Transformed Ostrich

When you just wish you could pull your OWN head out of the sand…

All Wheel Drive (AWD) vs 4 Wheel Drive (4WD)

October 16th, 2010

I’ve heard stories from people telling me their opinions on what 4WD and AWD is all about.  For the most part, it seems to be a topic that people don’t really know the answer to.  After I heard a couple stories that seemed to match, I then decided that I knew the answer…  Years later, I figured I’d go research it and find the correct answer; which was indeed different from the one I had “known” for years. gives a really good comparison in layman’s terms.  The short version, is that 4WD allows switching between 2WD and 4WD mode, and 4WD mode gives true equal distribution to all 4 wheels.  Where AWD is an automatic system and only distributes “some” (varies between makes and models) power to the usually-unpowered-axle. also lays it out well, listing the common terminology used and quick description of each.  Still indicating that the exact details of each system varies with each make and model of vehicle.

So next time you’re looking for a 4WD or AWD vehicle, or hear about a friend that just bought one, ask for more details and find out exactly how it was implemented in their particular vehicle.

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