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Can using the 'Auto' 4WD feature too much void the warranty?


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I'm new to the forum so please forgive me if I couldn't locate a thread that may have already covered this.

 

I just brought home a 2015 Silverado 4X4 with the Automatic Transfer Case last month. This option has the knob above the exterior lighting controls which give the options of 2WD, Auto, 4WD up, 4WD down, N.

 

I drive roughly 20 miles to work highway but in an area that can see flash flooding and in the winter, patches of ice. I want to know if I leave the vehicles 4WD system in 'Auto' during these commutes could I prematurely wear the system and void the warranty? Ideally I'd like to put the vehicle in 'Auto' even in light rain situations to keep the vehicle in control the best I possibly can even at the risk of lower fuel economy.

 

Reading over the manual is promting my question. For those of you that have it, section 9-47 is where it begins talking about the Automatic Transfer Case. However under section 9-42 when it begins talking about 4WD in general the warning clearly states 'Driving on clean, dry pavement in four-wheel drive for an extended period of time may cause premature wear on the system. The damage would not be covered by the vehicle warranty.' Would this warning apply to the 'Auto' setting or just when the vehicle is fully engaged in 4WD?

 

I contacted Chevrolet directly who advised I speak to a dealership. I spoke to a dealership that basically said the more you use any feature the more likely it is to wearout but used his words carefully enough not to give me an answer to what constitutes overuse to the point of voiding the warranty.

 

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to explain my concerns the best I can.

 

Thanks in advanced!

 

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To answer your question no it wont void the warranty in auto 4wd and no it wont cause premature wear on the system, it will kick it in when it detects slip in the rear wheels then it will take it back out when not needed this all happens in a fraction of a second. What the manual means is driving around in 4 hi or 4 low on dry pavement even wet pavement will cause premature wear and binding of the drivetrain when making a turn. You can leave it in auto 4wd for ever if you want

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There no need for auto unless the road is inconsistent with ice or snow patches. For heavy rain there's still no need for auto 4x4. Traction Control is enough. There's areas on the main road in my town that floods and never had a problem in my '14 or my old '98 when I had it and the '98 didn't have TC. There's even been times where it flooded all the way across the road and still no problem in my '98 in 2wd. My '14 is stock height, not even leveled and my '98 was leveled. Driving daily with Auto 4x4 will just lower your gas mileage and isn't needed. If my old 86 Chevy C10 and '98 Silverado neither with assist systems or auto 4x4 (C10 was of course 2wd) can do good in rain then I see no need in having it in auto 4x4 just because of heavy rain.

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To answer your question no it wont void the warranty in auto 4wd and no it wont cause premature wear on the system, it will kick it in when it detects slip in the rear wheels then it will take it back out when not needed this all happens in a fraction of a second. What the manual means is driving around in 4 hi or 4 low on dry pavement even wet pavement will cause premature wear and binding of the drivetrain when making a turn. You can leave it in auto 4wd for ever if you want

 

Thanks for the response! This was my initial thought as well but the owners manual put a bit of fear into me.

 

I'm currently in a 3 year lease (caught a great deal Memorial Day weekend) and have plans to buy it at the end if it makes sense to. I didn't want to void a warranty and put money into a vehicle I'm pretty much renting and unsure if I'll ever own.

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There no need for auto unless the road is inconsistent with ice or snow patches. For heavy rain there's still no need for auto 4x4. Traction Control is enough. There's areas on the main road in my town that floods and never had a problem in my '14 or my old '98 when I had it and the '98 didn't have TC. There's even been times where it flooded all the way across the road and still no problem in my '98 in 2wd. My '14 is stock height, not even leveled and my '98 was leveled. Driving daily with Auto 4x4 will just lower your gas mileage and isn't needed. If my old 86 Chevy C10 and '98 Silverado neither with assist systems or auto 4x4 (C10 was of course 2wd) can do good in rain then I see no need in having it in auto 4x4 just because of heavy rain.

Thanks for the response. I had a 2005 Chevrolet SSR before this and spun out on the highway one night with some heavy rain (didn't cause any damage to the truck/myself/anyone luckily) and it had traction control too. Easily could've been my fault but the weather certainly didn't help. I suppose I'm a bit more cautious after that experience and now with a much larger vehicle, if anything were to happen I don't want to be left wondering if flipping a switch to 'Auto' could've prevented it.

 

'Silverado4x4' believes it wouldn't void the warranty driving in 'Auto' during less than ideal weather days. What's your opinion on the 'premature wear voiding the warranty' stipulation I'm reading in the manual? Think it applies to the 'Auto' setting? Since it sounds like you've had quite a few of these types of vehicles I'd value your opinion as well.

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The 4 wheel drive will give you some advantage when you know how to use it.

Most drivers will panic and step on the brakes. Since the invention of ABS and TC and SC no problem.

But the 4x4 won't do much then.

 

Back then I was taught that aqua planing occurs at a speed of 80km/h or higher. Normal rain, road wet. A flooded road will cause aqua planing at lower speeds.

My advise is to take it a little easier when it's raining.

I have no trouble with my truck in the rain. He will only go sideways when I push it.

 

As for the warranty. I wouldn't worry too much. Not for the Auto setting.

 

That's what my manual says:

 

"Notice: Driving on clean, dry pavement in Four-Wheel Drive High or Four-Wheel Drive Low for an extended period of time may cause premature wear on the vehicle's powertrain.

Do not drive on clean, dry pavement in Four-Wheel Drive High or Four-Wheel Drive Low for extended periods of time."

 

No mention of the Auto - mode.

 

so long

j-ten-ner

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The 4 wheel drive will give you some advantage when you know how to use it.

Most drivers will panic and step on the brakes. Since the invention of ABS and TC and SC no problem.

