At Oliver Automotive in Novato, CA, we service all types of transmissions, on any car, truck, or SUV. This includes both All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive vehicles, but you may be wondering...what’s the difference? Both types of vehicle supply power to all four wheels, so why use two different terms? Due to the increasing demand for AWD and 4WD vehicles over the last decade, equipped on everything from sports cars to pickup trucks, more and more people are asking these same questions.
While there are certainly some obvious similarities, AWD and 4WD are two separate types of systems. In an AWD vehicle, the driver can’t typically alternate between AWD and two-wheel drive, and power is distributed to each wheel based on which wheel has or requires traction at any given moment. When one-wheel slips, power is applied to other wheels, and each wheel is adjusted separately to account for the loss of traction. While AWD systems are typically more fragile than 4WD systems and aren’t as effective in extreme off-road conditions, there are many benefits to an AWD vehicle. The system is able to adjust to conditions in a split second and can be continuously active on any terrain, improving steering ability and traction control. For this reason, AWD technology tends to be best utilized on daily drivers, sports cars, and vehicles that don’t often venture off-road. The fair very well in rainy or snowy conditions, for example.
4WD vehicles typically have two separate differentials, one on the front axle and one on the rear, which allows the wheels to turn at different speeds without a need for complex computer systems. While it isn’t nearly as accurate or reactive, a 4WD vehicle is less fragile and can typically be “locked”, meaning the torque and speed can be applied evenly to all four wheels for tough off-road situations. 4WD vehicles must be shifted into 4WD as well, either with a lever or a button, and should only be in 4WD inappropriate conditions. During normal road use, a 4WD vehicle should be operated in 2WD only.
In short, neither is better, it just depends on what you’ll be using your vehicle for. For extreme conditions, where the driver needs control, 4WD is the way to go. For safety, speed, handling ability, and smart solutions to unpredictable road conditions, AWD are more suitable.
Whatever type of transmission your vehicle has, the expert mechanics at Oliver Automotive have you covered. For all your repair and maintenance needs, our technicians are well qualified to provide you with the best service in the Novato, CA area. Call or come by any time.
Proudly Serving Novato & the Bay Area including drivers from San Rafael, Fairfax, Woodacre, Nicasio, Galinas, San Antonio, Petaluma, and Olema. We have customers who have moved as far away as Oakland who continue to come to our shop for high-quality auto repair service from a family business.