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2x4 should not engage fronts ever.

AWD is only AWD when rear wheels slip 1/5 turn.
 

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If you still have any questions about how your machine operates, just get all four wheels off the ground in your garage and test it.
 

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That was a question I had after we got ours. I thought it was manual lock up at first because switching to 4x4 made it harder to steer.
 

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We could answer the question better with year/make/model.

If it's 2x4, only the rear wheels drive.
If it has 4WD on demand, you shift/push button and it's in 4WD, and in most cases, fronts are on a diff.
If it has AWD, and you're in AWD mode, then rears slipping will cause it to go into AWD and the fronts are usually on a diff.
If it has a diff lock switch/lever for the front, then there is no slip unless it's a tension lever like the Kawasaki Brute Force instead of a servo thing like the Yamaha Grizzly.

There are lots of different configs out there, and we don't know which one the OP has.

Edit: Found this "just bought my own 13 500HO" here.
I'm not familiar with that machine but maybe others are.
 
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