Rear Wheel vs. All Wheel Drive

Rear Wheel vs. All Wheel DriveFor years, just about every vehicle except for Jeeps had rear wheel drive. The reasoning at the time was that the even distribution of weight, with the engine in front and the weight of the drive train and transmission spread evenly through the rest of the chassis, made for better handling. Then, front wheel drive became the new trend with its promise of better traction in bad weather. These cars were a little more economical too as it’s easier to install the engine and drive apparatus in the same place on the car while on the assembly line. Advances to front wheel drive and the popularity of the SUV has brought with it new choices of four wheel (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). But new doesn’t always mean better. So, what are we to think about rear wheel vs. all wheel drive?

The AWD and 4WD options, though an improvement over front wheel drive, is still more suited for off-road driving and a better choice for those living where there is plenty of snow and rainfall. These vehicles will give you better traction, but rear wheel drive may still give better handling. All race cars are still rear wheel drive vehicles.

Maintenance Differences for AWD and RWD

A front wheel drive car may cost you a new axel at some point, as their half-axels are not as sturdy as the axel in a rear wheel drive car. If you opt for all wheel drive you will likely need more fluid changes. With AWD, there are three differentials that need to be checked and maintained. A 4×4 has two differentials opposed to rear wheel drive vehicles that have only one. AWD offers better acceleration than the others in bad weather conditions and offers better towing power, but there are more moving parts that can mean more trips to the mechanic.

Will AWD Affect Performance?

Though they do give you better acceleration in all types of weather, many people who purchase a sport luxury sedan like a Mercedes or BMW 3 series will prefer the rear wheel drive. It offers a lot when you consider this choice is lighter, handles better and is also better with fuel economy.

Whatever you choose, Classic Motorsports has best BMW mechanics to work on any choice you have made. Reach out to us at 425-437-1023 or go online and take advantage of our 25% discount coupon for new customers.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
Mercedes & BMW Repair Experts in Mukilteo & Snohomish County