2WD vs 4WD vs AWD - Silver Lake Auto & Tire Centers
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2WD vs 4WD vs AWD


We’re no strangers to snow. When winter comes, we just bundle up and drive through it. When buying a new car, we have to take into conscideration our weather and how we can safely drive through it. During the car buying process, we’re faced with tons of abbreviations to consider. Here, we’re going to talk about just five of them:

  • 2WD which is broken down into FWD and RWD
  • AWD
  • 4WD

These 5 abbreviations all have to do with how your transmission sends power to your tires, also known as your drivetrain.


2 Wheel Drive vehicles are powered by one set of wheels, either the front two (Front Wheel Drive or FWD) or the back (Rear Real Drive or RWD).


Most passenger cars on the road are Front Wheel Drive. FWD vehicles are less expensive and less complicated from a manufactuer’s standpoint.


Rear Wheel Drive vehicles include trucks, truck-based SUVs, and high performance sports cars. RWD cars are more balanced since the complex drive train is moved to the rear of the car. This leads to better handling and better traction for hauling heavy loads. However, RWD cars do have less traction on slippery roads, which is why many high performance manufactuers are looking towards AWD drivetrains.


All Wheel Drive sends power to all four wheels all the time. This type of drivetrain can be found in all types of vehicles and is becoming increasingly popular in crossover and SUV style vehicles. AWD vehicles are generally heavier than their 2WD counterparts and suffer from reduced fuel economy. However, they handle better in inclement whether and on surfaces that might cause 2WD vehicles to lose traction.


4WD stands for 4 Wheel Drive also known as 4×4. Typically you’ll see this option in vehicles whose homes are off of the beaten trail. 4WD cars give you the option to have the power sent to all four wheels. 4WD is turned on using a lever or even a button in newer vehicles. When your 4WD isn’t turned on, your car turns back into 2WD.

No matter which drivetrain your car has, your stopping power is greatly decreased with worn out brakes or tires. Stop by your local auto repair center to make sure your car is ready to tackle the road.

Written by Dan Garlock