate in two-wheel drive when driving through normal conditions, but when you encounter a slick surface the system will automatically engage 4WD.

Read more: How Well Does the 2020 Jeep Compass Handle Off-Roading?


Are you ready to find your perfect Jeep and hit the trails? First, it is important to understand each of the drive systems Jeep offers so that you know you are getting a vehicle equipped with the system that is right for you. Use this guide to better understand the differences between All-Wheel Drive, Full-Time 4×4, Part-Time 4WD, and On-Demand 4WD. Head over to our online inventory to take a look at our full range of in-stock Jeep models and book a test drive today.