If you are searching for a new car, you are likely to think of the simple fact: Some vehicles are all wheel, others are two wheel and the rest are four wheel drive. So what is the difference? What type of car should you get between all these types of drives? The only way to make an informed decision is by having an informed decision.
All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive
4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are easily confused. The simplest way to tell the two apart is that all-wheel drive systems are constantly on. They make use of electronic sensors to decide the wheel that should get the most power from the engine. 4-wheel drive on the other hand, is usually off. It only comes on when you pull a lever or flip a switch to engage it. Once on, all four wheels will turn at the same time. Of the two, which is better? The best answer is it will depend on the situation.
All-wheel drive is the sensible choice if you stay in a region with heavy snow or muddy roads. The car’s computer systems will do all the hard work making sure you do not have to worry about driving through snow banks. In case the car starts to slide, the all-wheel drive system will detect this and adjust the power settings accordingly resulting with a worry free drive.
However, if you live in a region with heavy snow or muddy roads, the best option would be a four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive cars have a likelihood of getting stuck in such situations. This is because the sensors will have a hard time determining where they should send power. All you have to do is turn the vehicle to ‘low’. All wheels will turn at the same low and powerful speed to go through almost any obstacle.
So what should you do if you stay in a warmer climate? Should you choose one of these options just to be on the safe side? The answer is no. even though both systems offer some advantage in case the weather gets rough, the systems also add complexity and weight to your car. You will notice a greater chance of something breaking, decreased mileage and increased tire wear. Instead, you should go for the tow-wheel options, either rear or front wheel drive.
In two-wheel drive vehicles, there are two main setups; rear or front-wheel drive. If you are in a mild climate with no or little snow or rain, the 2-wheel drive is recommended. Basically it means areas such as Southern California, Southeast California or Texas. Drivers living in Mid-Atlantic or other areas with occasional snow should decide how comfortable they are when driving in snow without the assistance of four or all-wheel drive.
Are you able to drive in the snow without four-wheel or all-wheel drive? Obviously you can. There are modern traction control systems and good tires assisting experienced drivers to have minimal trouble steering majority of two-wheel drive cars through snow. It is advisable, however, to avoid two-wheel drive if you are an inexperienced or young driver lacking experience in driving in harsh weather.