4-wheel drive activation
I bought a 2013 Escape last summer. According to the manual, it automatically shifts
into 4-wheel drive when slippery conditions are Present. Am I reading that correctly?
Yes you are, no input from the driver and the computer will put the power to the rear wheels when needed.
Yes the ECM picks up the signal when the front or rear spins depending on the vehicle and locks the other axle in. It will stay in until it sees conditions where it doesn't get a signal that the wheels are trying to spin. Most of the time you will never feel it engage or disengage.
If your Escape is equipped with the Intelligent 4WD system (some are just Front Wheel Drive), it is basically an AWD system, which means it will, most of the time, drive with just the front wheels, but it has a computer which senses hundreds of different things from breaking, steering, wheel slippage and vehicle inclination and other systems to see if it needs additional torque from the rear wheels. You will often find this happen upon launch from a stop. The system will send about half the power from the front to the rear wheels so that you don't get wheel spin. After it passes 22mph, it will then readjust to a handling mode where it will alter the power sent to the rear tires according to gravitational forces, breaking and steering to make sure you don't lose control over Escape. It also kicks in the torque when it senses that one of the front wheels is slipping and then send torque to the back wheels so that all 4 are providing pull. This system is designed so that you never have to think about it, so just drive.
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