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  • avatar Stever@Edmunds 02/12/09 3:12 pm PST

    This can be a touchy question (just ask a Subaru owner if Subaru should return to making FWD vehicles).

    FWD: The vehicle is just powered by the front wheels.

    Permanent AWD: Basically permanent 4WD but without low range gearing. Examples include the Audi Quattro AWD system, the MB's 4-matic AWD system, Subaru's manual transmission AWD system.

    Full-time AWD: System is active at all times, however in most cases, the one set of wheels (usually the rears) only receive 5-10% of the engine's power unless slippage occurs. At that point, power is progressively transfered to the opposite axle to help out. Some systems can transfer power to the rear upon acceleration to improve traction. However, they revert to 2WD mode when coasting.

    Pros: Good for going up to the ski hill or starting at a stop light when there's black ice. Can hold the road better for enthusiastic driving.

    Cons: More stuff to break, usually a mpg hit. Usually more expensive to buy.

    On some systems you have to be careful replacing a single tire since unmatched tires can damage the transmissions. So you may wind up buying a set or having to shave a tire to match the circumference of the other three tires. This recently happened to my sister, who drives a Forester. She ruined a tire with a nail in a sidewall, but the new tire matched the ones on the car ok (they weren't all that old), so she just had to replace the one tire.

    Check out the FWD, AWD, RWD and the Luxury Performance Sedans discussion in the CarSpace forum for more details on pros and cons.

Answers

  • cdn_tch 02/12/09 3:11 pm PST

    FWD - Front Wheel Drive
    4WD - 4 Wheel Drive
    AWD - All Wheel Drive

    Generally, 4WD is a part time system. Used to be a vehicle was RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) except when the 4WD was engaged. Today, some are FWD until the 4WD is engaed.

    AWD is when all 4 wheels are powered all of the time.

  • Stever@Edmunds 02/12/09 3:12 pm PST

    This can be a touchy question (just ask a Subaru owner if Subaru should return to making FWD vehicles).

    FWD: The vehicle is just powered by the front wheels.

    Permanent AWD: Basically permanent 4WD but without low range gearing. Examples include the Audi Quattro AWD system, the MB's 4-matic AWD system, Subaru's manual transmission AWD system.

    Full-time AWD: System is active at all times, however in most cases, the one set of wheels (usually the rears) only receive 5-10% of the engine's power unless slippage occurs. At that point, power is progressively transfered to the opposite axle to help out. Some systems can transfer power to the rear upon acceleration to improve traction. However, they revert to 2WD mode when coasting.

    Pros: Good for going up to the ski hill or starting at a stop light when there's black ice. Can hold the road better for enthusiastic driving.

    Cons: More stuff to break, usually a mpg hit. Usually more expensive to buy.

    On some systems you have to be careful replacing a single tire since unmatched tires can damage the transmissions. So you may wind up buying a set or having to shave a tire to match the circumference of the other three tires. This recently happened to my sister, who drives a Forester. She ruined a tire with a nail in a sidewall, but the new tire matched the ones on the car ok (they weren't all that old), so she just had to replace the one tire.

    Check out the FWD, AWD, RWD and the Luxury Performance Sedans discussion in the CarSpace forum for more details on pros and cons.

  • ruking1 02/14/09 10:31 am PST

    There are any number of places you can google to get a more detailed description if you have further questions of fellow posters. As for being female, that is no excuse ! :) However most folks who are not into cars, even folks that are REALLY into cars do NOT want to hassle much with repairs. So the oxxymoron is the "correct" rear wheel drive would tend to be the more reliable/durable. However the RWD model choices are pretty limited.

    So if a compact fits your needs a (FWD) Honda Civic/Toyota Corolla, etc., etc., with manual transmission (if you are comfortable with and know how to drive a manual FOR reliability durability, if not,) an automatic transmission.

    Try not to fall into the do dah trap!! The LESS do dahs you have, the more reliable it tends to be. A for example would be: it is hard to have POWER door lock problems, if your door locks are not power. It is hard to have cruise control issues, if no cruise control.( AKA, 2 less things to worry about.)

    On a 04 Civic coming up on 80,000 miles, it has basically needed

    1. new tires @ 74,500 miles,
    2. It got an alignment to make sure the now 100,000 miles tires have a good shot @ 100k.
    3. E brake (emergency) was adjusted
    4. odometer bulb needed R/R. (this is a fluke and probably impossible to predict)
    5. The thing is run on 20,000 mile OCI's (Mobil One 0w20,5w20 oil and filter change).

    The thing runs like a top. However I am targeting 450,000 miles so.... don't ignore what you ultimately decide to buy.


    All the best.

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