Does Four-Wheel Drive Give You An Advantage In The Snow?
What You Need to Know About Four-Wheel Drive
Auto makers tout their four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles as the ultimate solution to driving in snowy weather conditions. But do they really do the job? Do you need to sell your two-wheel drive vehicle and buy a four-wheel drive vehicle in order to assure your maneuverability and traction in the snow?
The Pros And Cons Of Four-Wheel Drive
If you get your vehicle stuck (in mud or snow, for example), having four-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive, which is the designation for vehicles that have four-wheel drive that is always on or that comes on automatically when the vehicle's computer senses adverse traction conditions, instead of being a manual option) can make it significantly easier to get free.
Ideally, only one or two wheels are actually stuck and spinning uselessly; being able to kick the additional two wheels into drive can mean the difference between a quick escape and needing to call a tow truck. And if you are simply traveling along a snowy road, being able to kick your vehicle into four-wheel drive may mean that you never get stuck in the first place!
If it can be that useful, why isn't four-wheel drive available on all vehicles? First of all, being in four-wheel drive can damage your vehicle's drive train if used excessively or at high speeds. In addition, the mechanisms for putting a vehicle into four-wheel drive are heavy and can significantly reduce fuel economy. For this reason, it is not always a sensible feature.
What Are The Alternatives?
If you own a two-wheel drive vehicle and do not want to upgrade to a four-wheel drive vehicle, consider putting tires specifically designed for traction in the snow on your drive wheels (or all four, if you can afford it).
These tires may afford even more maneuverability and traction than four-wheel drive with standard tires, making them an ideal alternative for proud owners of two-wheel drive vehicles!