Have you ever got into a debate on 4 wheel drive vs. 2 wheel drive? These are two different types of cars, each having advantages and disadvantages of their own. Let us have a look at some details that will help you understand more about 4 wheel drive and 2 wheel drive, in the following article.
Have you noticed the different cars driven down the highway? You see different car models of different makes. You think about getting yourself a new car and you enter an automobile gallery. The salesman asks you a simple question, ‘which car would you prefer, 4 wheel drive or 2 wheel drive?’. This is one question that will make you weigh all the pros and cons of 4 wheel drive vs. 2 wheel drive. For all those who have none or a very little idea about 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive cars, we shall cover some details in the following paragraphs. This will help you learn a lot more about these cars, and thereby choose your car wisely.
Pros and Cons Related to 4 Wheel Drive Vs. 2 Wheel Drive
One tends to dwell on a single question, that is, should one buy a 4 wheel drive or 2 wheel drive. The answer depends on the type of road and weather conditions you will supposedly be driving in. Let us get into the details of a 4 wheel drive and 2 wheel drive, and know more about the car that will give you its best performance.
2 Wheel Drive (2WD) Vehicles
2 wheel drive cars are those that have a two-wheel drive with four wheels. This means from a total of 4 wheels, and only 2 wheels of the four receive power from the engine. The two wheels that receive the power are called the drive wheels. There are two types of 2WD, the front wheel drive (FWD) and the rear wheel drive (RWD) cars. Most of the car manufactures go in for the FWD.
This is because the engine is placed in the front. Thus, it is obviously a better choice to go in for a FWD as the distance between the engine and the wheels driven is less. In case of rear wheel drives, the transaxle is as long as the length of the car. The power from the engine in RWD is transferred to the rear axle that helps spin the wheels. Let us have a look at the advantages of 2WD vehicles, and then the disadvantages too.
Advantages of 2 Wheel Drive Vehicles
- The FWD vehicles are good to be driven on normal dry, wet and slippery roads.
- The FWD cars have a perpendicular or transverse mounted engine, and it helps drive the front wheel directly. They are therefore, used for steering purposes.
- The RWD cars have a parallel mounted engine to the body of the vehicle, and the power is transferred to the rear wheels with the help of a driveshaft. Therefore, it is used for a better balance and handling.
- The FWD cars are a lot cheaper as a lesser amount of parts are required to build it.
Disadvantages of 2 Wheel Drive Vehicles
- The front wheel cars are nose heavy and this makes them difficult to handle in high-speed and high load handling.
- The disadvantage of FWD cars is that in case of accelerated weight, the car shifts to the rear. This causes the front wheels to lose grip on the road. This is known as ‘torque-steer’.
- The RWD cars are not able to give the required traction on wet and slick roads. Thus, it is not good to be driven in rain or snow.
4 Wheel Drive (4WD) Vehicles
4 wheel drive (4WD) are vehicles that have four wheels in total and all 4 wheels are driven. This means the engine is attached to all four wheels and sends power to each one of them simultaneously. These cars have front wheels that not only provide forward traction, but also give the drive side to side traction that helps in steering the vehicle. There are again few types of 4WD, the part-time four-wheel drive, full-time four-wheel drive, and all wheel drive. The part-time four-wheel drive vehicles are those that have a system that operates on demands. There is a shift lever that helps synchronize the front and rear axles between two speeds: High and Low.
The full-time 4WD system is operated at all times and may have an option of shifting to part-time 2WD. These cars usually do not come with speed ranges of ‘high’ and ‘low’. Another 4WD is the automatic four wheel drive (A4WD) system. These cars automatically turn the 4WD as and when required after its sensors monitor that there are different wheel speeds. The all wheel drive (AWD) system has a full-time single speed system that supplies power at all times to all wheels. Let us have a look at the advantages of 4 wheel drive vehicles, along with the disadvantages too.
Advantages of 4 Wheel Drive Vehicles
- The 4 wheel drive car is called an off-road vehicle as it is good for driving on a slippery road like one covered with snow or sand.
- These vehicles provide better traction on wet and slick roads like ice, mud and snow.
- The 4 wheel drive system is most preferred on a winter and heavy rain road condition.
- These vehicles are very useful to drive on off road conditions where the wheels may go out of contact with the road surface and lose traction.
- The part-time 4WD cars are made to be driven on pavement, cement and hard surfaces that are sticky and need extra traction.
- The full-time 4WD are cars that can be driven on all types of surfaces and AWD cars can be driven on dry pavement without any damage to differentials.
Disadvantages of 4 Wheel Drive Vehicles
- The 4WD drive cars can weigh over several hundred pounds. This affects the car’s acceleration and it uses more fuel to compensate for the added weight.
- The 4WD cars are more expensive than 2WD cars. This is because more components are required to build the car, and it requires more servicing as it gets older.
- As the fuel consumption is higher, one may have to shell out more on gasoline bills. However, there are more and more hybrid versions of these cars coming out that help in reducing the fuel cost and giving better mileage.
You need to choose a car that suits your needs and budget. If you are going to be driving on a wet, snow-covered or loose gravel road, then better invest in a 4WD vehicle. Hope the above information on 4 wheel drive and 2 wheel drive has proven to be helpful to you.