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Understanding the Concept of How All-Wheel Drive Systems Work

Why is it so imperative to know how all-wheel drive works on your car? First, it may seem like it is an all-wheel drive system and that it is not meant to be used on a road. For example, part-time all-wheel drive cannot be used in non-slippery situations, you will have to drive such car in rear wheel drive mode, even, while it is raining or snowing; in the weather conditions where all wheel drive might be desired. Secondly, subject on the type of all-wheel drive, your car acts otherwise when driving and cornering in slippery conditions. You might want to know what to expect.

Do not get confused by contractions that manufacturers use: AWD it is not essentially a full-time all-wheel drive, 4WD is not just for off-road vehicles. There are dozens of brand car producers that are using this to differentiate their four-wheel drive vehicles: “Quattro”, “4motion”. However, these seldom specify the type of all-wheel drive system that is used on a specific vehicle.

Part-time all-wheel driving

This is a brief all-wheel driving system. In normal driving circumstances, just one axle with the rear axle normally, is driven. In slippery conditions, another axle is involved by the driver, whether by a lever or a button. This type of all-wheel drive does not have a centre difference, when all-wheel drive is engaged, the front and rear drive shafts are automatically connected and rotate at the same speed. When a vehicle is turning, front wheels travel greater distance than rear wheels.

Due to the fact that part-time all-wheel drive systems do not have a centre difference, the front wheels cannot go quicker than rear wheels. This type of all-wheel drive cannot be used on pavement. Turning on asphalt or even on a wet pavement, with all-wheel drive engaged causes transmission windup and increases the chances of the transmission breakdown. When all-wheel drive is engaged, the vehicle heavily understeers and this can lead to an accident.

The all-wheel drive mode on a vehicle with part-time all-wheel drive ought to only be used on surfaces with low traction like mud, snow, ice, sand, for short periods, and at low speeds. When driving on such surfaces, the transmission windup is eradicated by slipping of the wheels.

If you appreciated this article and interested in the all-wheel/4×4 driving experience then please visit South Africa’s favourite 4×4 driving portal, South Africa 4×4, whereby you are able to experience this first hand with the entire family with a fully equipped 4×4 vehicle.

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