What Is an All-Wheel Drive Vehicle


    – All-wheel drive: what is it?

    – All-wheel drive: what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Nowadays, cars are mainly designed for urban driving without any obstacles. Manufacturers, therefore, equip vehicles with two-wheel drive only. If you live in the mountains or a region with heavy rainfall, you might want to consider all-wheel drive…

What is the all-wheel-drive?


An all-wheel-drive car is a vehicle that has four drive wheels instead of two. This means, simply put, that all four wheels receive power from the engine and are active: you gain traction and grip.

Many manufacturers offer this option on cars that come from the factory. On average cars, the two front wheels (only) pull the whole vehicle while the rear wheels spin around and follow the movement.

Good to know: All-wheel-drive can be engaged as per the driver’s wish (as on off-road vehicles), semi-permanent (on SUVs or large cars), or permanent (on high-end vehicles).

How it works

Having all-wheel drive on your car means having four-wheel drive. Yes, but not only that: technology is constantly evolving, and vehicles are becoming more and more intelligent and automated.

In the mountains, on a snowy road, you can quickly run into difficulties. If you have a front-wheel-drive car only, turn off the engine and call for help. If your vehicle is equipped with all-wheel drive, then you can drive safely. By using its sensors, your car will “think” to send power to a wheel that still has enough traction to allow you to turn the corner. (example: Mazda I-ACTIV AWD active safety technology).

Simply put, if you’re on a slippery road due to rain or snow, your car will be able to provide more traction. The power sent to each wheel can help you avoid going “straight” and losing steering power. 

Good to know: whatever the situation, having an all-wheel-drive system means ensuring that the wheels won’t spin in front of the danger!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of all-wheel drive?

The advantages of all-wheel drive 

    – Having an all-wheel-drive system means more traction and more safety on risky or rough roads. Your car will no longer get stuck in a pile of mud or snow.

    – The grip is much better! In case of heavy rain, you will feel the road better and will have less risk of losing control of your vehicle.

Good to know: the all-wheel-drive system only allows you to have traction and grip if your tires are in good condition. This is the only way to ensure your safety. 

The disadvantages of all-wheel drive 

However, the all-wheel-drive doesn’t only offer advantages!

    – This system is often purchased as an option. This means that your car will cost more with all-wheel drive in many cases than if you had chosen the standard version — Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD). This is an additional expense. 

    – All-wheel drive increases the weight of the rear wheels considerably. The car is heavier, so it uses more fuel!

    – Managing the gearbox may seem more complex for those who are not used to it.

Hope this post has been able to help you figure out whether you need to buy an expensive All-Wheel Drive or you are good to go with the more common FWD. 

Do you want to read more? Here is a compilation of some interesting posts for you:

 How to Differentiate From Two-Wheel-Drive (2WD), Four-Wheel Drive (4WD), and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Vehicles;

 Traction of Front-Wheel-Drive Cars: How Does It Work;

 Automobile Propulsion Systems (Rear-Wheel Drive): How Does It Work;

 Choosing Between Front or Rear-Wheel Drive

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