When buying a 4-wheel drive, there are many things you should consider to help you find the one best suited to your needs. We outline the essential things to consider when buying a 4-wheel drive.
One of the most important factors is the size. Some smaller 4-wheel drives can perform even better than larger ones. Smaller 4-wheel drives have short rear overhangs, steep approach angles and more open space underneath.
Consider the mass or weight of the 4x4 before you buy it. It is better to go for a lighter car than a heavier one. The reason for this is that the lighter car uses less power and has better traction and flotation.
Take a look at the wheelbase. The shorter your wheelbase, the better your performance, balance, clearance and your ability to approach angles. This stability can be easily attained when your wheelbase is between 2,200-2,600 millimeters.
Is it modifiable?
Have a look at how easily modifiable a car is. The build of some cars allows them to be modified more easily than others. Some vehicles with too advanced features can pose problems when it comes to modifying.
There are many things you will want to carry out in a four-wheel drive, including lifting the rig, increasing its traction, changing its tyres and gears, and installing new parts. Look at the products available for your potential mod project from a four-wheel-drive hardware catalogue or spare parts shop.
Are spare parts easy to get?
Check on spare part availability and choose a car for which finding spare parts is easy and don’t need to be imported from overseas. If your options are limited, you will be forced to depend on one-off custom auto parts which are costly and are void of engineering and market testing from car experts.
What's the limit that your car can carry?
Before buying the 4-wheel drive, find out the weight limit of what it can carry. Some people buy cars with low luggage load capability and then overload them. This can affect the efficiency and performance of the 4-wheel drive. If you are someone who carries tons of luggage, then get a car with higher traction abilities because driving an overloaded vehicle can cause it to sink on soft ground.
4-wheel drive shocks
Always opt for shocks that can be modified. Know when and when not to use a particular shock so that you don’t damage your car. These changes have to be made depending on how fast you are driving. For example, slow and steady rock requires a softer setting and stretch. Plus if your 4-wheel drive is armed with a soft-sprung coiler, a firmer setting can reduce the off-camber sway.
Find out about the sway bars and the limitations for your 4-wheel drive, so you know when and where not to let them active. If you dive on sidehills, then you will need the balance of a modifiable anti-sway bar system.
Get to know the engine of your four wheels perfectly so you do not do more than what it can handle. Make note that 4-wheel drive engines need clean air filters and active cooling systems.
Driving in snow and on ice
4 x 4 wheel drives are challenging to drive in snow and ice as the traction of the wheel needs greater control. So if the roads you mostly drive on are icy or snowy, then avoid using a 4x4-wheel drive because this can be quite dangerous.
Expenses related to 4WD
One of the main disadvantages of 4WD is that they are quite expensive when it comes to purchasing price, cost of maintenance, and fuel. The additional apparatus (differentials, transfer case, and others) increases the intricacy and adds weight to the vehicle. This expands its initial market value, tyre wear, and the cost of repairs and maintenance.
The extra power and weight of 4WD systems need more fuel, making them less fuel-effective than their 2WD counterparts.
Extra weight increases traction and control, but the disadvantage is that it also increases the braking distance required to make a complete stop. Lighter vehicles can avoid collision easier than heavier vehicles.