4wd or 2wd for Wear and tear on ATV dirt trails

For the least wear on the trails I think you should:


  • Total voters
    6

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
I maintain my own trails on 48 acres. Some of the trails are very steep. I can make it up them in 2wd or in 4wd when dry. When wet 4wd is best.

Trails are dry more often than not when I drive them, and I don't want to cause more ruts or wear on the trails than necessary so I'm thinking 4wd with all wheels pulling would be less wear on the trails. But do 4 wheels digging in vs 2 tear up more than 2wd. I don't know so I'm asking you. What do ya think?
 

bczoom

Super Moderator
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
I use 2WD myself but if you want to stop rutting, I'd use 4WD. 4WD can be worse on your corners though.

I use 4WD coming down hills as I'll just slide down some of my hills in 2WD.

I wanted to vote but you only allowed one option. I wanted to vote 4WD but buying a round of beers is obviously a better option.
 

pixie

Active member
SUPER Site Supporter
Well, once or twice a year you could drag a piece of metal around and 2-4 wd wouldn't matter. Keeping slopes from washing out is more of a concern. You need waterbars, there.
 

JimVT

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
4 wheel for the trail but it is harder on your machine to save trails. the logging roads in our area are now saying to use 4 to save the roads.
i run my yamaha in 2x .it doesn't spin but use 4 in the needed spots. you should be able to see if your causing damage. it is just to easy to change from 4x to 2.
 

Doc

Administrator
Staff member
I have waterbars in a lot of places and they help. Some places the lay of the land or solid rock or gas line on side make it hard to add a waterbar.

Yes, iike Jim said so easy to switch from 2wd to 4wd that is what I do. for select spots I switch then switch back to 2wd once up the hill.
 

Bannedjoe

Well-known member
This is the silliest thing I've read all day!

4x4 100% of the way.
Who wants a two wheel drive anything?
 

mla2ofus

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
Most 4WD ATV's have limited slip rear differentials so when you go into a turn the inside tire will pull up dirt trying to go the same speed as the outside one. So when going thru a turn lean your weight outside to take some of the weight off the inside tire allowing it to spin w/o pulling up so much dirt. If the trail is leaning downhill slightly and has a turn this will take some finess. If you want to see what I'm talking about drive your ATV in 2WD on your concrete driveway and make some turns on it and see the rubber marks left by the inside rear tire.
 

Big Dog

Large Member
Staff member
GOLD Site Supporter
I only use 4wd when I feel I need it just for the fact of fending off binding of the FWD on turns. My Mule, surprisingly has a pretty tight turning radius and I see it as preventing issues.
 

NorthernRedneck

Well-known member
GOLD Site Supporter
I keep mine in 2wd most of the time as I figure that if I'm going to get stuck, if it's in 2wd then I can put it in 4 and have a hope of getting out. If I was in 4 and got stuck, out comes the winch and chain.
 

Snowtrac Nome

member formerly known as dds
GOLD Site Supporter
spot on Randy the tire tread will tear up more trail than spinning tires. I use front drive only when I need it as the machine uses less steering force to turn and on some models like Polaris with electronic 4wd it disengages above a certain speed any way. except for some utv's the quads will all have a spooled rear diff so wheel slip is going to happen in turns less aggressive tires will help most to prevent trail damage. that's why some of your more aggressive tires aren't allowed on public lands now.
 
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