When To Use 4WD vs. AWD In The Winter

Know When To Use AWD vs. 4WD In The Winter

Most vehicles today offer drivers the choice between all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD), especially with the rise in popularity of SUVs and CUVs. While both systems can provide great traction and control, there are some major differences between AWD and 4WD that are important to understand. It can mean the difference between getting home safely in inclement weather or having trouble out on the road. Learn more about AWD vs. 4WD now at Mike Anderson Chevy Merrillville! 

Understanding All-Wheel Drive

An AWD system delivers power from your vehicle to all four wheels at the same time for the entire time you are driving your car. However, the amount of torque allocated to each wheel varies across time. This is called active AWD, and depending on the vehicle’s system, it will typically operate with either a front or rear bias. However, the system will direct power to your vehicle’s axle when traction is needed at one or more of the other wheels. AWD systems also typically use a center differential that enables the front and rear wheels to operate at different speeds. 

What is Four-Wheel Drive? 

The original four-wheel drive system was developed to maintain optimal traction when manually selected. So how does 4WD work? Four-wheel drive means the front and rear driveshafts can be locked together to move at the same speed and distribute the same amount of torque to all four of your vehicle’s wheels, and it is generally intended for off-road use and on very slippery surfaces, such as inclement weather. 

Differences Between 4WD and AWD

The biggest difference between 4WD and AWD is that they utilize different parts of a vehicle. All-wheel drive typically uses more components: an engine, a torque converter (or clutch), a transmission, a center differential, a clutch pack, a rear differential, and a front differential; although, some other AWD systems use unique technology such as hybrid electric. Meanwhile, four-wheel drive typically uses an engine, a torque converter (or clutch), a transmission, a transfer case, a rear differential, and a front differential. 

4WD vs. AWD in Snow 

Another major difference between the two systems is important when driving in snow. However, it really depends on how much snow there is and the setting of the drive. For driving over a snow-covered flat field, 4WD is best, but AWD is better for driving on a snowy highway. Either system is great  for driving safely in winter conditions with the main difference being a small boost depending on the specific conditions. 

Winter Driving Tips 

Snow, ice, sleet, and low temperatures will be here for the next several months. With these driving conditions, you’ll want to know how to operate your vehicle in safe and cautious ways as you hit the road. Here are our top tips for winter driving: 

  • Turn Cruise Control Off 
  • Always Keep Your Tank Full 
  • Brush Ice and Snow Off Your Windshield Before You Leave 
  • Defrost Windows 
  • Decrease Your Speed 
  • Always Keep a Safety Kit in Your Vehicle 

Visit Mike Anderson Merrillville!

Looking for a Chevy dealer near me? At Mike Anderson Chevy Merrillville, we’ve got you covered! Along with our expert maintenance department, we have an expansive inventory of the latest Chevrolet cars, trucks, and SUVs, as well as a great selection of used models. Most importantly, we have a staff of automotive experts and professionals to provide you with exceptional customer service no matter which department you need assistance from. Stop in today to get your 4WD Chevy vehicle—like the Chevy Silverado 4WD or Chevy Colorado 4WD!

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