Most people get confused when they are shopping for a vehicle because they do not know whether to get the front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive, or four wheel drive (is there a difference between all these types?). On the other hand, most people think that a vehicle is just a vehicle regardless of where it is propelled by the rear wheels, the front wheel or driven by all wheels. These people find out the importance of choosing the wheel drive when it is too late.
Here is a brief look at the different wheel drive for a better selection:
Rear Wheel Drive
Just like the name suggests, rear wheel drive vehicles are driven by the rear wheels. For a long period, the rear wheel drive vehicles have been the best option for many because of the ease in manufacturing and the reliability of the vehicle. The typical rear wheel drive has an engine in the front which is connected to a transmission box and then connected to the rear axle with a driveshaft. In this vehicle, the work of the rear wheels is to provide the movement while the front wheels provide the steering. Rear wheel vehicles are better for load handling and heavy duty functions.
Front Wheel Drive
For a front wheel drive vehicle, the engine, transmission, drive gears and the differential are all in a single unit. Most of the medium and low priced modern sedans are front wheel drive vehicles. The basic reason why front wheel vehicles are manufactured is to capitalize on space and fuel efficiency. The combination of the powertrain saves on space since the components of the powertrain will not intrude on the available space.
The fact that the engine and the powertrain is located over the wheels which drive the vehicle means that traction will be increased making this vehicle one of the best in steering on slippery and snowy conditions.
Four Wheel Drive
Pure four wheel drive vehicles are mostly found in form of trucks, SUVs, and military vehicles. The vehicles have an option of operating in two wheel drive (usually rear wheel drive) up until you engage the four wheel drive option. The engagement is done through the transfer case, which is a devise that locks the rear and front drive mechanics together forcing the front and rear wheels to rotate at the same speed. Four-wheel drive vehicles are perfect for low traction situations such as deep snow and off-road drives. The major disadvantage of four-wheel drive is that the wheels move at the same speed and thus need to be engaged in appropriate surfaces.
All Wheel Drive
All wheel drive should not be confused with four-wheel drive but they are basically the same thing only with different operations. To solve the limitation of the four-wheel drive, the all wheel drive is constructed in such a way that it addresses the difference in speed between the front wheels and the rear wheels. This provides better control and thus can be engaged any time and on any surface.
Now you can go out and get the wheel drive you find convenient for you.