Are you considering buying a new or second-hand vehicle? It’s important to think about what you’ll be using it for and what type of vehicle will be best for your needs.
In this article, we’ll explain the benefits and drawbacks of four-wheel drive (4WD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), and front-wheel drive (FWD) so you can decide which is best for you.
Do You Need a 4WD?
Choosing a 4WD might be a no-brainer, depending on where you live and what you like to do for leisure. If you live in an area with unavoidable unsealed roads, especially if it is a high rainfall area, a 4WD is a wise choice. Because each wheel is powered, you get significantly more traction and control. This allows you to navigate difficult road conditions successfully. The same is true in areas with regular snowfall.
The other reason you might choose a 4WD is if you like to drive off-road. The only real downside of 4WDs is their lower fuel efficiency. Opt for a vehicle that can switch between 4WD and 2WD to increase fuel economy.
View our second-hand 4×4 for sale.
The Two Wheel Drive Divide
If you don’t camp or live in the country, 4WD isn’t necessary. But 2WD comes in two distinct varieties – FWD and RWD – each with their own pros and cons you need to understand:
Rear Wheel Drive
As the name implies, a RWD engine sends power to the rear axle, and it’s the rear wheels that really drive the car. There are two main advantages to owning a RWD car:
- They are rugged – RWD cars can take a bit of a beating, especially models with solid axle designs. Minor accidents like mounting a kerb are less likely to cause real damage to a RWD vehicle than one with FWD.
- Better balance – FWD vehicles are very front heavy. RWD, on the other hand, spreads weight more evenly from front-to-rear, which makes for better handling. That’s why almost all race cars are RWD.
The major drawback of RWD is their poor performance in bad weather. They have a tendency to suffer traction loss in heavy rain or snow, even with modern traction control technology.
Front Wheel Drive
In FWD cars the engine send power to – you guessed it – the front axle, meaning the rear wheels more or less pull the car along behind them. The big advantages of FWD are:
- Economy – cars with FWD transmission are cheaper to produce, and hence cheaper to buy. They are also more lightweight than RWD vehicles, which leads to better fuel economy.
- Better traction – FWD vehicles offer superior traction compared to RWD, especially in poor weather – due largely to the additional weight on the front wheels. FWD cars also handle traction loss better, understeering where RWD vehicles tend to oversteer.
FWD has downsides as well, though. They have inferior everyday handling due to their nose-heavy design. There’s also the problem of ‘torque steer’. That’s when the double duty of powering and steering the car can lead the wheel to jerk left or right during acceleration.
So, which vehicle is best for you? If you’re hitting the road in a four-wheel drive, get your parts from Perth 4WD Centre. We offer new and used parts as well as superior 4WD servicing. To learn more, simply contact us online or call 08 9470 1755 today.