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What You Need to Know About 4x4 4WD Cars

CarPart  ·  November 9, 2021

What You Need to Know About 4x4 4WD Cars

Gone were the days when 4WD cars were exclusive to military vehicles and serious off-roaders. Today, you’ll find this option even in hatches and sedans.

If you’re in the market for a 4-wheel drive, make sure that you choose one that’s best suited to your personality and purpose. In case you didn’t know, not all 4-wheel drives are created equal. In other words, the best 4x4 for other people may not be the best kind for you.

In this article, we’ll outline the factors you need to consider when buying a 4x4 and the questions you need to ask and find the answers for.

Factors to Consider Before Buying 4x4 Vehicles 

#1 Size         

You don’t need to choose the biggest 4x4 vehicle because some smaller 4-wheel drives can perform even better than larger ones. Smaller 4WD cars have short rear overhangs, steep approach angles, and more open space underneath.

#2 Weight

Compare weights between 4x4 models. It is better to go for a lighter car than one that’s heavier. A lighter car uses less power and has better traction and flotation. 

#3 Wheelbase

Buy a 4WD car with a shorter wheelbase because it will have better performance, balance, clearance, and ability to approach slopes. For optimal stability, your wheelbase should be between 2,200mm and 2,600mm. 

Questions to Ask When Buying the Best 4x4 for You

#1 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. 

#2 Are spare parts easy to get?

Find out the availability of spare parts for the car you’re interested in. Only buy a 4WD car if its parts don’t need to be imported from overseas. Buying 4x4 cars with parts that are difficult to find will leave you with no other option but one-off custom parts. These auto parts are costly and are void of engineering and market testing from car experts. 

#3 What's the limit that your car can carry?

Before buying a 4-wheel drive, find out the maximum weight 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 high weight capacity. It also makes sense to choose one with higher traction abilities because driving an overloaded vehicle can cause it to sink on soft ground. 

Other Things You Need to Know about 4-Wheel Drives

#1 Modifiable 4WD 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 unnecessarily. 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. 

#2 Sway bars

Find out about the sway bars and the limitations for your 4-wheel drive. If you drive on sidehills, then you will need the balance of a modifiable anti-sway bar system. 

#3 Engine

Get to know the engine of your 4x4 so you don’t do more than what it can handle. Make note that 4-wheel drive engines need clean air filters and active cooling systems. 

#4 Driving in snow and on ice

4x4 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.

#5 Expenses related to 4WD

One of the main disadvantages of 4WD is that they are quite expensive when it comes to their upfront price, cost of maintenance, and fuel. Other parts, like differentials and transfer case, increase the intricacy and add weight to the vehicle. This increases its initial market value, tyre wear, and 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.

We hope this article has helped you understand 4WD vehicles better. Are you wondering which is better AWD or 4WD? Or maybe which is better 4x4 or 4x2? If so, feel free to browse the article about how AWD, 4WD, FWD and RWD differ from each other.

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