Rear passenger angle of an SUV driving off-road in a field

What are the Differences Between All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive?

All-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) sound about the same. However, these terms are not interchangeable. So, what are the differences between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive? Let’s take a look!

[ Used Vehicles with AWD ]

What Does 4WD Mean?

The purpose of 4WD is to provide traction for off-road adventures. A fixed amount of power is sent to both the front and rear axles. This means that every tire will get the same power so the tire with the most traction will be able to spin. In addition, 4WD can be toggled on and off. It’s best to toggle this system off when travelling on-road, as turning will be difficult with 4WD on. Most 4WD systems will run in front-wheel drive mode when 4WD is inactive, making travelling on-road much easier. Finally, leaving 4WD off when it isn’t needed will save you fuel.

What Does AWD Mean?

Like 4WD, AWD sends power to the four wheels for enhanced traction and control. The difference between these two systems is that AWD will distribute power to the tire with the most traction. For example, let’s say your vehicle is attempting to crawl up a hill. The front driver tire and rear tires are on solid ground, while the front passenger tire is on slippery mud. The AWD will recognize that the front driver tire and rear tires have the best traction and will distribute power to those specific tires.

If you are travelling on-road, AWD will continue to Close up of the rear driver wheel on a car driving through snowsend power to tires with the best grip. While some AWD systems can vary, here’s some examples on how AWD works on the road. When you are accelerating, all four tires will have power to get you up to speed quickly. On turns, the tires on the side away from the corner will get more power. Therefore, if you are taking a sharp turn right, both tires on the driver side will get extra power to compensate. Lastly, if you are cruising, AWD will keep power on the front tires so you can save fuel.

Are you interested in a vehicle with 4WD or AWD? Contact us here at Kyle Chapman Motors! Don’t forget to continue checking out our blog for more useful information. Also, let us know which drivetrain you prefer in the comment section below!