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Front Wheel Drive VS. AWD What is the Difference

What is the difference between front wheel drive and all wheel drive?

When you are looking for a new car, one of the decisions you have to make is whether to get a front wheel drive (FWD) or all wheel drive (AWD) vehicle. Both options have their pros and cons, so which one should you choose? Here is a look at the pros and cons of each option:

How Do Front Wheel Drives Cars Work

Front wheel drive cars are powered by the front wheels, while the back wheels simply rotate and provide traction. This is different from rear wheel drive cars, which are powered by the back wheels. Front wheel drive cars are more stable and easier to control than rear wheel drive cars, making them a popular choice for many drivers.

Another way to explain it would be to say that a front wheel drive vehicle transfers power from the engine to the front wheels, while a rear wheel drive vehicle transfers power from the engine to the back wheels.

What are the pros of front wheel drive vehicles

  • Front wheel drive vehicles are better for fuel economy because only the front wheels are used to power the car. This means that less power is needed, and you will save on gas money.

  • Rear wheel drive vehicles are better for getting through tough terrain and handling curves. The weight of the engine is at the back of the car, which gives it more stability when driving on winding roads or in slippery conditions.

What are the cons of front wheel drive vehicles

Front wheel drive vehicles can sometimes be less stable than all wheel drive vehicles, especially when cornering or braking. This is because the weight of the engine is pushing down on the front wheels, which can cause them to lose traction. Additionally, front wheel drive vehicles can be more difficult to control in icy or snowy conditions.

How does all wheel drive work?

All wheel drive is a system that sends power to all four wheels of a vehicle. This can help improve traction and handling in slippery or challenging conditions. AWD systems vary in complexity, with some relying on sensors to detect when the car needs more traction and distributing power accordingly. Others use a center differential to split the power between the front and rear wheels.

Regardless of the system in use, all wheel drive can provide a safer and more sure-footed driving experience. If you're looking for a car that can handle any condition, consider an all wheel drive model.

What are the pros of all wheel drive vehicles

All wheel drive vehicles are better in slippery conditions because all four wheels are used to power the car. This gives you more traction and prevents you from slipping and sliding. If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, an AWD car is a better option. They also provide more stability and control than FWD cars when driving on slick surfaces.

What are the con's of an all wheel drive car?

All wheel drive cars can be more expensive than front wheel drive cars. They also require more maintenance, as all of the components need to be working properly in order to distribute power evenly. AWD cars can also be less fuel-efficient than FWD cars, and they take up more space on the road.

So Which Type Of Car Car Should I Get?

That’s a question that can only be answered by you. Consider the pros and cons of both front wheel drive and all wheel drive vehicles to see which option would be best for your needs. If you live in an area with lots of icy or snowy conditions, an all wheel drive vehicle might be a better option. But if you live in a warmer climate and don’t need the extra traction, a front wheel drive vehicle could be a better choice. Ultimately, the decision is up to you!

Compare Costs Buy New Car vs. Used

Buying used can save you thousands upfront and over cycles of ownership, but buying new has other advantages.

While buying new cars is enticing, you should take a cold, hard look at how much you could save over time by buying used cars instead.

The average person owns 13 cars in a lifetime, each costing an average of $30,000, according to a report by the National Automobile Dealers Association. If each of those cars was 3 years old, instead of new, you could save nearly $130,000 during your lifetime.

The real money-saver in buying a used car is wrapped up in a sinister-sounding financial word: depreciation.

Car buying’s dirty little secret

Once you fully understand how car depreciation sucks money out of your wallet, you’ll learn how to save boatloads of cash over your lifetime. You often hear that a car loses 20% of its value as soon as you buy it. Yes, in just one minute, a $30,000 car will lose $6,000 as you gleefully drive off. By the end of the first year, mileage and wear and tear could bring that to 30%, or $9,000. Why don’t you feel this big hit? Because it takes effect much later, when you sell or trade in your car.

Take a look at two similar cars, one new and one used.

New-car depreciation: You buy the car for $30,000 and sell it three years later for $15,000. The car has cost you $15,000 in depreciation.

used-car depreciation: Now let’s say you buy the same car, but it's 3 years old when you buy it. You could buy the car for $15,000. Three years later you could sell it for $10,000. So the used car depreciation cost you only $5,000.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you would quickly say, “But driving a brand new car is much better!” You’re absolutely right. So, if driving a new car is worth an extra $10,000 to you, go for it. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Forget the old used-car stigmas

It used to be common for people to put down used cars by saying that it was just a way to buy someone else’s problems. That’s not true anymore. Here are two updates on old knocks against used cars of recent vintage.

Reliability: Cars have never been more dependable than they are today. It’s not uncommon for some cars to deliver more than 100,000 miles before needing major repairs.

Maintenance: All cars require regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation, brake jobs. But you can drive today’s cars much farther in between these scheduled maintenance visits. Even tires and brake pads last much longer than before.

More used-car advantages

So it’s pretty clear that buying a used car is much cheaper and that cars in general are more dependable. But take a look at these other advantages:

Lower car insurance rates: When a vehicle is worth less, it costs less to insure it when you're buying collision and comprehensive coverage. You can also drop collision and comprehensive coverage, which pay for repairs to your car, and save even more.

Registry renewals are cheaper: The cost of registering a used car goes down every year.

Move up to a luxury car: Because you can save 30% or more, you can shop in a higher class of cars.

Less stress: Got a ding in the door? Who cares? But when it’s the first dent in your new car, it’s a huge bummer.

New-car advantages

While nearly everything about used cars costs less, buying a new car has its advantages.

New-car shopping is easier: All new cars are assumed to be perfect, so evaluating the condition isn’t a factor. No need to take it to a mechanic. Also, it’s easier to figure out what you should pay for a new car, even if the negotiation process is still a pain.

More used-car options: Automakers offer plenty of incentives to lure buyers, such as cash rebates. New car loans have better interest rates. This means you'll likely pay thousands of dollars less than the frightening sticker price once you negotiate a final price and apply the incentives.

Advanced technology: New features for comfort, performance and safety are introduced in new cars every year. You’ll need to wait several years to get them in used cars.

Peace of mind: A new car will likely be more reliable than a used one, even though pre-owned cars are much more dependable than in the past. If a new car breaks down, you can have it fixed for free under the included factory warranty, at least for the first 36,000 miles or three years that most carmakers offer.

Prestige: Let’s put it this way: You don’t hear many people bragging about the used car they just bought.

An exception to the rule

Not all cars depreciate at the same rate. Some brands are known for holding their value exceptionally well. When you add in possible new-car incentives and low-interest used-car, there are times when buying a new car doesn’t cost much more than buying a 1- or 2-year-old car.

You can find how much cars depreciate on several automotive websites, such as Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own or Consumer Reports’ Cost of Vehicle Ownership.

What it means for you

Depreciation is a silent killer to your automotive budget. But by buying cars that hold their value, you can minimize the effects. If you’re still on the fence, use a car loan calculator to see how much less your monthly payment would be if you bought used instead of new.

Article Originally published on Nerdwallet.comBy Philip Reed
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