Understanding Your Jeep Patriot’s 4×4 System: A Deep Dive into Off-Roading Excellence

by / / Official Automotive Blog
Lifted red Jeep Patriot with Mud tires off-road on rocky cliff

As a seasoned mechanic and proud owner of a Jeep Patriot, I take great pleasure in sharing my expertise about this iconic vehicle, particularly its 4×4 system. It’s this attribute that sets the Patriot apart from its rivals and encapsulates its off-roading prowess.

A Brief Overview of the 4×4 System

In essence, a 4×4 system is designed to deliver power to all four wheels of a vehicle simultaneously. This mechanism can drastically improve the car’s performance in off-road conditions or whenever additional traction is needed. But not all 4×4 systems are created equal. The one nestled within the Jeep Patriot is a perfect example of a system that surpasses the ordinary, and it’s known as the Freedom Drive.

The Freedom Drive: A Breakdown

The Jeep Patriot comes with two types of four-wheel-drive (4WD) systems: Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II. Each is suited to specific types of driving conditions.

Jeep Patriot being repaired in a garage

Freedom Drive I

Freedom Drive I is an active, full-time 4WD system that’s built for everyday driving and moderate off-roading. It delivers year-round traction and the ability to handle rough weather and low-traction conditions like snow or sand.

This system operates in a front-wheel-drive mode during normal driving conditions, providing optimal fuel efficiency. When the system detects wheel slip, it can transfer up to 60% of the torque to the rear wheels, ensuring you maintain traction.

Freedom Drive II

Freedom Drive II takes things up a notch. It’s an optional package that includes a continuously variable transaxle with a low range (CVT2L), which engages when the off-road mode is activated. This system is trail-rated and designed for more severe off-roading conditions.

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When off-road mode is engaged, the system can send 100% of the torque to the rear wheels or whichever wheel has the most traction. It also includes a brake-lock differential system, hill descent control, and additional body sealing, allowing the Patriot to perform admirably in up to 19 inches of water.

Key Components of the 4×4 System

Now, let’s delve deeper into the major components of the Jeep Patriot’s 4×4 system.

  1. The Transfer Case. A key player in the 4×4 system is the transfer case. This unit splits the power coming from the transmission and directs it to both the front and rear axles through the front and rear driveshafts. In the Patriot’s case, this is handled by the CVT.
  2. The Driveshafts and Differentials. Driveshafts are the mechanisms that transfer the power from the transfer case to the vehicle’s wheels. Meanwhile, differentials are designed to allow the wheels to turn at different speeds, which is particularly useful when cornering.
  3. The Locking Differential. One of the features that make the Freedom Drive II package truly off-road capable is the brake lock differential. This system can detect when one wheel is spinning faster than the others (a sign that it’s losing traction) and apply the brake to that wheel. This action forces the differential to send power to the other wheel on the same axle that has more traction.

Maintaining Your 4×4 System

Regular maintenance of your 4×4 system is vital. Here are some things you should do:

  • Regularly check and change the fluid in both differentials.
  • Make sure your transfer case fluid is checked and changed at the recommended intervals.
  • Listen for any unusual noises, and if you hear any, have your 4×4 system inspected immediately.
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Preparation to Off-Road

Before you hit those rugged trails in your Jeep Patriot, it’s crucial to ensure that your 4×4 system is ready to take on the challenges. Begin by checking the fluid levels in your transfer case and differentials. These fluids play a crucial role in keeping your 4×4 system running smoothly by reducing friction and heat. If the fluids are dirty or at a low level, it’s time to get them changed. Remember, old or contaminated fluid can cause the components to wear faster and could potentially lead to failure.

Jeep Patriot with Rough Country suspension lift kit

Next, do a quick visual inspection of the undercarriage. Look for any visible damage to the transfer case, driveshafts, and differentials. Check for any leaks that could indicate a failing seal. If your Patriot is equipped with underbody skid plates, ensure they are securely fastened and free of significant damage. Don’t forget to inspect your tires as well. They should be in good shape with plenty of tread left, and inflated to the proper PSI. Taking these steps will not only ensure the readiness of your 4×4 system but also enhance your off-roading experience. Remember, a well-prepared vehicle equals a more enjoyable and safer off-road adventure.

