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Difference Between FWD and 4WD

FWD vs 4WD

Despite having a wide variety of car models from different manufacturers, there are only a few engine/transmission layouts that they adhere to. Two of these layouts are FWD (Front Wheel Drive) and 4WD (Four Wheel Drive). The main difference between FWD and 4WD, obviously, is the number of wheels they can supply power to. A FWD can only supply power to the front wheels. In contrast, 4WD vehicles have the ability to power all four wheels, which can come in handy in some situations, but generally just use the two rear wheels.

The main advantage of 4WD is it provides greater control and maneuverability in difficult terrain like mud, snow, rocks, and many others. A FWD is not expected to be taken off-road as it will perform rather poorly, especially if the front wheels lose traction.

A 4WD uses a driveshaft in order to deliver power from the engine mounted on the front to the rear wheels. The presence of a driveshaft requires that a 4WD be higher from the ground so that it doesn’t get hit. A FWD doesn’t need a driveshaft that goes from the front to the rear since both the engine and wheels it powers are at the front; thus resulting in several advantages.

The first is cheaper maintenance costs because it has fewer moving parts that can fail or needs taking care of. A 4WD vehicle has many parts, including the locking mechanisms for engaging the front wheels. The reduced overall weight of a FWD also results in increased fuel mileage. Fuel efficiency is increased even further by the fact that a FWD vehicle doesn’t really need a large engine; unlike a 4WD, which needs that extra power when driving all four wheels.

A 4WD vehicle is essential if you routinely go off-road because; either as a necessity or as a hobby. But for travelling over paved roads, a FWD vehicle would do nicely enough. A FWD vehicle also gives you additional benefits like better fuel mileage and cheaper maintenance costs. So if you do not really leave paved roads in your typical travel, a FWD is the better option between the two.

Summary:

FWD only uses the front wheels to drive while 4WD can use all four
4WD is better for difficult terrain than FWD
4WD requires a driveshaft while FWD doesn’t
FWD have fewer moving parts than 4WD
FWD are more fuel efficient than 4WD


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