Why would 4x4 engage when turned to "on" but not when "auto" is selected?

Asked by Jun 14, 2017 at 08:25 PM about the 2004 Ford Escape XLT 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I'm considering buying an 04 escape that clearly engages 4wd when turned to
on but when spinning the front tires in the gravel for a couple seconds, it
seems the 4wd doesn't kick on... Why?

1 Answer

1,750

You may want to read into what behavior the computer looks for in order to kick it to the on position. Its similar to AWD systems that are automatic. Some kick while vehicle is moving, others can engage while still. All sorts of sensors/rules built it to make sure they do not engage pre-maturely.

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