Four-wheel drive or (4WD) is one of the best updates the car industry ever made! While people often confuse four-wheel drive with all-wheel drive (AWD), they are different systems. All-wheel drive is the idea that the vehicle’s systems power both the front and back wheels the entire time you are driving. Four-wheel drive systems are designed to deliver torque through a series of the front, rear, and center differentials, transfer cases, and couplings, which allow the vehicle to operate at maximum traction under a variety of conditions. Trucks and SUVs used to be the only options for vehicles for purchase if you were looking for something with 4WD, but nowadays, tons of vehicles are equipped with it.
Four-wheel drive systems can handle rougher terrain in comparison to all-wheel-drive systems. Typically, these systems come in two different types; full-time and part-time. The full-time 4WD drive system operates with all four wheels receiving power continuously. Part-time four-wheel drive is quite common, and edmunds.com calls it the most traditionalist type. Part-time four-wheel drive is most commonly found in trucks or SUVs that are made for working in more extreme or rugged conditions. Instead of having all four wheels receiving power, when you are using the part-time four-wheel drive, the vehicle is only being driven by power exerted to two wheels. In this instance, if you (the driver) want to activate the four-wheel drive you will most likely need to flip a switch or push a button.
There are pros and cons to 4WD. Typically, 4WD vehicles are more durable and can handle extreme and adverse road conditions at a higher level than vehicles with AWD. 4WD can aid you in snowy and icy conditions, and 4WD boasts higher levels of navigation in areas with deeper snow. Although, it is important to remember that 4WD does not mean 4 wheel stop, continue to take caution when driving in icy or slick conditions. As with anything, there are some cons with 4WD as well, including it having an effect on your vehicle’s fuel economy as well as raising the price of maintenance for your car, but it is worth it.
If you are deciding whether or not to get 4WD, it is always best to look into the best options for your car, and to consider how beneficial it is to where you live, and what kind of driving conditions you find yourself in! For those of you who live in remote areas, experience a lot of snow, or enjoy those crazy off-road adventures, 4WD could be the perfect fit for you! At Houska Automotive, we offer a plethora of services, one of which is a 4-wheel computerized alignment. We can answer any questions you may have about getting your vehicle hooked up with 4WD! Come in today, and talk with one of our specialists.