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All-Wheel Drive vs. 4-Wheel Drive

Now that winter weather appears to be in full swing, many drivers are wondering whether they should get a vehicle with all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) to help them across the slippery, icy roads.
More specifically, many are wondering, “wait – what’s the difference between AWD and 4WD again?”

First of all, a brief refresher: front-wheel drive (FWD) refers to the classic model where the engine’s power is routed to the front wheels, and rear-wheel drive (RWD) diverts power to the rear wheels to better balance heavy cargo.

These days, many models come with AWD or 4WD. Though each will help you significantly in poor weather conditions, these two systems are quite different.

AWD equally applies power to (you guessed it) all of the wheels, allowing you the best traction possible. Power is initially sent to one set of wheels, and when slippage is detected, the power is shifted to the other. This is particularly helpful concerning off-road terrain, plowing through mud, sand, and more, but it also makes a huge difference in rapidly changing weather conditions.

On the other hand, 4WD is designed for intense off-road conditions – such as climbing over boulders or driving through water. These kinds of models either send power to all four wheels equally, allow drivers to switch from one to another; or allow the driver to switch from FWD to 4WD manually.

In summary, there is in fact a difference between AWD and 4WD – though both will help you enormously in winter weather. You really only need concern yourself with the difference if you are a regular off-roader, in which case you should look for 4WD, specifically.

Have any questions? Feel free to contact us or visit us at Lewis Nissan anytime!
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