Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch Problems (Explained)

Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch Problems

Chevy’s have 4-wheel drive because of its size and the ease of steering it affords the driver. They are designed majorly for off-road but can also be used on other roads, hence, the need to be able to switch from 2H to 4H depending on the road condition.

Switching from 2H to 4H is done by using the Chevy 4-wheel drive switch. The drive switch like other parts of the car is not without its problems.

Therefore, the chevy 4 wheel drive switch problems are a broken spring, corrosion, moisture infiltration,badly connected wires, actuator no longer aligning, etc.

What is the Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch?

The Chevy 4-wheel drive switch is simply said to be a device that makes the transfer of power possible from the engine to the wheels.

This switch allows for easy change from 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive and vice versa. The driver can easily switch to a drive suitable for the present driving condition.

Other functions of the Chevy 4-wheel drive switch are;

  • It sends power to both the front axles and rear axles
  • It allows both (rear and front) driveshaft to rotate at varying speeds
  • The driver is able to switch to a suitable drive at will

Do Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch Do Have Problems?

Yes, Chevy 4-wheel drive does have problems. Just like other parts of a car, the Chevy 4-wheel drive switch tends to have some problems such as; a misaligned actuator, broken spring, etc.

It is important that these problems are not overlooked as failure to have them fixed in time could result in a reduction in the engine’s life span, reduced fuel economy, and an increase in the engine’s wear and tear among others.

What are the Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch Problems?

Here are some problems that are common with the Chevy 4-wheel drive:

1. Moisture Infiltration

The drive switch is usually located on the front of the car therefore, it is easy for moisture to get in. Moisture will no doubt damage the drive switch and can even lead to oxidation of the metals in the switch. When this happens, there is a high chance of losing power or even a fire.

If moisture infiltration has been troubleshot to be the problem, it should be addressed quickly in order to prevent more damage from being done.

2. Badly Connected Wires

Another problem common with a 4-wheel drive switch is badly connected wires, if the wire is broken or not connected correctly the switch will not work. If this is noticed to be the problem, you should have an expert look into it and have it replaced.

3. Actuator No Longer Aligning

An actuator is responsible for converting electrical signals (energy) into actions. It allows movement of the switch.

Now, we can see that the actuator is an important part of a switch, if anything were to happen to it like a misalignment the switch won’t move.

One way to know if you are dealing with a misaligned actuator is when loud noises can be heard when your Chevy is being driven.

What Causes Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch to Go Bad?

A number of things have been known to be the cause of a Chevy 4-wheel drive switch going bad, some of them are;

Improper Maintenance

The first reason why a Chevy 4-wheel will go bad is lack of or improper maintenance. Without routine maintenance, there is no way for the driver to know if the switch needs repair until it is completely bad and not functioning well. A lot of car problems will be prevented with timely maintenance.

Driving in 4 HI Mode on Dry Pavement

Chevy 4-wheel drive is not designed to be driven on dry pavement. Doing so will cause a drivetrain problem which will eventually result in damage to some internal parts of the car, the drive switch inclusive. With this being said, it’s obvious that is not good to drive in 4-wheel drive on dry pavement.

Ignoring other Problems in the Car

It is no news that if you ignore problems in a car they will escalate into bigger ones and also affect other parts of the engine.

The drive switch may not go bad as a result of issues pertaining to itself but because of problems with other surrounding car components.

How to Prevent Chevy 4 Wheel Drive Switch Problem

As the popular saying goes “prevention is better than cure”, it is better to prevent a Chevy 4-wheel drive switch problem than trying to repair or replace it later.

In trying to prevent a Chevy 4-wheel drive switch problem the following could be helpful

  • Regular Maintenance: Having regular and routine car maintenance seems to be the most common way of preventing any car problem, the same is applicable to preventing a switch drive problem. During maintenance, the mechanic is able to check the internal parts of the engine, change the necessary fluids, and repair where necessary.
  • Reduce the Rate of Rough Driving: A Chevy 4-wheel drive problem can also be prevented if its driver will drive at a reasonable speed and take caution when driving on rough terrains even though 4-wheels are mostly designed for such. Driving condition has a lot to do with how long car parts will last before developing problems.
  • Do not Allow Moisture to Get Inside the Switch: Moisture can do a lot of harm to a car’s electronics, the drive switch inclusive. To prevent moisture from getting in; do not park the car in the open when retiring for the night, use sealant to keep moisture out, etc.

What Does it Mean When Chevy Truck Says Service 4 Wheel Drive?

When the Chevy truck says ‘Service 4-Wheel Drive’, it simply means there is a problem with the 4-wheel drive that needs to be checked out and fixed.

You may not necessarily be able to tell what the problem is by seeing the message, you will have to take a closer look and troubleshoot to detect where the problem is.

Your best bet to finding the problem will be to visit an auto shop, except of course you have knowledge of how the car operates.

This message won’t go away unless the problem had been fixed. To fix the problem, you will need to scan the fault codes using a scan tool. The fault code is usually stored in the transfer case control module (TCCM).

Other than the message ‘Service 4-wheel Drive’ coming on, a warning light may also come on to indicate the same i.e. the need to check and fix a problem in the car.


The need and importance of the drive switch have been established; therefore, it is now up to the car owner to ensure that it is in good condition at all times by taking preventive measures.