Different Types of Four Wheel Drive: Features and Functionality

Four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles offer superior performance on uneven terrain and in off-road driving situations. Understanding the various types of 4WD can help you make the right choices when purchasing and upgrading your truck or Jeep. Your local Houston truck accessories store can provide added guidance on the best upgrades and additions for your vehicle. These Houston truck parts experts have the knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have. Here are some of the most common types of 4WD systems currently available on the market.

Four-by-Four 4WD

Trucks and cars that have full-time 4 wheel drive capability are generally referred to as 4X4 vehicles. These systems are most often found on sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks. Your 4X4 vehicle is well-suited to off-roading and can provide added traction in sand and loose dirt, making it a solid choice for adventurous types. Most full-time 4WD vehicles are equipped with a center differential that ensures that all four wheels drive at the same rate when the appropriate locking mechanism is engaged. While this is preferred in many off-road situations, the center differential must be unlocked when driving on hard surfaces to prevent damage to your vehicle's drivetrain and transmission. True 4WD systems usually include 4-low range capability for greater torque and increased towing ability.

Part-Time 4WD

For drivers who spend most of their time on paved streets and highways, part-time 4WD vehicles offer a solid compromise between superior traction and improved gas mileage. Part-time 4WD systems can be switched on when needed and generally require a full stop on the part of the driver before making this change. Full-time 4WD systems require power to all four wheels at all times, making them more expensive in terms of fuel consumption. Part-time 4WD vehicles do not offer the option to lock the center differential and perform slightly less well on rough terrain than their full-time 4WD counterparts.

Shift-on-the-Fly 4WD


Drivers who want the convenience of switching between two-wheel drive (2WD) and 4WD capability while underway can select vehicles that feature shift-on-the-fly 4WD. Most of these trucks are designed to allow drivers to change between 2WD and 4WD at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, making them an outstanding choice for variable weather conditions and managing off-road trips with ease.

Automatic 4WD

One of the most advanced options for Texas drivers is the automatic 4WD system. Rather than requiring a manual shift between 2WD and 4WD, these computerized technologies sense when 4WD is necessary and shift automatically to provide greater traction and increased control for drivers in a wide range of road conditions. Automatic 4WD systems can reduce fuel consumption by engaging the 4WD only when it is needed, lowering the overall cost of operation for most drivers.

All-Wheel Drive Systems

All-wheel drive (AWD) systems use a specialized 4WD system that differs from full-time and part-time 4WD in the following ways:

  • AWD always engages all four wheels and cannot be switched to 2WD.
  • While these systems are equipped with a center differential, it cannot be locked to force all wheels to turn at the same rate.
  • AWD vehicles do not feature 4-low capability.

AWD systems are common on many luxury cars and offer increased traction for driving in inclement weather.

The best 4WD option for you depends on the ways in which you typically use your car, truck or SUV. Your Houston truck parts store can offer added information about the right accessories and the most effective solutions for your on- and off-road needs. Whether you need Houston bed covers or a lift kit for taking on uneven terrain, these automotive experts can deliver the most accurate advice for upgrading your vehicle and making sure it is ready to take on the challenges ahead. This can allow you to enjoy greater confidence when heading off-road or taking a drive down Texas streets and highways.

  • Posted on   09/27/16 at 08:25:53 PM   by biz  | 
  • RSS
  • |
  • More
Posted in News
Tagged with Houston Truck Accessories, Houston Truck Parts, Houston Bed Covers
Recent Articles
Oct
26
2016

All About Tire Plug Repairs for Your Off-Road Tires

If you enjoy off-roading, you already know that the tires used for these adventures are far from...
Sep
27
2016

Different Types of Four Wheel Drive: Features and Functionality

Four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles offer superior performance on uneven terrain and in off-road dri...
Aug
25
2016

Improving Your Off-Road Experience

Four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles can provide real utility when leaving the beaten path f...
Jul
25
2016

Lighting Options for Off Road Trucks

Many new Houston truck accessories are available that will give you a whole new perspective whe...
Jun
24
2016

What Helps Make an Off-Road Vehicle Unstoppable?

Size might matter in some cases, but it is not as important as you might think when it comes to ...
May
25
2016

Inexpensive Off-Road Upgrades for Your Houston Truck or Jeep

Preparing your truck or Jeep for off-road adventures this summer can be a costly experience. Fin...
Apr
25
2016

Skills and Techniques for Driving Off-Road

It is likely that your truck or SUV spends far more time on the street than off the road. If you...
Mar
24
2016

Benefits of an Aftermarket Exhaust System for Your Truck or Jeep

If your experience is limited to standard stock exhaust systems installed in your truck or Jeep...
Feb
25
2016

Off-Road Truck Maintenance Basics

Off-roading takes its toll on your vehicle even if you are using upgraded aftermarket components...
Jan
25
2016

Steel vs. Alloy Wheels For Your Off Road Truck or Jeep

If you own a Jeep or a vehicle that you want to take off-roading, it is important that you do no...
Dec
23
2015

Best Off-Road Pickup Truck Accessories

Best Off-Road Pickup Truck Accessories Heading off-road, leaving tracks in the mud – ...
Nov
30
2015

Five Tips for Washing and Detailing Your Houston Truck

Taking care of your truck can help it look new longer and can provide a more enjoyable ride for ...
Oct
21
2015

Custom Bumpers for Trucks

Every car lover knows that one of the best things about owning a pickup truck or Jeep is the ima...
Oct
20
2015

Different Types of Pickup Truck Bed Covers

Pickup truck bed covers provide protection from the elements and theft while creating a cool and...
Sep
10
2015

Allout Offroad BREAKING NEWS

Allout Offroad IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE ADDITION OF TWO GREAT NEW LOCATIONS TO OUR GROWING FAMILY...
Aug
18
2015

Questions to Ask When Buying a Pickup Truck Bed Cover

Questions to Ask When Buying a Pickup Truck Bed Cover  A pickup bed cover or tonneau is ...
Jul
23
2015

Tips For Selecting The Right Houston Truck Accessories Lift Kit

Tips For Selecting The Right Houston Truck Accessories Lift Kit When you are interested in ...
Jun
25
2015

Different Types of Pickup Truck Lift Kits

Different Types of Pickup Truck Lift Kits If you are looking for a way to amp up your truck...
Topics

Truck of the Month

have a question?

  • Email Us
    Get answers from the pros
  • Richmond, TX:
    281-341-9494
    MON-FRI 9AM-6PM CST
    SAT 9AM-1PM CST
    Closed SUN
  • Stafford, TX:
    281-499-3806
    MON-FRI 9AM-6PM CST
    SAT 9AM-1PM CST
    Closed SUN
  • Pearland, TX:
    281-485-7003
    MON-FRI 9AM-6PM CST
    SAT 9AM-1PM CST
    Closed SUN
  • Spring/Woodlands, TX:
    832-717-3855
    MON-FRI 9AM-6PM CST
    SAT 9AM-1PM CST
    Closed SUN
  • North Richland Hills, TX:
    817-849-5777
    MON-FRI 9AM-6PM CST
    SAT 9AM-1PM CST
    Closed SUN
  • Chat Is Offline
    Available During Work Hours