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.


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Travis

10 years of experience
156 reviews
Travis
10 years of experience
Hyundai Santa Fe V6-2.7L - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Houston, Texas
Arrived on time and got right to the job. Finished up earlier than expected and gave me some advice on what needs to be done down the line.
Lincoln MKX - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Houston, Texas
Travis was very professional and knowledgeable. Did I mention fixed my car in record time?! Great job and a great mechanic. Thank you for your help!

ADAM

34 years of experience
5 reviews
ADAM
34 years of experience
Honda Pilot V6-3.5L - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Lancaster, Texas
Great customer service and professionalism. He made my life so much better with his excellent mechanic skills. My truck runs like new.
Ford Fusion - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Desoto, Texas
Adam is fantastic, on time, knowledgeable, professional and super friendly. He replaced both of our cv axles in record time, and let us know about a few things that were also needing to be taken care of!

Efrain

20 years of experience
81 reviews
Efrain
20 years of experience
Nissan Rogue Select L4-2.5L - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Hyattsville, Maryland
Efrain was great & quick. Very solutions oriented and answered all my questions questions. Went above and beyond by filling my tires with air and disposing of the old damaged part.

Jamie

22 years of experience
91 reviews
Jamie
22 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata L4-2.4L - Axle / CV Shaft Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front, Passenger Side Front) - Alta Loma, California
Jamie was professional, reliable and polite. He was on time ans easy to work with. Quality work, would recommend.

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