4WD VS AWD

O

OldFart

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Aurora, CO 80012 USA
I would like the opinions of people who have had both a 4 wheel drive and an All Wheel Drive. I have had several 4WDs and recently bought an AWD but haven't had it long enough to reach any conclusions.
When the "Traction Law" is in force in Colorado, you can continue if your vehicle has snow tires, 4WD or AWD.
Thanks Ray
 
jlanecr500

jlanecr500

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AWD is basically full-time 4x4 with a twist. Most AWD vehicles use a clutch of sorts (swash plate) inside the transfer case which adjusts bias to the front wheels. Basically, the front end gets about 5% of the available power while 95% goes to the rear. If slippage is detected, the bias is increased up to a preset maximum which should be near 50/50. By running normally at a low bias setting, AWD doesn't effect fuel economy as much as running 4x4 all the time.
For instance, I had a 2014 Silverado that was selectable. I ran a tank of fuel thru it during snowy weather in AUTO mode ,which is AWD, and another tank under the same driving conditions but in 2wd. The AUTO mode lost a little less than 1mpg.
 
D

Deer Whisperer

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It's pretty vehicle dependant, and even then it may not be clear.
I have a first generation Rav4. There are 3 different types of 4wd just for this vehicle.

For driving on snow and especially ice, tires are more important than the drive train. I have been using Bridgestone Blizzak tires on different vehicles for about 20 years. I've had them on small and mid size front wheel drive cars, rear wheel drive cars, and 4wd. It doesn't matter what you put them on, you can go anywhere you want. I can drive up the steepest ice covered hill I can find with no problem, and go back down. During the steepest part of the hill, I can stop right there.

Please read all you can on this type of tire. They are better than you can imagine. Way better than studded snow tires. The tread compound is designed to grip on smooth ice.

https://m.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp? ... zzak+DM-V2
 
P

PalsPal

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Deer Whisperer":2j679cve said:
It's pretty vehicle dependant, and even then it may not be clear.
I have a first generation Rav4. There are 3 different types of 4wd just for this vehicle.

For driving on snow and especially ice, tires are more important than the drive train. I have been using Bridgestone Blizzak tires on different vehicles for about 20 years. I've had them on small and mid size front wheel drive cars, rear wheel drive cars, and 4wd. It doesn't matter what you put them on, you can go anywhere you want. I can drive up the steepest ice covered hill I can find with no problem, and go back down. During the steepest part of the hill, I can stop right there.

Please read all you can on this type of tire. They are better than you can imagine. Way better than studded snow tires. The tread compound is designed to grip on smooth ice.

https://m.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp? ... zzak+DM-V2


So, are you putting these on just during icy weather, or for the entire winter season? Surely your not keeping them on all year? Seems overkill for something you might encounter 1-2x a year in TN, when normal tires will do just fine if you drive smartly. If it's too bad one can always put on tires chains.

Now, concerning the OP, I haven't driven an AWD vehicle during winter weather, but I think I'd prefer the flexibility of regular 4WD.
 
Andy S.

Andy S.

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Atoka, TN
My wife has a 2012 4Runner that is full time AWD, with selectable 4WD High and 4WD Low. In my limited experience driving it on snow and ice in AWD, it "seems" to handle very well with increased traction, good breaking, and superior handling abilities compared to our other vehicles. That is just anecdotal evidence based on my limited experience driving it 1-2 times a year on slick roads.

We have family in Virginia and North Carolina and they swear by their AWD Subaru vehicles for traction in the mountains while driving on snow and ice. They always say their vehicles "stick" to the roads like glue during inclement weather. That is just hearsay, but I do not think they would steer me wrong.
 
E

eddie c

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jackson, tn
I'm on my second AWD vehicle. the first one didn't have a traction control option, the current one does. both have done well during ice/snow conditions and have been pretty good in muddy conditions such as getting off road to park for hunting, etc. but I wouldn't completely trust it to mud/joy riding conditions.

4WD and AWD each have their place and usefulness.
 
Planking

Planking

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I have two 4x4's and an AWD. The AWD is my daily driver and it has locking differentials. If i didn't need an off road/farm vehicle or tow heavy equipment, boats, etc then i would just have an AWD vehicle. Snow, rain, etc they perform well.
 
D

Deer Whisperer

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Murfreesboro, TN
PalsPal":22fdkpi4 said:
Deer Whisperer":22fdkpi4 said:
It's pretty vehicle dependant, and even then it may not be clear.
I have a first generation Rav4. There are 3 different types of 4wd just for this vehicle.

For driving on snow and especially ice, tires are more important than the drive train. I have been using Bridgestone Blizzak tires on different vehicles for about 20 years. I've had them on small and mid size front wheel drive cars, rear wheel drive cars, and 4wd. It doesn't matter what you put them on, you can go anywhere you want. I can drive up the steepest ice covered hill I can find with no problem, and go back down. During the steepest part of the hill, I can stop right there.

Please read all you can on this type of tire. They are better than you can imagine. Way better than studded snow tires. The tread compound is designed to grip on smooth ice.

https://m.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp? ... zzak+DM-V2


So, are you putting these on just during icy weather, or for the entire winter season? Surely your not keeping them on all year? Seems overkill for something you might encounter 1-2x a year in TN, when normal tires will do just fine if you drive smartly. If it's too bad one can always put on tires chains.

Now, concerning the OP, I haven't driven an AWD vehicle during winter weather, but I think I'd prefer the flexibility of regular 4WD.

I buy a set of used oe aluminum wheels from craigslist for $100 - $200 and mount the Blizzaks on them. I switch from regular street tires to these in my garage and it takes me less.than 20 minutes. I only run them for a short time each year. You're right, in middle TN these tires are overkill, but to me they are worth it. In the past, I have had to travel on the ice, and my daily commute involves a lot of hills on back roads. All the 4wd trucks and SUV's will be in the ditches and I will not slide one bit. My wife cares for her grandmother so not leaving the house isn't an otion. When she wants to drive on ice, it's not a problem.

I know the op was only asking about drive train issues. My point is that 4wd vs awd isn't as important of an issue as what is actually coming in contact with the ice. He also lives in CO, so he drives on a lot more snow and ice than I do.

If we have any more ice on the roads this year, I will be glad to give someone a demo. Just contact me and show me the steepest hill around and we will go there. It's kind of freaky being able to stop while going down a steep icy hill.
 
Good time Charlie

Good time Charlie

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My wife's Sorento goes into AWD below 20 mph. unless of course, you lock it in by pushing a button on the console.

Goes better then my truck with the big meat hooks on it.

She has a separate button on the dash to the left of steering wheel that is for wet roads.And if you slide just a little you can feel it adjusting.
 

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