Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...


Related questions

Q: Bearing grinding in front wheels

Hello. If you are getting a growling or grinding noise while driving down the road, then it is more than likely a bad bearing. These need to be serviced and packed with new grease over time to prevent this from...

Q: Engine losing power while driving

Hello. Pinpointing where the noise is coming from will greatly help us determine why there is power loss. If the drive train makes noise and the engine seems to lose power, that usually indicates a transmission issue. Have the transmission...

Q: Deflating noise when backing up and screeching noise on and off when driving.

Hi there. It sounds like a brake issue. Check the brakes on the rear of the vehicle for any loose or worn hardware. If you have brake drums, see if the brake shoes are adjusted correctly and not dragging. If...