AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the difference?

Vehicles come in all different makes and models with a variety of convenience features that appeal to buyers. One of the most important things to consider when buying a car is whether you need a rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, all wheel drive, or four wheel drive vehicle.


Before you make a purchase, talk to a reliable car dealership or mechanic to see which option works best for you. The type of vehicle you need most often depends on the local terrain and weather where you live. Since four wheel drive and all wheel drive sound the same, many buyers wonder what the difference is? Let’s take a look.


It’s All About the Power


Under normal conditions, four wheel drive does not use full power in all tires. Instead, the rear wheels drive the vehicle forward, while the front wheels are free to rotate. On the other hand, all wheel drive vehicles require the driver to push a button or pull a lever to activate the system. With all wheel drive, the weather terrain protection isn’t automatic like it is with four wheel drive vehicles.


Let’s look at an example. If you’re driving on the highway with a four wheel drive vehicle, your system will naturally send most of the power to the rear wheels for maximum fuel efficiency. If road conditions change, like it begins to rain or snow, the system will automatically regulate to distribute the power evenly to all four wheels. This provides you maximum grip on the road and a higher chance of getting to your destination safely. All wheel drive operates in the same way. The only exception is that as road conditions change, you need to push a button or full a lever to activate the even distribution.


Benefits of 4WD and AWD Vehicles


Unlike two wheel drive systems, 4WD and AWD vehicles offer many safety advantages. They provide better traction for extreme driving conditions, such as loose rock, mud, snow, and rain. The drive of these vehicles benefits from better grip on the road and better control of their vehicle.


These vehicles can also be used for extreme off-road situations. If you work a job that requires off roading or you have a lifestyle that brings you into off road terrain, AWD and 4WD can help you easily get from point A to point B without a problem. Most customers purchase AWD and 4WD vehicles for safety and lifestyle reasons.


What About Fuel?


Most 4WD and AWD systems add additional weight to the vehicle. Because these vehicles tend to be larger and heavier than 2WD options, they will eventually cost you at the gas pump. While they are great for keeping you safe in all weather conditions, they are not known to be fuel-efficient vehicles. Additionally, some larger vehicles require premium or diesel gas which can also be expensive.


Contact A&A Any Car to Discuss Your Options


If you have questions about what type of system is right for your needs, A&A Any Car is here to help! Contact us today to talk to an honest Apple Valley auto repair expert.