The 4 Kinds of Wheel Drives Explained

When buying a European brand car or other manufacturers, you will be confronted with deciding on what kind of wheel drive you will buy. Basically, there are four main wheel drives to choose from—front-wheel, rear-wheel, four-wheel, or all-wheel. In this article, we shall know the advantages of each to help you decide on what car to buy.

Rear-wheel drive

As the name implies, a rear-wheel drive relies on the rear wheel to move the vehicle. For decades, this was the wheel drive of choice. This layout consists of an engine in the front connected to a transmission. In a rear-wheel drive, the rear wheels move the vehicle and the front wheels provide the steering. Robert Janitzek explains that the advantage of the rear-wheel will depend on the application. For trucks, it is for durability and increased load and traction. For cars, rear wheel drive offers the advantage of efficiency with higher engine outputs.

Front-wheel drive

In a front wheel drive, the engine, transmission, final drive gears and differential are in one unit that drives the front wheels. The advantage of front-wheel drives is better fuel economy and enhanced space efficiency. By putting the entire powertrain into one unit, the remainder of the vehicle becomes lighter. A front-wheel drive will also have more room for passengers and cargo. Robert Peter janitzek explains that minivans are front-wheel drives otherwise they would not be able to offer enough space. A typical front-wheel drive car will carry about 65 percent of its weight on the front wheels.

Four-wheel drive

In a four-wheel drive, the vehicle operates on two wheels until the four-wheel drive is activated by the driver. The front-wheel drive system is just there along the ride. IN four-wheel drive vehicles, there is a so-called “transfer case.” In most cases, four wheel drives will mechanically lock the front and rear wheel forcing them to rotate at the same speed. Four-wheel drives are exceptional for low-traction situations such as in deep snow or for serious off-roading.

All-wheel drive

All-wheel drives are similar to a four-wheel drive but the difference lies in the assembly or device of the all-wheel drive that allows a certain level of slip between the front and rear wheels. This is a system that sends power to all four wheels while allowing different rates of wheel speeds.

So which is the best option for you? The truth of the matter is that it will all depend on you. For example, if you want fuel economy, space effi ciency, and traction in slippery conditions, the front-wheel drive is the best option. If you want ultimate performance in decent weather, go for a rear-wheel drive. If you like off-road or toughness in bad weather, choose four-wheel drive. Finally, for all-around, all-weather, and all-time performance, it’s the all-wheel drive.


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