Topic: How Does 4 Wheel Drive Work?
Previous TopicNext TopicHelp Related PagesScreen 1 of this topicScreen 2 of this topicScreen 3 of this topic
Let's start with a basic diagram that shows how your car goes along. The diagram at the top shows a 2wd drive vehicle with the front to the right (turned wheels). In all 2wd vehicles, the engine (black rectangle) is bolted directly to the transmission (red rectangle) and the transmission is connected a a drive shaft (green) which turns the differential (red) and axles (yellow) which in turn turns the wheels.

In 2 wheel drive vehicles with the drive wheels in the rear, the vehicle will want to go straight even if you turn the wheels on slippery surfaces. This is why many prefer a front wheel drive vehicle that has only 2 wheel drive. The front wheels, when turned, will at least pull you in the direction of the turn.

The middle diagram shows a 4wd vehicle. It has the added component of a transfer case (blue) which connects another drive shaft (green) to the front differential and axles to drive the front wheels. So, 4 wheel drive has all these parts underneath to drive both the front and rear wheels. With 4wd, not only are the rear wheels pushing the vehicle along (blue arrows) but the front wheels are pulling the vehicle as well (red arrows). Turns on slippery surfaces are much more certain because the power to the front wheels will pull the vehicle in the direction of the turn.

The 4x4 in the bottom photograph would never make it up the snowy hill if it did not have the front wheels pulling.

The transfer case transfers power to the front wheels. When you take your SUV out of 4wd, the transfer case is disengaged and the front drive shaft, differential, and axles do not turn (in most SUV's).

Press the (Next Topic) button above to continue on this topic.
See related information at
Rate Our Web Site
Follow These Tracks - Guides
Test Your SUV Driving Skills Here
Copyright© 2003 - SUV One, Inc. - Copyright, Trademark, Privacy, and Liability Information.
Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the SUV One, Inc. Terms of Use policy.

SUV One, Inc. ("SUV ONE") maintains this site for your personal entertainment, information, education, and communication. Your use of, and browsing in the Site, either for your own use or for the education of others, are at your own risk. Neither SUV ONE nor any other party involved in creating, producing, or delivering the Site is liable for any direct, incidental, consequential, indirect, or punitive damages arising out of your access to, or use of, the Site or any information contained therein.