What's the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

Before buying your next vehicle, make sure you understand the difference between AWD and 4WD. Depending upon your needs, you can pick one over the other.

If you live in an area that sees much snow, it’s essential to be picky about which option you finalize. This is because such vehicles send their power to all four wheels simultaneously, and in this way, improve traction. Here is a brief explanation of the difference between AWD and 4WD.

What is AWD?

AWD or all-wheel-drive systems transmit power from the engine to all four wheels. There are two different variations of AWD. One type of drivetrain continuously supplies output to all wheels. The other kind operates for the majority of the time by sending torque to two wheels; when more traction is required, all four wheels receive engine output.

AWD works without any interference from the driver. Thus, all four wheels obtain torque through several differentials, viscous coupling, or multiple clutches. The good news is that such a drive system operates smoothly under normal conditions.

AWDs are available in compact sedans as well as in performance vehicles and work well in both off-road environments and snowy conditions.

What is 4WD?

4WD was first introduced when motorized transportation was still in its nascent stages. Most people think of 4WD as the system responsible for powering trucks with high ground clearance.

Today, modern vehicles and even luxury cars have 4WD systems in them. Here, torque is passed through various differentials, thereby enabling the car to operate easily no matter what the prevailing road conditions are.

In a 4WD system, torque is sent to all four wheels to improve traction. 4WDs are stronger than AWDs and are better suited for vehicles that need to travel in off-road trails. Both AWDs and 4WDs facilitate a distinct advantage when it comes to driving in icy or snowy roads.


Now that you know the difference between AWD and 4WD, go ahead and visit the nearest car dealer Neptune serving Freehold, Asbury Park, and Belmar. Knowing the difference between AWD and 4WD will help you make the right choice.

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