Today the auto market is flooded with different models and types of cars, making your choices essentially endless. Where before most cars were simply two-wheel drive, now you have a wide range of options from front wheel drive or rear wheel drive, to four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive! If you do opt for four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, you can also choose between cars that are full-time or part-time users of the wheel drive choices. It’s smart to weigh these decisions carefully, because the drive you choose will impact a lot more than just the type of drive system you go home with.
Most of the cars sold in U.S. are front wheel drive. The engine, transmission and differential are all set up to deliver power to the front two wheels to propel the vehicle, the rear wheels spinning freely. Front wheel drive is the simplest and most inexpensive drive train version. Because of the ease of production these cars tend to be cheaper. Fuel economy tends to be better, as well as traction due to the engine weight over the wheels receiving the driving power. However, you can forfeit tighter turns, due to all of the equipment constricting the wheel space in front. You also need to carefully rotate tires, as your front tires can be worn down much faster.
Trucks, most SUVs and even some cars use rear-wheel drive, even though the engine, transmission and differential are located in the front of the vehicle. A driveshaft and differential is used to get the power to the rear wheels. This is great for flat roads and mild weather conditions, but may cause traction and control problems if used to encounter hills, snow, or unstable roads. Rear-wheel drive can boast of a quicker “get-up-and-go” than front wheel drive. These cars are also more balanced, which helps with handling. Racing cars use rear-wheel drive because special driving techniques like sliding around corners can only be done using rear driven wheels. If you are towing or hauling cargo rear-wheel drive may be best for traction and control.
Initially designed for off-road vehicles on uneven surfaces, most four-wheel drive cars sit higher, have protected underbellies, and big tires. These systems work best off-road, or in extreme weather conditions like ice, snow, or torrential rain. Many four-wheel drive systems allow you to choose between high and low, using low for hills or towing and high for gravel, sand, or snow. As most people know, you are decreasing fuel economy by choosing a four-wheel or all-wheel drive system as more power is needed per mile to drive it.
You can find all-wheel drive models that are sports cars or suped up SUVs. One nice feature you can find in AWD vehicles is automatic or part-time all-wheel drive, which is usually two-wheel drive until you experience lack of traction - which then triggers power to all four wheels, or even just the ones that need it. Like four-wheel drive, these cars are more complex and therefore more expensive.
Make sure and compare your options so you can choose what’s right for you, but no matter what kind of drive train you choose, it can still be beneficial to increase fuel economy by using a simple fuel additive like CleanBoost Maxx!