Driving in West Michigan during the winter can be challenging and many car buyers turn to purchasing a vehicle that can give them an edge on the snow-covered Grand Rapids roads. Once a less common occurrence, 4WD and AWD vehicles now make up 45% of vehicles on the road today and their added power in slippery conditions. While shopping for a vehicle, you might hear the words All Wheel Drive and 4 Wheel Drive used interchangeably but are they really the same thing? Deciding which one works best for your needs depends largely on knowing what the benefits and drawbacks are to each before choosing.



There are two different types, full-time AWD and part-time AWD, which work similarly in function with no input from the driver by delivering torque to all four wheels via differentials, multiple clutches and viscous couplings. Full-time AWD delivers this continuously while part-time offers it only as needed and drives in Front Wheel Drive when it is not.


One of the biggest advantages to having an All Wheel Drive vehicle is the peace of mind in not having to worry about turning 4WD on and off manually.  Since it’s not always easy to tell when the road conditions are slippery, All Wheel Drive vehicles take the guesswork out of the equation.  Because AWD vehicles are always monitoring how much traction each wheel has at the moment, it can allocate power when and where it needs it most.  This advancement in technology has created vehicles that are better at providing sportier handling on all types of road conditions including snow, ice, rain and sleet.


While AWD vehicles do improve traction, they simply cannot afford the same towing and hauling capabilities that many 4WD vehicles can provide in lower speeds, nor do they perform the same in off-road situations. In addition, they add weight and complexity to the engine’s systems which increases their price tag and can lower their fuel efficiency.



Like All Wheel Drive, 4 Wheel Drive vehicles are designed to send torque to all of the vehicle’s wheels at the same time to increase traction when needed. But most 4WD vehicles require someone to manually switch them into this drive while offering the ability to switch between two ranges of 4WD which are HI or LO. 4WD Hi allows your vehicle to send power to all four wheels while going faster over slippery surfaces such as snowy roads, loose dirt, ice or gravel. It just provides less power to each of the wheels while doing so. But if you need to tow something that is heavy or need to get over an obstacle, you have the capability to shift to 4WD Lo which gives more power to the wheels but moves the wheels at a slower speed.


While All Wheel Drive vehicles also provide torque to all wheels over Front Wheel Drive, 4 Wheel Drive systems tend to be more robust and can generally handle more rugged terrain over AWD. 4WD can improve traction in dangerous and difficult driving conditions such as snow, ice, loose gravel, over rocks and uneven surfaces.


As with their All Wheel Drive counterparts, 4×4 vehicles have more complicated drive shaft systems, making them more expensive to buy and to repair if they become broken. Similarly, the cost of driving a 4 Wheel Drive can be more costly since it takes more fuel to power all four wheels at one time.  Additionally, 4WD can feel awkward at times, such as in turns while engaged, since all the wheels will turn turning at the same rate of speed but trying to cover different rates of the ground. But while 4×4 is engaged, the tires are not permitted to turn at different speeds and this leads to that ‘jerky’ feeling you may have experienced before.



While they may not be right for everyone’s lifestyle or budget, All Wheel Drive and 4×4 Vehicles continue to gain popularity in different styles, makes and models.  If you find yourself searching for your next used SUV, minvan, truck or car to fit your needs and your budget, we invite you to check out our current inventory of Used Trucks, Vans, SUVs and Cars. At Broadmoor Motors, we specialize in finding the right used minivan, truck, SUV or car to fit your personal or business needs, all while giving you the best deal we can on both your purchase and trade in. Our family has been in the car business for over 60 years and continues to be family owned and operated in all of our Caledonia, Hastings and Wayland locations with financing available to those who qualify. We will find you the right vehicle to fit both your budget and your needs in a pressure-free environment.

Check out our reviews online and buy with confidence!! Family Owned & Operated and with Financing Available, we stand behind our Vehicles and our Warranty so you can be assured your used Car, Truck, Van or SUV will be reliable! Broadmoor Motors is your local choice for Car Sales in the greater Hastings, Middleville, Caledonia, Grand Rapids, Wayland, Byron Center, Dorr, Hopkins, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Lansing, Lake Odesa, Kentwood, Holland, Zeeland, Moline, Cutlerville, Wyoming, Hudsonville, Grandville, Jenison, Hamilton, Ionia and Allegan. Ask about our BMG Protection Plan, this is not an aftermarket product! area. 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. With three locations to serve you in Wayland, Hastings and Caledonia, we’re here for all your Sales & Service needs. 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!