A lot of folks swear by their All Wheel Drive (AWD) cars. Especially during inclement months, the security of AWD is impossible to ignore. In fact, many car owners wouldn’t consider any other kind of drivetrain. But, AWD cars are a different breed of car. Because of the way the drivetrain works, maintenance and care can be very different from ordinary Front Wheel Drive (FWD) or Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) cars. The folks at the Lynch Family of Dealerships gave us a few things to keep in mind.
Get the right rubber
With most AWD cars, you can’t mix tires. The AWD sensing systems do odd things when one tire is a standard tire and another is a snow tire. You need to have a complete set of one type of tire on your car in order for the AWD system to work properly. What many people do is have a set of winter tires and a second set of summer tires that they swap between seasons.
Keep it in proportion
In AWD Cars, all four tires need to always have the same rolling circumference. In other words, the wear on all four tires needs to be about the same for the system to work properly. What this means is that you can’t buy a new set of front tires for your AWD car and leave the old rears on. On many AWD cars, its best to change all four. If in doubt, check your owners manual.
The next area to consider is lubrication. Not all AWD systems use the same fluids so it is real important to use what the factory recommends. Just to make things real interesting, there might be four different fluids involved too; a different one for the front differential, the transmission, the transfer case, and the rear differential.
More money involved
AWD cars are much more complex than FWD or RWD cars and with complexity comes more maintenance and more cost. AWD cars usually get less gas mileage also. It’s simply a matter of more things moving when the vehicle is being driven. You can minimize this by avoiding unnecessary braking, staying on top of oil and air filter changes, maintaining good tire pressure, and always driving carefully.
No better at braking
What many people don’t understand is that these AWD systems are designed to have great traction in poor weather but they don’t stop any better than any other vehicle when you hit the brakes. Just keep that in mind when you are out when the snow is blowing. When you hit the brakes, your seemingly “invulnerable” AWD is going to slide around just like any other car out there.