When the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall, you may want to avoid the roads altogether. That is probably your best option, but it is not always an option. When you have to navigate snowy and icy roads, a few features will keep you safe. Many new trucks come with features that will be very important to consider. Four-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (FWD) are absolutely essential for safe driving in winter conditions. Both provide power to all four tires to maintain traction. However, they are slightly different.
A basic four-wheel drive system involves a transfer case separate from the transmission. This case has its own team, which is usually very low ranking. Allows the driver to deliver engine power to all four tires. Low gear slows the vehicle down to slow but provides much more traction and power, allowing you to crawl over treacherous terrain and maintain grip on icy roads.
In reality, many new trucks have elaborate computer systems that monitor engine and brake power under particularly dangerous conditions so that the driver can concentrate on steering. These on-board computers have changed a lot from 4WD. Originally, all-wheel drive was used to describe part-time systems that deliver different amounts of power to the front and rear axles. Four-wheel drive was used for full-time systems that delivered the same amount of power to the front and rear wheels. Now, the amount of energy delivered to the wheels is constantly altered by a computer.
The complexity of the automatic rack and pinion of the transfer case makes them quite large and heavy. They hang from the undercarriage of the vehicle, requiring a heavy skid plate. Some of them weigh over 80 pounds and the skid plates can be just as heavy, which will affect performance and gas mileage. Additionally, complex moving parts will require more maintenance over the life of the vehicle.
This is also called full-time four-wheel drive, as the driver cannot disconnect it. The systems were originally developed for small SUVs and crossovers that were built on passenger car racks, so they tend to be lighter and smaller. Although an AWD system technically delivers constant power to the front and rear axles, the new trucks have characteristics that constantly alter the amount of power that is delivered. These systems generally focus their energy at the front end because it is the most efficient way to drive. However, computers will instantly redirect power to the rear if they detect a loss of traction.
Many controllers prefer this configuration because it does not require any input from the controller. Also, these don’t get involved or disconnected, which means they will be less complex. That reduced complexity means they require less maintenance.
However, since the power of all the tires is constant, the transfer cases do not have the extra low gear to increase the pulling power. For that reason, AWD systems are designed to drive in all types of weather, but not off-road.
Whether you opt for the higher torque of a 4WD setup or the easy maintenance of an AWD setup, the most important thing is staying safe. There is no traction control system that can save you from reckless behavior in poor driving conditions.