Before deciding to buy a car, it’s good to know in advance the types of wheel drive technologies that are commonly used in a car. In this post, the cars assistant will review the wheel drive technology commonly used in cars today.
1. Front Engine Front Wheel Drive (FWD)
Cars that use this driving technology place the engine on the front by relying on the drive on both the front wheels. The general characteristic of the type of car that uses this technology is the position installed horizontally. Because it is considered efficient, this type of wheel drive technology is very commonly applied to modern cars. Because the position of the engine is right above the front axle, so every wheel that is pushed is on a turning track, the car will experience a lack of grip. In low traction such as snowy roads, muddy, gravel or wet asphalt, FWD cars are considered superior to RWD cars.
The advantages of a car with a front wheel drive:
- Placement of the engine in the fast part just above the second axle of the front wheel makes the concentration of the center of gravity on the front of the vehicle. This means, the engine as a source of energy is directly channeled to the front wheels without the transfer case which can cause loss of some power from the engine to the drive.
- In addition, the use of the front drive also indirectly makes the design of the vehicle, especially on the inside of the cabin will be wider. This is due to the lack of space given to the driving device to the rear wheels.
- Another advantage that can be found in a vehicle with a front wheel drive is the absence of spare parts in the form of gearboxes, couplings that cross to the rear and axle wheels on the rear wheels. This can cause reduced noise that can be caused from the three components of the car.
- Maintenance costs will eventually become cheaper because there are no various drive components to the rear wheels.
- Cars with front-wheel drive technology tend to be more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and the carbon dioxide emissions produced also tend to be less.
The lack of cars with front wheel drive:
- Components of the legs on the front wheel drive car tend to break faster because this has a dual role as a driver and as a direction.
- Because the heavy weight of the vehicle is on the front so that its ability to carry heavy loads is reduced because the rear wheels lose traction.
- Tends to be more difficult in terms of steering control on reduced road conditions with heavy loads.
2. Front Engine Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)
This type of car uses an engine in front which then transfers power to the rear wheels. This type of rear wheel drive is often chosen to design a simple car and has a level of care that is not difficult. Placing a wheel drive on the back allows space for transmission in the center of the vehicle and avoids the complexity of the power mechanism to the front wheels. The rear wheel drive is perfect for vehicles with high performance, especially on engines that exceed 180 horsepower. This is because the load pedestal is behind the vehicle so that the rear wheel load also increases its grip. Another advantage, the pattern of the rear wheel drive system is relatively easy to access the engine compartment, making it easier to do repairs or modifications. Cars with rear-wheel drive systems are usually the favorite of drifters because the rear-wheel drive cars will be oversteer compared to understeer front-wheel drive cars.
In addition to these advantages, here are some other advantages that can be obtained from a car with a rear wheel drive:
- The rear wheel drive is chosen by the manufacturer with the intention that the car can carry heavier loads. This is due to the burden of the load is on the rear wheels where the wheel rotates which makes the traction better.
- It is easier in terms of steering control in reduced road conditions with heavy loads.
However, behind these advantages there are also disadvantages of rear wheel drive type, including the following:
- Rear wheel drive usually loses traction when entering the bend.
- Maintenance costs tend to be more expensive than FWD cars.
- Generally, cabin space becomes narrower because of the space needed by the coupling to the rear wheels.
- Noise that can be caused by three components: gearbox, coupling and rear axle
3. 4 Wheel Drive (4WD)
From the mention, this technology can be recognized. Yes, 4WD means that the driving force is the four wheels, both the front and rear wheels. This drive system allows all four wheels to be able to receive torque from the engine simultaneously. In general, this 4WD drive system is more identic with cars with off-road capabilities. With four moving wheels can provide better control on normal roads and various surfaces.
On cars with true off road capabilities, you will find two types of transfer case sticks that will adjust to low or high traction positions. So that the driver can maximize each power according to needs.
Some the advantages of 4WD wheel drive system that we can get:
- Has good traction in off-road conditions
- The use of 4WD can be turned off to improve fuel efficiency.
But, besides the advantages, there are also disadvantages of 4WD wheel drive system:
- Add to the burden of the car and the complexity of the car
- Prices are relatively more expensive than the 2WD models
4. All Wheel Drive (AWD)
Similar but not the same, well, cars with all-wheel drive at a glance, we will assume that both are the same technology. Although basically it has similarities but in terms of technology both technologies are not entirely the same. AWD is a development of 4WD. Computerized AWD technology is able to divide power from engine to four wheels according to their needs. If on 4WD technology, the engine power will automatically be directly divided into four wheels, this does not happen in AWD cars.
After looking at the above explanation, of course you assume that the 4WD and AWD drive systems are the same. Same but not similar, in principle, basic 4WD and AWD are all wheel drive systems (4 wheels). However, the 4WD is an adjustable drive system which part moves whether the back or front uses a transfer case stick. With this feature, the 4WD drive system is commonly used for cars that cross an off road line such as a jeep or SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). Another thing with AWD, this driving system is an innovation in the automotive world. The workings of AWD are more complex than 4WD systems. The AWD system is usually found in supercar racing cars while the 4WD system will be found on cars with off-road capabilities.
Simply put, AWD will continuously move all the wheels both the front and rear without having to be manually controlled as found on a 4WD system with its transfer case stick feature. The AWD system has been combined with computer technology. The sensors on each wheel will continuously monitor traction, acceleration, and some important data needed by the driver. So that the AWD system is more appropriate for racing cars or supercars. Considering the cars that carry the AWD system are very expensive both in terms of price and maintenance so it is not wrong to be included in the premium class car category.
The 4WD and AWD systems actually have the same function, namely to maximize the traction of the four wheels simultaneously. A good system can provide maximum torque on the wheels without the possibility of spin. Torque is the force that the engine produces when it first drives from a standstill. Therefore, off-road cars usually have a large torque with a good drive system on each wheel. While traction is the maximum power that a wheel can give to a crossed surface. The better the traction that can be given, the higher the power that the wheels give to the surface to drive the car.
Here are some factors that can affect traction:
- Weighing the load received by each wheel. The heavier of the weight, so will better in the traction. Please note that the wheel load can change at a bend, namely when the weight of the car moves on the outer side.
- The type of wheel used and the surface passed by the car. Examples are mud-terrain tires or tires that are specifically made for off-road needs. These tires have better traction on muddy trajectories compared to ordinary tires.
Here are some of the advantages that can be enjoyed from cars that use the AWD systems:
- Can improve the quality of tire grip and handling cars in a variety of conditions
- Has better traction
- The AWD system always works continuously against the four wheels.
However, on the other hand, there are disadvantages that can also be found on cars with AWD wheel drive systems, including the following:
- Fuel efficiency is reduced
- Add car loads and car complexity
- Less than maximum use in extreme off-road terrain such as uphill and snowy roads
By knowing the wheel drive system that is commonly applied on cars, we hope that you will not be mistaken in buying a car according to your needs.