Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. 5 Essential Things to Know About Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

5 Essential Things to Know About Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

front wheel drive ttk
TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

Many new (and old) vehicles have front-wheel drive (FWD). However, it helps to have a good understanding of exactly what that means before you make the decision on which car is the right one for you. Here, you’ll find out five essential things you need to know about front-wheel drive.

What It Is

Front wheel drive simply means that the front wheels receive the available torque from the engine. Essentially, the available power is sent to the front wheels of the vehicle to provide the traction and make it move. As the weight of both the transmission and engine are over the front wheels, FWD often delivers improved traction.

Better Fuel Economy

Front-wheel drive cars are generally lighter than those with rear-wheel and all-wheel drive as it does not require the same driveshaft and differential components, or a chassis that can withstand the added stress from the torque traveling through it. As a result, the lighter weight helps to boost overall fuel economy since the vehicle isn’t toting around all that extra weight.

Decreased Acceleration

FWD cars do have a decrease in acceleration due to all the weight being on the front tires. When the driver accelerates, the weight of the vehicle transfers to the rear tires, rather than remaining on the front. As a result, there is less traction available on the wheels receiving the power, which in turn decreases the acceleration of the car.

Braking

It’s also important to understand how front-wheel drive cars handle when braking. In most situations, braking occurs normally regardless of what wheel drive the car is. However, if you have to brake suddenly in a FWD vehicle, it will result in the weight being transferred to the front wheels. When this happens, it causes the rear of the car to become lighter. If the driver makes a sudden turn with the steering wheel, it can lead the car to start spinning.

Know Your Driving Needs

If you know you typically drive over flat terrain on paved streets, a front-wheel drive vehicle will typically work just fine for your needs. However, if you have a steep driveway or often encounter rough terrain, you may find that a rear-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle is the better option.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...


Related questions

Q: Can front wheel drive car engine power rear wheel drive

Anything is possible with enough engineering. The changes you are looking at would take major structural changes and would definitely not be an easy job. You could possibly consult a manufacturing engineer to get more details on how this could...

Q: Engine swap with Ej20x, Ecu question

I will describe a scenario that will work and you can then judge your actual circumstances based on that. The initial issue is not the "country of origin" but rather whether the block and heads are identical, in every respect,...

Q: Why no brakes

I would first recommend checking the brake fluid level. There needs to be ample brake fluid in the system to so that there is not a lack of hydraulic pressure. Secondly, check to be sure you do not have vacuum...