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Know the Difference: 4×4 vs AWD vs RWD vs FWD

We all see the dealership flyers and private ads– they are full of acronyms and shorthand to get across as much information in as little room as possible. Things like A/C and V6 are straightforward and familiar, but it can get confusing when it comes time to describe how the vehicle delivers power to its wheels. Known as the drivetrain, it generally breaks down into four categories: FWD, RWD, AWD and 4×4. To know the difference, consult Park Muffler’s guide below!

Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

Though it wasn’t always the case, most modern vehicles’ base models are front wheel drive. This means the power created by the engine is put into the wheels ahead of the driver, pulling the automobile along with the tires that steer. FWD vehicles are more economical and fuel efficient, but produce less torque– though they do perform well in rain and snow.

Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)

Before a certain era, most vehicles produced employed a rear wheel drivetrain to maximize torque. Now common in trucks and performance automobiles, RWD models deliver the engine’s power to the wheels behind the driver– pushing the vehicle the rear tires. Prone to fishtailing in slippery conditions, rear wheel drive vehicles otherwise have better overall balance, handling and durability.

All Wheel Drive (AWD, 4WD, 4×4 and others)

The third category of drivetrain is much more broad due to recent innovations in engineering and design. Previously all wheel drivetrains had to be mechanical, resulting in full-time AWD or switches that could activate a 4×4 system. Now, the market is filled with electric all wheel drive variations that turn on and off as needed. While very advanced, electric AWD (also often branded as 4WD) is still more inconsistent than fully mechanical AWD or 4×4. Still most contemporary systems increase handling greatly, though they may use more fuel than other drivetrains, as the engine is powering more than two wheels at a time.

As you can see, there is a lot to of pros and cons to weigh– consider them carefully then contact or visit us here at Park Muffler today! Our friendly, knowledgeable team is standing-by to answer any questions or concerns you may have.


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  • Family owned and operated
  • Serving Sherwood Park, Edmonton, and area since 1979
  • 25-bay service centre
  • Experienced, licensed technicians
  • In-house financing
  • Same day service for most repairs and maintenance
  • Open Saturdays

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Park Muffler Radiator Brakes & Tires | 101 Seneca Rd, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 4G6

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