If you drive a 4x4 vehicle then you have what is called a front axel engagement switch. This switch is responsible for controlling your actuator, which is what signals the front differential on your vehicle. All you have to do is turn on the switch, and then your vehicle will switch to four wheel drive. To make the switch easy to access, it's usually located on your dashboard. Because it is operated by a switch, it is referred to as an electronic 4x4 system.
While it would be great to think that this part lasts forever, unfortunately since it is an electrical component it's not unheard of for it to fail. When that happens, replacement will be needed. Because it doesn't fall under regular maintenance, it will be up to you to monitor how the front axle engagement switch is working. If you are concerned it has reached the end of its lifespan, you can have an expert mechanic take a look and diagnose the problem.
Here are some signs that could mean your front axel engagement switch is faulty and no longer working as it should.
You press the switch and your four wheel drive doesn't engage, in fact nothing happens at all. This likely means the switch has already failed and now it will need to be replaced.
If you press the switch and there is a bit of delay before the four wheel drive engages, this is usually the early warning signs that the switch is starting to fail. This is a chance to get it replaced before it dies completely.
Once the switch fails it's not a massive panic to get it replaced, but keep in mind you won't be able to engage your four wheel drive system until the replacement is done. If you use your four wheel drive on a regular basis, you probably won’t want to go long without it.
Your front axle engagement switch is what allows you to turn your four wheel drive system on. If this switch is faulty, you won’t be able to turn it on, which means you’ll have to do without it. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your front axle engagement switch is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book a front axle engagement switch replacement service with a certified mechanic.