What’s Best For Bad Weather: AWD or 4WD

Need a vehicle that gets you there regardless of the weather? Then the two drive systems you need to consider are AWD and 4WD platforms. In this article the sales staff at chrysleronnicholasville.net stepped us through what you need to know about these two drive options.

First, let’s look at what the basic 2WD system does for us so we can put the four wheel options into perspective. Two wheel drive systems do exactly what you would think. The engine power is distributed to just 2 of the vehicle’s wheels. Most smaller vehicles today are 2WD with the front wheels being driven. Often referred to as Front Wheel Drive vehicles, these configurations benefit from having the engine weight balanced over the front wheels.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) – Like the name implies, AWD configurations feed power to all four wheels on a car, truck or SUV. This requires more parts in the drivetrain but it provides maximum forward traction during acceleration and is especially helpful in slippery conditions. Most AWD systems deliver power primarily to one set of wheels, either the front or the rear, when slippage is detected.
AWD systems are especially helpful in rapidly changing conditions or when driving on a road with intermittent snow and ice. It is commonly used for most car-based SUVs, as well as many cars and minivans.

Four-wheel drive – Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and AWD are designations that are often used interchangeably, there is a big difference. Generally, 4WD is optimized for rugged off-road driving situations. Think vehicles like Jeeps and heavy-duty pickup trucks.  Most 4WD systems have high and a low gear range, the latter used to increase low-speed climbing power. AWD systems do not have these lower gear ranges.

To further differentiate modern 4WD systems are either full-time, which means they stay engaged when driving; automatic, where the vehicle automatically switches between two- and four-wheel-drive mode; and part-time, which require the driver to manually shift between two- and four-wheel drive.

Aside from serious off-road enthusiasts, most drivers never come close to needing the capability that 4WD systems provide over and above AWD systems.  That is why you see them primarily on heavy duty vehicles or off-road ones.

What to Buy?
It all depends on what you are using your vehicle for. For conditions involving rain and light snow, AWD is an excellent alternative. AWD provides a substantial margin of road-holding ability especially in inclement weather. If you’ll be driving in severe snow or true off-road situations, or if you’re interested in pursuing off-roading as a hobby, you may want to opt for a vehicle with 4WD.
Thanks to: Chrysler of Nicholasville

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