4-Wheel Drive (4x4) Vehicles: Advantages for Winter Driving

Drivers throughout Painesville and Cleveland may find themselves wondering about the benefits of four-wheel drive models, and how they compare to all-wheel drive models when driving in the winter months. While understanding the difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive and the intricacies of different four-wheel drive systems requires some mechanical explanation, ultimately, drivers will find that four-wheel drive vehicles out-perform any other drivetrain configuration available during winter driving conditions.

With most Jeep SUVs and Ram trucks equipped with a form of four-wheel drive, drivers shopping for a vehicle capable of tackling perilous road conditions with confidence will likely want to choose a model fitted with a four-wheel drive system best suited to their needs.

What Is 4-Wheel Drive?

While seemingly straightforward, the term "four-wheel drive" is incorrectly used interchangeably with "all-wheel drive", due to the difficult nature of explaining the mechanics behind the systems. Four-wheel drive models feature two solid axles, each with its own differential, and a transfer case sending power from the engine (when engaged) to both axles equally.

Most four-wheel drive models have "open" differentials, which allow the two wheels on each axle to travel at different rates to allow for smooth turning. However, due to the nature of open differentials, this means that when one of the two wheels loses traction it receives all the power being sent to that axle.

The benefit of a four-wheel drive system lies in the fact that should one of the two wheels on a single axle lose traction and therefore begin to spin freely, the other axle will still be receiving half of the power from your engine - greatly decreasing your chances of getting (and remaining) stuck!

4-Wheel Drive Vs. All-Wheel Drive

While four-wheel drive models feature a transfer case that splits the engine power 50/50 between the two axles, all-wheel drive models feature a center differential (like the ones on the axles explained above). However, like the axles' differentials, differentials channel power through the path of least resistance - meaning, should one wheel lose traction, 100% of your engine's power will go to that wheel, leaving your vehicle stuck.

While manufacturers mitigate this by using software to split engine power between both axles, this method assumes that each set of wheels has the same amount of traction - which, if you're already stuck, doesn't exactly help much...

Four-wheel drive models also utilize "differential lockers" to mitigate loss of power between wheels - meaning, even if one wheel loses traction on each axle, all four wheels will move in tandem to ensure you remain moving forward regardless of what's in your path.

Trucks and SUVs: Ideal For Winter Driving

Jeep models like the Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Compass all feature four-wheel drive systems that vary in complexity and capability - culminating in the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon's advanced Rock-Trac® 4x4 system that even includes electronic differential lockers. The Ram 1500 lineup also features 4x4 systems, and even a rear differential locker on the Rebel trim for additional control and capability when driving throughout Mayfield Heights, Cleveland and Willoughby.

Find Your Jeep or Ram 4x4 at Ganley Village Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT

When searching for a Jeep or Ram 4x4-equipped model for confidence when driving throughout Chardon and Mentor in the winter, look no further than the selection offered at Ganley Village Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Comprehensively curated to satisfy any budget, preference and lifestyle, our selection of four-wheel drive models outstrips the competition. Stop by our dealership to learn more about the benefits of four-wheel drive, or give us a call to schedule a test drive!

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