What Do L4l, H4l, and H4f Mean on Toyota 4Runner?

Toyota 4runner is a great vehicle that is known to offer excellent off-roading ability, unparalleled reliability, and rugged construction. Often, that is just about it for most people. However, there are many more details that you need to understand to be able to drive this vehicle and exploit its full potential. 

Generally, there are different engagements when driving a Toyota 4runner. You will notice some letters near the shifter when driving full-time 4WD. These are basically high and low-range gears that help in traversing challenging terrain.

The H4F stands for high speed, free. Free means that the center differential is open. For H4L, the center differential is locked, so you can drive on a road like that, but there will be an equal torque between the front and back axle to allow road climbing. L4L stands for low range, with the center differential locked. 

You will find these terminologies and abbreviations on your 4WD and it is important to understand what each means. 

What Does L4L Mean on Toyota 4Runner? 

what does l4l h4l and h4f mean on toyota 4runner

Understanding your vehicle is very important in many aspects. 4WDs, in particular, have different engagements that allow you to handle different types of terrains. 

L4L stands for Low Speed/ Low Range, locked. It is a low-range gearing, ad the central differential is locked. This mode utilizes maximum traction and power. Therefore, it is not the most economical mode. It allows you to have more torque on your wheels, but at a lower speed. 

What Does H4L Mean on Toyota 4Runner?

Toyota 4runner is a great choice for a rugged off-roader. The 4WDs, in particular, make a great purchase. 

H4L stands for High Speed/ High Range, Locked. This means that the 4runner is driving with high-range gearing but the center differential is locked. This gear can be used for driving in gravel, snow, muddy terrains, or off-road driving. 

What Does H4F Mean on Toyota 4Runner? 

When driving the Toyota 4runner, you will need to engage different gears that will be best suited for the road condition. The H4F is regarded as the most economical gear for your daily driving. Usually, with 4WD, there are part-time and full-time versions.

H4F stands for High Speed (or High Range), is Free, and is only in full-time 4WD. When engaged, your 4runner will be running at a high-range gearing while the center differential remains free (not locked).

You can engage this mode for your everyday driving needs since it guarantees the highest economy, the quietest ride, and reduced wear. 

What Does Eco Mean on Toyota 4Runner?

In the Toyota 4runner, ECO means that the Eco mode is activated. Once activated, the engine plays two roles: to move the vehicle and also generate electricity for all the electric parts. This eco mode also aims to reduce the workload on the engine.

The vehicle system is able to regulate air conditioning, heated seats, and other components when activated. Moreover, this mode helps to reduce both emissions and fuel consumption. Therefore, it is seen to be an economic and ecological way of driving.

Practical Applications of L4L, H4L, and H4F

After understanding the specifics, it’s equally crucial to discern when to use these systems effectively. Knowledge is power, and knowing how to apply this knowledge can significantly enhance your off-road experiences. For example, the L4L mode is your go-to choice when you’re navigating rocky terrain, steep inclines, and deep mud. On the other hand, the H4L mode is perfect for tackling loose gravel, dirt roads, and snowy paths. Finally, the H4F mode is ideally suited for city driving and occasional off-road adventures.

Can You Turn Eco Mode Off on 4Runner?

The Eco mode is best suited for stop-and-go driving where fuel consumption increases. It is not recommended for use when going uphill or overtaking other vehicles on a highway. Therefore, at some point, you will need to turn it off. Thankfully, it is straightforward. 

To turn off this mode, simply select another driving mode. Usually, for Toyota, the driving mode switches are located at the base of the gear shift lever. The common options you will find are eco, normal, ad sport. You can go for normal driving conditions or sports when you need more precise handling and more acceleration power.


How Fast Can I Drive In H4L?

As long as you are in H4, there is no limit to speed. While there is no need to be going too fast, it is possible to attain greater speed in this gear. However, it is advisable to not go beyond 30 or 40mph. to shift to L4, you need to stop and be neutral. 

Can You Put A 4runner In 4WD While Driving?

Shifting between the 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive as well as locking and unlocking the center differential can all be done while driving. Some drivers confirm that it is easier to engage their 4wd while driving. However, you will be required to be traveling at a speed less than 50mph to lock it in 4-wheel drive. 

How Fast Can You Drive A 4runner In 4WD?

If you are in full-time 4WD, you can drive as fast as your 4runner is capable of. However, when you have it locked in 4hi, it is advisable not to exceed 50mph. Often, anytime you come across a road that is slippery enough to require 4WD, it is not safe. Hence, avoid high speeds. 


The rugged and reliable Toyota 4×4 is a popular vehicle. However, there are often many details that some drivers may not know about the Toyota 4runner. Also, over the years, this vehicle has improved. There are new features such as traction control, improved transmissions, and so on. This means that there is a lot to learn about the Toyota 4runner.

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