About All-Wheel Drive

People with All-Wheel Drive cars (AWD) know they’re ready for whatever Mother Nature dishes out. Obviously, people need to drive carefully when the weather is bad and remember that they don’t have superpowers, just better traction. However, if you are thinking about joining the AWD club this season, you need to know that not AWDs are created equal and it is a good idea to learn a little about them before you buy.  Here, we have composted a short guide of buying tips for those that are considering purchasing an AWD vehicle.

Proportion is Important

There’s a little known fact: With nearly any AWD vehicle, all four tires have to have the same “rolling circumference”. In other words, all the tires should be the same type and size, and the number of miles they have should be the same.  The reason for this reveals the sensitivity of AWD vehicles. The manufacturers have created their vehicles so that the slippage of any tire will be compensated for by the vehicle’s drive train. That’s all-wheel drive for you!

There are different AWD system types

The team at www.buchananautopark.com, based out of Waynesboro, PA, says that not all all-wheel drive systems are made equal. Many are FWD biased, most all Honda and Mazda systems. Car makers like BMW prefer a rear-wheel drive bias to provide a more performance feel, while automakers like Porsche and Subaru like to use symmetrical system which feel more balanced.

AWD & Tires

Your AWD vehicle is only as good as its tires when the conditions are messy. Don’t think that you can get away with so-so tires just because you have an AWD vehicle. Here’s a recommendation: If you have the resources, purchase a second set of rims and keep your winter tires on them.  This lets you switch tires over easily when the cold weather begins.

The Price

You might know that superior drive train performance comes at a cost. AWD cars tend to be more expensive than two-wheel drive cars and typically burn more gas. It is simple why this is: the drivetrains on AWDs are quite complex and the vehicle is heavier than standard models.

Stopping Power

It’s an interesting perception: many people think that AWD cars are invincible in the snow and rain regardless if you are stopping or speeding up. As it turns out, they are half right. AWD cars are quite good at driving in just about any weather. But, stopping? They aren’t any better that other vehicles! The braking systems on AWD are no different than any other car, so they stop the same.

Another thing…

The next topic is important for an AWD owner to be aware of. AWD cars are complex with a transmission transfer case, many differentials and sometimes other gearboxes.  It is important to know that many of these components contain oil, and the type of oil is not all the same. Therefore, get the exact oils the owners or service manual suggests when it’s time to change your oil.


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