Benefits of Driving RWD, FWD, AWD, or 4WD

Benefits of different transmissions and types of wheel function - AAMCO MinnesotaThere are four different types of transmissions you can choose from that differ in how the wheels drive the car. These four include rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive; all four are built differently. Which one you choose depends on how you want the car to function and where you are driving. For instance, each one does better in different weather conditions such as driving on snow. There are several up sides and down sides to each.

Benefits & Downfalls of Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

A rear-wheel drive vehicle has most of the power distributed to the back tires. They can be built pretty solid and take a lot of mistreatment while driving. This is good because when you hit something, such as a curb, it is less likely that you will damage the axle. These cars also handle better because they are more balanced underneath. The weight of the components is distributed more evenly because the engine and transmission are on opposite ends.  However, rear-wheel cars are not good for driving in bad weather like snow since the tires lose traction easier. The RWD is also typically more expensive as a result of the cost to build them.

The Good & Bad of Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

The front-wheel drive differs from its counterpart of the rear-wheel and the front tires get more of the power when driving. The engine and the transmission are both located in the front of the car making the front weigh more. Since the front is heavier, this can cause difficulty handling the car at high speeds. However, these cars get more traction because the front wheels are pulling the car instead of pushing it, making it easier to drive in snow or rain. With the weight in the front, the front tires can get a better grip on the road. From the way the FWD vehicle is built, it isn’t as heavy, increasing its fuel economy and making it cheaper. However, this type of car is prone to getting damage easier, which can get expensive.

Positives & Negatives of All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

The all-wheel drive option has benefits of both the front and rear wheel choices. The drivetrain in this car uses the front, rear and center differentials to distribute power of the transmission to all four of the wheels when driving. The AWD gets a lot of traction because the power is pushed to the front and rear axles on the center differential. This means that all four wheels can get different levels of grip and have better traction when driving on icy roads. However, this car costs more because of how it is manufactured and it is also a heavier car. Since AWD cars weigh a lot more than most, it can’t accelerate as easily and uses more gas, lowering the fuel economy.  

Pros & Cons of Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

A four-wheel drive car engages two differentials and a transfer case to push the transmission power to all four of the wheels when it is in drive. These vehicles are great for tougher driving because the power is split evenly between the front and rear axles. Each tire will spin at the same speed when driving, and gives it better traction for off-road driving or slick roads. Even though these cars are tough, the amount of power they produce can reduce fuel economy. However, the 4WD option can be turned off in order to improve your gas mileage. Fuel efficiency is also reduced because these types of cars are very heavy and usually cost a lot more.

No matter which type of transmission you drive, come to an AAMCO Minnesota location to have an expert auto mechanic complete an Auto Maintenance Service and keep it running smooth. Schedule an Appointment with us now for a free inspection of the tires and any transmission repair you may need.


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Our mission is to provide the best auto repair and maintenance in Minnesota. With 6 convenient locations and nearly 50 years in business, you can count on your locally-owned Minnesota AAMCO Center to provide expert transmission repair, brake service, tune-ups, oil and filter changes, electrical system repair, fluid service, and much more for your car, truck, or SUV.

Our comprehensive 36-step ProtectCheck® Inspection, expert technicians, and no-nonsense pay-only-for-what-you-need approach makes us the most trusted name in car care. Come see why people who know go to AAMCO.

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