But the 4x4 won't do much then.

 

Back then I was taught that aqua planing occurs at a speed of 80km/h or higher. Normal rain, road wet. A flooded road will cause aqua planing at lower speeds.

My advise is to take it a little easier when it's raining.

I have no trouble with my truck in the rain. He will only go sideways when I push it.

 

As for the warranty. I wouldn't worry too much. Not for the Auto setting.

 

That's what my manual says:

 

"Notice: Driving on clean, dry pavement in Four-Wheel Drive High or Four-Wheel Drive Low for an extended period of time may cause premature wear on the vehicle's powertrain.

Do not drive on clean, dry pavement in Four-Wheel Drive High or Four-Wheel Drive Low for extended periods of time."

 

No mention of the Auto - mode.

 

so long

j-ten-ner

Thanks for the input j-ten-ner! The notice you posted isn't the same as the one I read in my manual. Mine read 'Driving on clean, dry pavement in four-wheel drive for an extended period of time may cause premature wear on the system. The damage would not be covered by the vehicle warranty' with no mention of Auto/4WD up/4WD down like yours says. Where did you read the notice you posted? That could easily be the answer to my question.

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Thanks for the response. I had a 2005 Chevrolet SSR before this and spun out on the highway one night with some heavy rain (didn't cause any damage to the truck/myself/anyone luckily) and it had traction control too. Easily could've been my fault but the weather certainly didn't help. I suppose I'm a bit more cautious after that experience and now with a much larger vehicle, if anything were to happen I don't want to be left wondering if flipping a switch to 'Auto' could've prevented it.

 

'Silverado4x4' believes it wouldn't void the warranty driving in 'Auto' during less than ideal weather days. What's your opinion on the 'premature wear voiding the warranty' stipulation I'm reading in the manual? Think it applies to the 'Auto' setting? Since it sounds like you've had quite a few of these types of vehicles I'd value your opinion as well.

 

 

The only thing that would give premature wear is what someone else said, if you drive on dry pavement in 4hi. Driving in 4 auto won't give extra wear since it only kicks it into 4hi when the truck senses slipping. It would have to be very heavy rain or flooded areas for the truck to kick it into 4hi, but like I said it's still not needed. I've only had mine in auto 4 a couple of times and that was this past winter. There's a lot of hills where I live and the way the weather is, it usually snows over night then melts through the day and then freezes at night. So auto 4 is the best thing to have it on in these conditions. If the roads are covered in snow then just put it in 4hi, but if it's patches of ice and/or snow and other spots that are dry or wet then auto 4 is best.

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The only thing that would give premature wear is what someone else said, if you drive on dry pavement in 4hi. Driving in 4 auto won't give extra wear since it only kicks it into 4hi when the truck senses slipping. It would have to be very heavy rain or flooded areas for the truck to kick it into 4hi, but like I said it's still not needed. I've only had mine in auto 4 a couple of times and that was this past winter. There's a lot of hills where I live and the way the weather is, it usually snows over night then melts through the day and then freezes at night. So auto 4 is the best thing to have it on in these conditions. If the roads are covered in snow then just put it in 4hi, but if it's patches of ice and/or snow and other spots that are dry or wet then auto 4 is best.

It sounds like you're agreeing with Silverado4x4 and myself, leaving the Transfer Case in 'Auto' would not do damage and the warning I'm reading more likely pertains to 4 high.

 

Thanks for your input SouthernSilveradoGuy85; I appreciate it.

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Leaving it in 4 Auto won't harm anything. I suppose it "could" promote some wear of the front axle/differential as those would be turning, but not powered in normal conditions. I love the 4 Auto in the winter in Illinois. We tend to get a lot of patches of snow/ice followed by dry pavement. Especially at intersections. This works great as the truck will go into 4x4 on it's own at the first hint of slippage, and then disengage once traction is gained without any input from the driver. Love that.

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I'm not saying it will damage anything or void the warranty, but I always come back to the same idea that if it was ok to drive around in 4 auto 24/7, there wouldn't be an option for 2HI and the truck would come from the factory in 4 auto from the start.

 

4 auto is not a luxury feature where the truck determines when you need 4 wheel drive with a "set it and forget it" mentality. It's meant to give you the drive-ability of a 2WD truck with the benefit of 4wheel drive if you happen to need it when road conditions are known to be questionable and varying. Such as a little bit of snow or ice on the road. If you are in a situation like deep snow or sand or mud, you should be in 4HI, not 4auto. Otherwise, you should be in 2HI at nearly all times.

 

You also shouldn't need 4 wheel drive to prevent you from hydroplaning in wet road conditions. I've been driving a truck exclusively for the past 11 years and I've only used 2WD in rainy road conditions and never had an issue at all. You should only have to adjust your speed and of course ensure you're tires have some tread life left in them.

 

My advice is to put the truck back in 2HI and learn how to properly drive on wet roads. I'm not trying to be mean, just stating a fact about driving.

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4 auto is not a luxury feature where the truck determines when you need 4 wheel drive with a "set it and forget it" mentality. It's meant to give you the drive-ability of a 2WD truck with the benefit of 4wheel drive if you happen to need it when road conditions are known to be questionable and varying. Such as a little bit of snow or ice on the road.

That's exactly what it's for.

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That's exactly what it's for.

 

?

 

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your response but again, this is not designed to be a luxury feature where the truck determines when you need 4WD 24/7 for the life of the vehicle. It's not meant to be used like automatic headlights. It's meant to be manually switched to 4auto when road conditions are questionable (like light snow or ice) and then switched back to 2HI when road conditions are normal. Rain is considered normal. That's how it's supposed to be used.

 

Feel free to drive around in 4auto from the day you leave the lot until the day you sell the truck. But that's not how the system is intended to be used.

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