Top Myths About 4 Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive
As January winds down and Groundhog’s Day approaches, many people in West Michigan will be waiting with anticipation to find out if Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow and usher in an early spring or if Grand Rapids will continue to receive 6 more weeks of winter. While some may find hope in this furry forecaster’s findings for a reprieve from more snow and cold in the coming months, most of us in West Michigan realize that the only thing we’re guaranteed of is more wintry weather will be delivered.
With an abundance of snow more than likely on the way, many people will turn to vehicles equipped with All Wheel Drive and 4 Wheel Drive to help them traverse the wintry roads in Grand Rapids. But are the benefits most people think of with AWD and 4WD all true? Here are the most common myths associated with 4 Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive…
Myth #1: All Wheel Drive & 4 Wheel Drive Are The Same
While 4 Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive both achieve similar ends of increasing traction during acceleration by providing power to all four tires at the same time, they go about it with quite different methods and means. All Wheel Drive systems utilize a front, center and rear differential with a variety of sensors, determining which wheels have the most grip, all while seamlessly and automatically redirecting power to those with less.With 4 Wheel Drive, power is supplied from the transmission to a transfer case, where it is then equally split between the front and rear axles for maximum torque. By doing so, the transfer case ensures that all four wheels turn simultaneously and evenly, and in doing so, allows the tires to turn at the same speed. As you can see, these differences can have their own benefits and drawbacks depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Myth #2: AWD/4WD Is The Most Important Feature For Driving In Snow
A major misconception about All Wheel Drive and 4 Wheel drive vehicles is that these drivetrain systems are safer in inclement weather including snow, sleet and ice but good tires and driver input are actually the most important factors while driving on slippery road conditions. There are many significant safety features, including ABS and Traction Control, that work as a collective group to improve your vehicle’s overall safety and 4WD/AWD drivetrain systems are part of this group. Yes, all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive can be helpful in snowy conditions but they are not the most important feature for keeping your vehicle on the road when braving inclement conditions.
Myth #3: 4 Wheel Drive & All Wheel Drive Makes You Invincible
One of the widest misconceptions we find among people concerning winter driving is that All Wheel Drive or 4×4 vehicles are safer on snow or ice and this idea often creates an overly confident attitude behind the wheel on slick roads. While some consider All Wheel Drive vehicles better at handling than 2 wheel drive vehicles, the truth is that the all wheel drive feature is really only improving acceleration. By diverting the engine’s power to the tires that have the most traction, all-wheel drive vehicles are able to accelerate faster but the secret of maintaining control truly lies in the tires ability to grip the road beneath it and that job is held solely by the tires on your car or truck.
Myth #4: AWD & 4WD Help With Braking
Another common misconception is that 4 Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive drivetrain systems help your vehicle brake faster in inclement weather but that could not be farther from the truth. Because AWD and 4WD are systems designed to help your vehicle accelerate, they have nothing to do with your braking system and do not help your vehicle stop any faster than it would without it.
Myth #5: 4 Wheel Drive & All Wheel Drive Allow You To Drive Normal Speeds On Inclement Roads
Although 4 Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive vehicles do help improve traction, vehicles equipped with these drivetrains often woo drivers into a false sense of security when driving on slippery roads and frequently drivers feel they can travel at the same rate of speed on slick roads as they would on dry, more ideal conditions. All-wheel drive and 4 Wheel Drive can make the vehicle feel more stable than it actually is, resulting in situations where drivers drive too fast and brake too abruptly. Winter driving still requires care and caution, with tried and true methods of slowing down and allowing for more space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you to be critical in avoiding accidents.
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Let Broadmoor Motors save you time and money when buying your next quality, Pre-Owned Car, Family Minivan, All Wheel Drive SUV, Commercial Van or Work Truck. Whether you need to replace your current car, minivan, truck or SUV with a great used vehicle, we can help you out. Broadmoor Motors is here for all your Car Sales, and Auto Service needs in the Byron Center, Kentwood, Caledonia, Middleville, Hastings, greater Grand Rapids, Wayland and Barry County area. Give us a call at 616.698.9595 in Caledonia, 269.397.2400 in Wayland or 269.320.6304 in Hastings to see how we can get you back on the road!