All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Vs. Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

You may have heard all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive thrown around at the dealership before. It refers to the system of how power or torque is distributed to your wheels. Some people use them interchangeably, but they do have their subtle differences. So what are the differences between AWD vs. 4WD? Read on to learn more.

All-Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive systems are vehicles with four wheels that gain traction independently from each other. The primary distinction between AWD and 4WD is that all-wheel drive is usually always on. There's no switching in between. This system is more commonly found in SUVs as opposed to trucks. All-wheel drive system comprises several differentials, or gearboxes, in various car sections. Since your tires can get traction on their own, it’ll give you optimal handling and traction with your car.

Four-Wheel Drive

Four-wheel drive systems send a fixed amount of torque to each wheel. You can toggle between having it on or off, unlike AWD. This type of system is commonly found in trucks as it is preferable for hauling and doing work activities. 


There’s always an ongoing debate about which one is better. Unfortunately, one is not better than the other. Both systems serve to provide better handling on rough or slippery surfaces. It just depends on what your driving needs are.


If you need differential service, please bring your car to Richman Automotive & Towing. 

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