Q: Difference between 4WD, AWD and FWD? Is AWD or 4WD necessary in SUVs? or will FWD do OK with winter tires?

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What is the difference between 4WD, AWD and FWD? Is AWD or 4WD necessary in SUVs? or will FWD do OK with winter tires?

Also, does you compare maintenance costs for SUV's?

Hello, the difference between four wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and front wheel drive is the difference in how your vehicle transfers energy to power the vehicle. Four wheel drive is a vehicle that uses two wheels to propel the vehicle but has the option to select four wheel drive which transfers equal energy to all 4 tires. Four wheel drive is normally used in adverse weather conditions such as snow, mud or ice. The benefit to having a four wheel drive vehicle is you have the control to run on two rear tires or all four tires.

An all wheel drive vehicle has power to all four tires 100 percent of the time. This means that the engine is working to power all tires all the time. This also has its benefits in adverse weather conditions.

A front wheel drive vehicle has power only to the front two tires with no option to transmit energy through all four tires.

Depending on your weather conditions a front wheel drive SUV with winter tires could do very well in adverse weather conditions. It won’t perform as well as the other two powertrain options but it is still a good option. YourMechanic offers estimates on scheduled maintenance so that you can do approximate comparisons on maintenance costs between the cars you’re interested in.

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