The Difference Between AWD and 4-Wheel Drive

awdvs4wd-mainThere is so much to think about when buying a new car even after you decide which car you want. What color, features, upgrades, technology, etc.? Add in the different driving systems and the decisions become daunting. If you want enhanced traction and control, you most likely will be considering four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. What is the difference and which is best for you?

All-wheel drive
The biggest difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is that all-wheel drive is engaged at all times. The all-wheel-drive system sends power to each wheel. Most all-wheel drive systems will send primary power to one axle, and if wheels start slipping, the system will redirect power to the other axle. If you drive in areas impacted by adverse weather conditions, all-wheel drive is good for slippery, wet and snow covered roads. All-wheel drive isn’t as extreme as a four-wheel drive but still has moderate off-road capability. This system will allow you to drive through sand, mud and uneven terrain. All-wheel drive is typically used for car-based SUVs, cars, and minivans.

Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive is the same as an all-wheel drive as it sends power to each wheel. Four-wheel-drive systems are available as the full time which is always engaged, automatic which automatically switches from two-wheel to four-wheel, and part time where the four-wheel drive mode is manually turned on. Four-wheel drive vehicles have outstanding off-road capabilities allowing you to climb the most rugged terrain, forge through the water, and take on any snow covered road. Another benefit of four-wheel drive is the added traction when towing or carrying a large load.awdvs4wd-interiorOther drive systems
All passenger vehicles made after 2012 have traction control and electronic stability control. The improved traction on standard drive systems is sufficient for most everyday drivers. The majority passenger cars have front-wheel drive. In front-wheel drive, power is sent to the front wheels and sent to the rear wheels only when needed. An advantage of the front-wheel drive is the additional weight of the motor which is centered over the front axle provides better traction. Rear-wheel drive is typically found on pickup trucks, some SUVs, and high-performance cars. This system sends power to the rear wheels. Rear-wheel drive provides excellent traction when carrying heavy loads, but overall, it provides the least amount of traction in normal driving conditions versus the other drive systems.

Consider your needs and decide what is right for you. When ready, stop by Tischer Auto where we will be happy to help you with any questions or concerns and take you for a test drive. Our large variety of vehicles and knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect vehicle for you. To see our inventory today, go to