All wheel drive vehicles have become more popular with a wider selection of models to choose from in recent years. All-wheel drive (AWD), four-wheel drive (4WD), and two-wheel drive (2WD), are all options available, but it can often be confusing to figure out which is right for you. What should you know about all wheel drive vehicles before you buy? Here are ten facts about all wheel drive cars and trucks:
AWD is a term used to describe a car that uses full time four-wheel drive on dry payment, without destroying the drive train. All wheel drive is different from the traditional four-wheel drive you would expect to find on a pick-up truck or a jeep.
AWD is a bit misleading. For the most part, AWD vehicles are front wheel drive vehicles that direct power to the rear wheels in times of need, such as slippage. In situations when the front tires are slipping, power is applied to the rear wheels in order to keep the vehicle from sliding off the road.
The AWD system employs a center differential to allow all the tires to rotate at a different speed. This is important when the vehicle takes turns. unlike four-wheel drive, which has a center differential that has to be locked by the use of a manual shifter.
AWD cannot be disengaged, but the differential prevents driving issues such as wheel hop.
With two sets of tires rotating at different speeds, you can potentially lose control any of the four wheels if you are driving in wet or icy conditions. Traction control counteracts this and is often found on vehicles that possess AWD. Traction control applies brake pressure in case of slippage.
There are no “high” or “low” gears with all-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive vehicles usually possess a manual “high” and “low” gear. The “low” gear provides greater torque for pulling or off-road use. The “high” gear is more useful in slippery situations.
Because of the lack of a “low” gear AWD vehicles are less effective in off-road situations but they perform perfectly well in road conditions.
Sport utility vehicles that traditionally would have four-wheel drive but make use of all-wheel drive instead are often referred too as “crossovers”. A Mercury Mountaineer is an example of one such vehicle.
AWD can add a significant amount of weight to a vehicle, reducing fuel performance by increasing the drag of the vehicles drive train.
Some vehicles posses a combination of AWD, four-wheel drive, and part time two-wheel drive. All time AWD with part time four-wheel drive for high and low gears are common on sport utility vehicles that are capable of hauling.