Difference Between Four Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive
At The Auto Repair Place in Boulder, we service all types of transmissions, on any car, truck, or SUV. This includes both All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive vehicles; but you may be wondering...what’s the difference? Both types of vehicle supply power to all four wheels, so why use two different terms? Due to the increasing demand for AWD and 4WD vehicles over the last decade, equipped on everything from sports cars to pickup trucks, more and more people are asking these same questions.
While there are certainly some obvious similarities, AWD and 4WD are two separate types of systems. In an AWD vehicle, the driver can’t typically alternate between AWD and two-wheel drive, and power is distributed to each wheel based on which wheel has or requires traction at any given moment. When one-wheel slips, power is applied to other wheels, and each wheel is adjusted separately to account for loss of traction. While AWD systems are typically more fragile than 4WD systems and aren’t as effective in extreme off-road conditions, there are many benefits to an AWD vehicle. The system is able to adjust to conditions in a split second, and can be continuously active on any terrain, improving steering ability and traction control. For this reason, AWD technology tends to be best utilized on daily drivers, sports cars, and vehicles that don’t often venture off road. They fair very well in rainy or snowy conditions, for example.
4WD vehicles typically have two separate differentials, one on the front axle and one on the rear, which allows the wheels to turn at different speeds without a need for complex computer systems. While it isn’t nearly as accurate or reactive, a 4WD vehicle is less fragile and can typically be locked, meaning the torque and speed can be applied evenly to all four wheels for tough off-road situations. 4WD vehicles must be shifted into 4WD as well, either with a lever or a button, and should only be in 4WD in appropriate conditions. During normal road use, a 4WD vehicle should be operated in 2WD only.
In short, neither is better, it just depends on what you’ll be using your vehicle for. For extreme conditions, where the driver needs control, 4WD is the way to go. For safety, speed, handling ability, and smart solutions to unpredictable road conditions, AWD is more suitable.
Whatever type of transmission your car has, the expert mechanics at The Auto Repair Place have you covered. For all your repair and maintenance needs, our technicians are well qualified to provide you with the best service in the Boulder area. Call or come by any time.
Thank you for visiting The Auto Repair Place in Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Niwot, and Superior. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.