How to Tell the Difference and Usage of 4-Wheel Drive Vs All-Wheel Drive

Sometimes there is a bit of confusion between the definition of the 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Don't they just do the same thing and some people just conveniently interchange the verbiage?

Not exactly, because the two definitions vary in function and in which vehicle you decide to purchase. The 4-wheel drive configuration is the definition that most people are familiar with because it has been around longer. It uses a lower gear ratio and a split differential system to accomplish its results. It is found in pickup trucks and larger, off-road SUVs and is great for off-road and rough terrain purposes.

All-wheel drive is primarily used for paved and flat surfaced roads, and is found in crossovers, sedans and high-performance vehicles. This system uses a steady and uniform source of power for each wheel, with a unique torque boost in power for individual wheels depending on the road conditions. It is great for heavy rain, ice, and snow conditions.

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Tags: 4wd, awd