Difference between AWD and 4WD

What is the difference between AWD and 4WD?

What is the difference between AWD and 4WD? Here is a quick lesson in AWD vs. 4WD.

First off, AWD means All Wheel Drive and 4WD means Four Wheel Drive. Sounds the same, doesn't it?

Anyway, in most cases 4WD means that you can choose when to put power to all four wheels as opposed to just the front. There is usually a stick or switch that allows you to turn power on to all four wheels. When it is on, it is powering all wheels at the same time, and when it is off, only the front wheels have power.

AWD on the other hand does not allow you to choose when to use the rear wheels. There is no on or off stick or switch for powering the rear wheels on an AWD vehicle. Instead, the car computer monitors the rotation difference between the front wheels and the rear wheels and if the difference is noticeable (slipping), then the car will adjust power to rear wheels to stop the slipping and make a more stable drive.

A 2WD does not have any power to rear wheels manually through a switch nor automatically when slippery.

Note: additional power would be supplied to front wheels on rear-wheel drive vehicles.

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