Winter Driving in Janesville and Milton WI
January 7, 2016
What’s the ideal type of vehicle for winter-weather driving in the Janesville and Milton area? Or overall driving? Here is some useful information to consider when determining which type of system will suit you best.
Four wheel drive (4 WD)
This set-up is usually found in SUVs and pick-ups trucks. Most 4WD systems function only on the rear wheels until the driver or automatic computerized system appoints it to the front axles. When 4WD is engaged, the front wheels get half of the engine’s output and the rear wheels get the other half. Four wheel drive truck systems are designed for driving at a low speed in heavy snow or off-road driving.
A 4WD truck set-up is ideal for unplowed roads with deep snow or mud, off-road travel or uneven surfaces. The low gearing capacity allows the driver to get up any steep terrain and trudge through heavy snow or mud. This is a great system for drivers who live in rural regions that frequently contend with unplowed or rough surfaces.
Truck-type 4WD vehicles usually run in 2WD with only the back wheels getting engine power. This system provides less grip than a front wheel drive car which pulls the wheels instead of pushing the vehicle. Another reason for less traction is that the weight of the engine and transmission is placed on top of the wheel drive. Also, 4WD set up is not created for fast speed on paved roads. Four wheel handling on dry roads actually puts excessive wear on 4WD parts.
Lastly, this system reduces fuel efficiency due to a couple hundred pounds of extra weight. If you only need to use 4WD on rare occasions you’ll be wasting money for driving around with that dead weight.
Buy a 4WD:
- If you travel in major off-road conditions, such unpaved gravel or dirt roads.
- If you live where winters are severe and you will regularly drive through unplowed areas of deep snow.
All wheel drive (AWD)
This set-up sends engine power to all four, or individual wheels, as needed to ensure traction. Today AWD is available on many passenger automobiles and light duty crossovers.
AWD provides optimal all-season traction on snowy roads in winter and improved performance on dry or wet paved roads all year long. The system is designed for travel on smooth surfaces as well as snow, dirt or unpaved gravel. These vehicles perform superbly on dry paved roads with a superior capacity for winter and rainy weather also. With AWD no additional involvement of the driver is required. Engine power is automatically routed in various increments to get the best traction.
AWD has no low range gearing and is not built for off-road driving. It increases the purchase cost of the vehicle by as much as a few thousand dollars. In most models AWD adds substantial weight to the vehicle, which reduces fuel efficiency.
Buy an AWD:
Front wheel drive (FWD)
Most passenger cars SUV crossovers are equipped with FWD today.
Front wheel drive automobiles are actually pretty efficient in snow because the engine weight is placed on top of the driven wheels. It is much easier to operate in snow than rear wheel drive. You can purchase a good set of snow tires and travel safely unless there is an exceptional amount of snow. If you have enough ground clearance you won’t get stuck. A FWD system is more economical to buy as well as operate. You won’t have to pay for the extra gas from hauling around equipment you rarely use.
FWD cars carry more weight in the front, a design which restricts handling and performance. Front wheel drive automobiles are built with economy in mind and aren’t ideal for high speed operation.
Buy a FWD
- If your main goal is to simply get from one place to the other and you want fairly good traction when there is occasional snow on the road.
At CTR Automotive Services, we can help you decide on the particular system that will be most beneficial for our Janesville area residents. We service new, used and custom classic vehicles with 4WD, FWD and AWD systems. Call us today at 608-373-9750 to schedule an appointment.