5 Essential Things to Know About Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

With all the options available for drive wheels in vehicles, it can become confusing as to which is best for you. Here, you’ll learn five things you need to know about rear-wheel drive (RWD) so you can make a better-informed decision.

What It Is

RWD simply means that the power from the engine is transferred to the rear axle via a driveshaft. Once the driveshaft sends the power to the rear axle, it transfers it to a set of rear gears that distribute it between the wheels. In this drive setup, the rear wheels of the vehicle are responsible for moving it, while the front wheels handle the steering.

Benefits

Rear-wheel drive is most often seen on performance vehicles and trucks. With trucks, RWD provides increased traction when a heavy load is being carried. This traction boost helps move the load and increases the durability of the truck. With performance cars, RWD provides the strength needed to accommodate larger engines and increased horsepower.

Increased Acceleration and Balance

RWD also benefits acceleration. When a driver hits the gas, it causes the weight of the vehicle to shift backwards. With a rear-wheel drive car, this puts more pressure on the driving wheels, facilitating a faster takeoff than one would see with a front-wheel drive. Additionally, RWD vehicles usually have a better balance of weight across all four tires, which contributes to improved balance and handling.

Fewer Repairs

RWD systems are popular because they can offer increased durability over the other drives available. The systems are designed to provide durability, which means you won’t have to worry about causing significant damage if you happen to hit a pothole or even run up on the curb. If that happens in a front-wheel drive car, you’ll likely be in the shop waiting for an axle or CV shaft replacement or repair.

Not Bad-Weather Friendly

For all their benefits, rear-wheel drive vehicles are not the best option in snow and ice. While traction control and other such systems help maintain control, you are much more likely to slide and even spin when dealing with slippery road conditions. If you own a RWD vehicle, your best bet might be to either use snow chains, add plenty of weight to the back of the vehicle by loading up the trunk, or if possible, drive a different vehicle in inclement weather conditions.


Next Step

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Nathaniel

10 years of experience
244 reviews
Nathaniel
10 years of experience
Buick Century - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Chesapeake, Virginia
As usual Nathaniel was very prompt and highly knowledgeable of the task at hand. Expert installation of parts and ensuring that the problem was rectified. An outstanding mechanic
Toyota Tundra - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Nate is a 10 star mechanic. He’s worked on my car before and I was happy to get him back. I know he’s going to do great work and be professional the entire appointment. He is an asset to YourMechanic. I have recommended him to family, friends and on Nextdoor Neighborhood app.

John

20 years of experience
490 reviews
John
20 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Orlando, Florida
John is outstanding! He is patient and methodical as well as more qualified than any dealer mechanic I have observed. I took my car to my local Ford dealer. They had it for 7 days trying to figure how to repair an axel frozen solid to the hub in which the hub had a bad bearing. John was able to remove then install the parts needed (steering knuckle, axel, bearing, and hub) within 2 visits. The second visit was needed because parts had to be ordered. All this work performed in my driveway. No dealer hassles, no needing to get rides to/from dealer, and actually watching old parts come out and new ones installed was reassuring. John is excellent.
Ford Fusion - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Orlando, Florida
John has great car knowledge and travels with about every tool known to man as well as uses them properly.

Ben

41 years of experience
1222 reviews
Ben
41 years of experience
Nissan Rogue Select - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Houston, Texas
Execellent service. Fast service. I highly recommend his attention to detail and knowledge. Thanks Ben.

Larry

19 years of experience
31 reviews
Larry
19 years of experience
Saab 9-2X - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Oakland, California
Larry was great! Super friendly and went above and beyond on the repair & service (he even took our car for a wash after he finished working on it). We’d absolutely choose him for future work.

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