Everything You Need to Know About All-Wheel Drive
Understanding the various systems offered in modern vehicles can be daunting and overwhelming for new car buyers. One of the most important things that a buyer needs to consider before buying a new car is the drivetrain system.
Through this blog, we aim to cover what AWD is, its benefits and how it's different from 4WD.
What Is All-Wheel Drive?
As the name suggests, an all-wheel drive uses all four wheels in a vehicle that is the front, rear and centre differential and offers power to all four wheels. Most vehicles with an AWD drivetrain system provide power to only one set of wheels at a given time.
The front wheels usually get the power, but the rear wheels receive power during certain situations. Moreover, there are some cars where this all-wheel drive system delivers power to forward wheels when the driver presses the acceleration pedal.
What Are the Benefits of All-Wheel Drive?
The all-wheel drivetrain system may be complicated, but it is an extremely innovative system in modern cars. It is seen that this system improves driving capabilities as it offers increased road safety features. The various benefits of an AWD system are:
- Traction- An essential benefit of an all-wheel drive system is its superior traction. Here all four wheels of a car can push it forward. Moreover, a driver can drive a car even if one or more wheels lose traction. It is useful while driving around risky road conditions like slippery roads caused due to snow, ice and mud. For instance, you will often notice some cars and minivans direct power only to its rear set of wheels when a car is slipping while driving on slippery roads. This part-time application helps the drivers a lot.
- Less Chance of Spinning- Most high-powered and performance vehicles are now using AWD as it improves a vehicle's ability to improve handling on dry roads. These vehicles can harness bigger horse powers without having to spin tires. Moreover, when it snows, this AWD system tends to deliver torque to all four wheels, or two wheels receive more power than the other set. This way, the vehicle can pull itself up or push the vehicle forward without spinning the tires.
- Improves Handling- Another great advantage of the AWD drivetrain system is that it generally improves the handling of a vehicle. The latest AWD system employs intelligent torque vectoring technology for super-cars and everyday crossover cars. This way, the system improves the handling of these vehicles. Additionally, the ECU keeps the traction and speed of each wheel under control. As a result, this drivetrain system makes driving on uneven surfaces easy and smooth.
- Increases Performance- All the benefits mentioned above increase a vehicle's overall performance. For instance, most sports cars take advantage of better traction on dry and even roads. This also allows the vehicles to attain faster acceleration times. The engine's power is transferred to the wheels of the four-wheeler vehicle. Furthermore, steering improves as front wheels can focus on steering wheels rather than on providing forward traction.
- Weight Distribution- Another great advantage of an AWD is that it provides better weight distribution. Most of the vehicle's weight is located in the car's rear end as many additional components are required to transfer power to rear wheels. As a result, the front wheels will only have to take the engine's weight, and the weight will be equally distributed on both sides of the vehicle.
How Does All-Wheel Drive Work?
There are different types of AWD systems, and the performance of each of these AWD depends on the automakers and the kind of specs they use. Furthermore, the various types of AWD are as follows:
- Torque Vectoring
Typically, these different types of all-wheel drive systems work similarly. In AWD systems, there is always a centre differential set of the vehicle's gears. It divides the power between a car's front and rear wheels. Additionally, this drivetrain system has a wheel sensor which tells the drivers if the tires are losing traction. If the sensor detects any problem where the wheel or wheels are not performing properly, the vehicle's computer system sends extra power based on the vehicle's requirements.
For example, an SUV equipped with an AWD system is stuck in snow, and the driver is trying to take the car out from the snow bank. When the driver presses on the accelerator, the rear wheels keep spinning without pushing the vehicle in the forward direction. Now the vehicle's sensor will alert its computer, sending the necessary power to the rear wheels so it can propel itself forward and get the vehicle out of the snow.
How Is AWD Different From 4WD?
|1.||Principle||It delivers power to front and rear wheels at all times and sends it automatically when one set of wheels requires more power.||A driver can distribute power to front and rear axles of a vehicle.|
|2.||Delivery of Power||First, a vehicle’s system computes the situation based on those assessments. It delivers a required amount of power to the wheels that require it the most.||Power is delivered equally on both front and rear ends of a vehicle.|
|3.||Transmission of Power||There’s a centre differential that distributes power to front and rear axles of a vehicle.||It uses a transfer case to distribute power equally to all the wheels present in a vehicle.|
|4.||Flexibility||Does not allow a driver to choose between AWD and 2WD modes.||Offers drivers the option to choose between 4WD or 2WD systems.|
|5.||Suitability||Suitable for crossover and SUV. Moreover, one can use this for vehicles that usually drive under varying road conditions.||Apt for people driving their off-road SUVs in extreme conditions and with very low traction.|