How do I turn on all-wheel drive in my Honda CR-V?

I just bought a 2010 Honda CR-V. It says four-wheel drive, but I don't see anything to put the SUV into four-wheel drive. Also, the vehicle stability assist is showing that it is turned off. Do I use this only when I slide, or should this be on all the time? I also was told not to go over 25 mph when this is on. I'm very confused. Can you help me? I live in Colorado — no snow yet.

Judy, Littleton, Colo.

One of the most overlooked items that comes with any new car is the owner’s manual. So many questions we receive could be answered quickly and simply with a quick glance at the books in your glove box. The dealer is also a good resource and should have gone over the systems with you before you drove off the lot.

You can turn the stability control (Honda calls it Vehicle Stability Assist, or VSA) on and off with a switch on the left side of the dashboard, but the CR-V’s Real-Time 4WD system turns itself on and off based on how slippery the roads are.


Stability control should automatically turn on every time you start the engine, even if you manually turned it off the previous time you drove, according to Honda. If a dashboard light always indicates it is turned off, the system is not working and you should take your CR-V to your dealer immediately and have it fixed.

Stability control can prevent skids by sensing that the steering angle is different from the direction of travel and automatically apply the brakes to one or more wheels and reduce engine power to keep the vehicle going in the right direction. In the case of the CR-V, VSA also includes traction control, which applies the brakes to wheels when they slip during acceleration. We recommend leaving stability control turned on all the time because you never know when you will need it.  And shame on whoever told you not to go over 25 mph when it is on. That is wrong, and Honda says it is active at any speed.

There is no switch for the CR-V’s 4WD system. It comes on when the front wheels start to slip (lose traction) and sends some power to the rear wheels. It turns off when the front wheels stop slipping and reverts to front-wheel drive, the CR-V’s normal mode on dry pavement.

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Answered by Rick Popely on November 15, 2010 in All-wheel drive | Permalink

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