Close up of car driving through thick snow

What is the Difference Between Front-Wheel Drive and Rear-Wheel Drive?

When shopping for a new or used vehicle, there are differences between each model that help you make your final decision. However, there might be some areas that you aren’t sure about the difference. Many people are confused about the differences and benefits of drivetrains, particularly front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. What is front-wheel drive? What is rear-wheel drive? Which one is better? Join us today as we go over the difference between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. Read on to see which one is better for you.

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Front-Wheel Drive: Advantages and Disadvantages

For front-wheel drive, the engine and transmission are mounted at the front of the vehicle and send power to the front wheels which then pulls the car forward.

Advantages: Front-wheel drive cars often have better traction than rear-wheel drive cars. This is due to the weight distribution of the vehicle. Another advantage of FWD cars is that they have more room. The engine doesn’t extend into the interior compartment space and there isn’t a hump down the middle to connect the engine and rear wheels like with RWD. FWD cars also have better fuel economy and their compact design means they can be made smaller.

Disadvantages: FWD cars often don’t take corners as well as rear-wheel drive cars. The weight on the front axle can lead to feeling like your car is not responding well to steering and having delays in response to inputs. You might also run into the problem of torque steer. You might also that you have to take wider turns. However, modern traction control features can help mitigate these issues.

close up of car driving through thick snow
close up of rear wheels of sports car

Rear-Wheel Drive: Advantages and Disadvantages

For rear-wheel drive, the power is transferred from the engine to the rear wheels. The engine is often mounted in the front, but some vehicles have the engine in the middle or rear, typically sports cars.

Advantages: Each set of wheels has their own task; the front wheels steer and rear wheels provide power. This means that the stress on each set is equal. RWD cars also tow better because the trailer weight provides more traction for the rear tires. RWD can have larger engines and the engine can be placed anywhere because the weight won’t burden the front wheels.

Disadvantages: While RWD have many advantages, the mediocre traction is a major drawback especially when it snows or rains. This can also lead to difficulty when driving up steep hills or maintaining control on unpaved roads. RWD systems also cost more to make which means a higher price tag on the lot. Also, fuel-efficient vehicles don’t have the power to make driving techniques possible with RWD.

Read more: How Can I Safely Drive in Snow and Ice?

Learn more about cars with Stop 23 Auto Sales

So which one is better? That is up to what you prefer personally. If you are interested in learning more about cars, keep reading the Stop 23 Auto Sales blog. We like to share all of our automotive knowledge with our customers.