Final Thoughts

The 4×4 system in your Jeep Patriot is an engineering marvel that adds significantly to the vehicle’s overall performance and off-roading capabilities. It is a tribute to Jeep’s commitment to creating vehicles that push boundaries and go where others can’t.

So, whether you’re cruising on highways, trekking through mountain trails, or navigating through snowy landscapes, you can rest assured that your Jeep Patriot’s 4×4 system has got your back. Happy adventuring!

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A common challenge when buying tires is understanding the different types of tires, and which one will work best for you.


The most popular manufacturers use common tire size abbreviations. They are the same for all tire brands produced throughout the world. When selecting tires for your car, truck or SUV it is a good idea to understand what the sidewall markings mean, in order to understand specs of the tires you select.

Tire Codes Explanation

The first number one can normally see on a tire sidewall is the tire width (in millimeters). In the example above, the tire width is 195 mm. This is a measurement between the sides of tire, from one sidewall to another. Some tire brands use extra letter before the number that denotes width. In the example above, the letter is missing. However, if you see P195, this is a passenger tire that is 195 mm wide. As a rule, width on the sidewall is followed by a slash (/) or a space.
Aspect ratio follows the width in the common tire codes. Sometimes, tire manufacturers can use a space or slash mark between them. Aspect ratio is the second number you can see on the tire sidewall. It explains, how tall is the tire profile. In the example above, aspect ratio equals to 65. Modern tire codes deliver the aspect ratio as percentage. It is calculated by dividing the height of the tire by its width. If you see, that aspect ratio is 65, it means that the height of the tire is 65% of its width. In general, the lower aspect ratio (around 60) means better handling.
Construction type is the letter that follows the aspect ratio in the tire code. It denotes the type of the tire internal construction, that maintains the tire stability on the road. There are 2 types of construction:
  1. R - Radial;
  2. D - Diagonal (also known as Bias Ply).
The majority of tires used in the U.S. are radial tires, and that is the only kind of construction offered by Fuzion tires. So chances are high, that you also have got radial tires on your daily driver. This construction means, that the internal ply cords of the tire are positioned in radial direction, perpendicular to the rotation axis and placed from one bead over to the other.
Explanation of rim diameter is pretty simple, especially for the Americans, who normally use inches to measure something. So, the number, that follows construction type on the tire code, is the diameter of the rim in inches. In the example provided, the code says ‘R15’, which means the rim diameter is 15 inches.
Load index is the combination of digits that follows the rim diameter. It tells, how much weight a tire can support when it is completely inflated (weight in lbs). This measurement is called as load index, since it does not give the exact weight the tire is developed to carry, but it corresponds to certain capacity as an index. You can find a number from 1 to 150, which represents load capacities between 99 and 735 lbs.
Speed rating is the last letter in the tire codes. It works exactly as the load index does for the particular load. This means, that speed rating letter corresponds to a certain speed capability from the internationally standardized base. In the example above, the speed rating is ‘H’. Alternatively, it can be ‘R’ for tires rated up to 106 mph, or ‘S’ for the tires rated for up to 112 mph. Note, that this is not recommended cruising speed, but the speed limit that should not be exceeded for certain tires. The higher speed rating is, the better is handling performance tires offer. If you happen to use tires with different speed ratings on one vehicle, the least speed rating should not be exceeded.

Jeep Patriot Tires

Whether you own Jeep Patriot Sport, Limited or Latitude, it's good to know, what wheel and tire sizes are recommended for your specific vehicle. We have selected all necessary information about these trim levels to let you know about the features, that came standard for these SUVs. Select the trim level you are interested in and find out technical details about Jeep Patriot tires that are guaranteed to work.




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