What does 4WD mean?

Giulia Nigrini
Giulia Nigrini
Vehicle Service Contract Specialist, Traveler, Car Enthusiast
October 25, 2021
min. read
off road vehicle outdoors next to a fire

Modern vehicles are typically 2WD, two-wheel drive, or 4WD, four-wheel drive. Just as the name suggests, 2WD vehicles are propelled by two wheels which can be the rear or the front wheels. While 4WD vehicles are propelled by all four wheels of the car. That is a summarized version of the answer, now let’s jump into the finer details of 4WD.

The Difference Between All-Wheel Drive and 4X4

It is good to note that you may also come across the term all-wheel drive which is used differently from 4X4. 4X4 vehicles generally refer to cars with off-road capabilities while all-wheel drive cars simply have power distributed to all the wheels. Many supercars use this type of engineering for better handling on the road. Thus, cars in this category are four-wheel-drive vehicles as power is distributed to all four wheels. Slightly different terms are then applied to the particular capabilities of the vehicle.

Four-Wheel Drives Modes

With the range of cars out there you can expect to see trucks, hatchbacks, SUVs, vans, and so on just driving around the neighborhood. Each of these cars with different kinds of transmissions and suspension systems contributes to the specific capabilities of that car. When it comes to cars that have a 4WD drive you have the option of choosing one that will have the modes that will best suit your driving style and needs. Let’s take a look at the two main options:

Off-Road Cars

Car owners that want to go off-road on a regular basis, whether very frequent or not, have considerable options in terms of vehicle choices. If you are more interested in the occasional camping trip or simply want to be able to visit your obscure uncle in the woods once in a while then a car offering part-time mode 4WD is probably a good option. While someone who lives out in the country or spends most of their off time in an off-road a car with a full-time mode for 4WD is the better option.

Vehicles capable of off-roading in extreme terrain tend to be heavy on the gas and so would not be economical if you are looking for something a little more part-time or that doesn’t need to handle rough terrain. Take time to understand the capabilities of the cars you are interested in and compare that to what your needs are, this way you could narrow down your selection as well. The four-wheel mode options of a car could sway you and you will still have the option of some modifications while keeping insurance and car warranties open to you.

On-Road Cars: Specifically Racing Cars

When you think of a 4WD vehicle one tends to think about the capabilities mentioned above. Going off-road onto rough terrain. What it truly means is that power is distributed to all four wheels as we discussed earlier.

This technology started to build its reputation in racing in 1903. It took a while to get the right combination to give us cars that handle so well and stick to the road as they consume the track. True for rally vehicles too. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a light vehicle which you kind of need for racing. Ultimately car designers have come to the point where they are able to create cars with this incredible system for distributing and managing the power to each wheel while being light and agile.

What Extended Auto Protection Options are there for 4WD Cars?

All plans are offered on two main tiers which is a powertrain plan or the most comprehensive plan. Powertrain plans are the most basic of vehicle protection options and ensure that all of the components within your 4WD car’s powertrain will be covered. These parts include:

Most comprehensive plans cover the same parts plus parts such as navigation systems, power seats, onboard computers, and other electronics. These plans are also referred to as exclusionary plans as they have fewer parts that are not covered than those that are covered. Components that are NOT included in are:

A comprehensive plan is a good option for someone who is an off-road enthusiast as suspension and steering are often included under the covered parts for those high-tier plans.

Are Benefits Included in 4WD Extended Car Protection Plans?

That is a definite yes. Depending on your selection you will have access to added benefits that will help you in case you are stuck on the side of the road or in a town away from home. Some added benefits that come with the extended auto protection to some degree include the following:

Is an Extended Auto Protection Plan Right for Me?

Sometimes we just do not have the money at the time of a mechanical breakdown to cover the repairs needed. A vehicle protection plan is designed to give you peace of mind and to alleviate the stress of inevitable car repairs. So if you do not have the possibility to keep upwards of $1,000 set aside for unforeseen car repairs, I would certainly suggest investing in an extended warranty. Particularly if you are driving a vehicle that has capabilities of going off-road and you plan to use it as such. Repairs on these kinds of vehicles can be higher than your average city driver.

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