Do 4WD Autos Need More Maintenance Than 2WD Autos?

Sun Auto Service Expert, published on 09/11/2015

Do 4WD need more maintenance than 2WD autos? This is an excellent question to explore prior to purchasing one or the other. If you’re in the market for a new car, you’ve probably run across the fact that some are 2WD (2 wheel drive), some are 4WD (4 wheel drive) and others are AWD (all-wheel drive). When it comes to the maintenance of these types of cars, it’s essential to understand the basic requirements of each system.

Fundamental Maintenance Differences

One reason people buy a 4WD vehicle is for extra traction and security. However, many drivers don't realize the constraints and limitations. For instance, having additional power distributed to all four wheels enhances straight-line traction, but it does nothing to correct braking or cornering.

As you contemplate your next auto purchase, carefully consider the drivetrain and the power of a 2WD car. Likewise, you may not want to accept the sometimes mediocre gas mileage found in a 4WD vehicle if you don't need the added traction. As an investment, it’s important to consider that 4WDs tend to have a higher resale value than their 2WD counterparts. However, as the popularity of 4WD vehicles rise, it’s important to know that they can require different types of maintenance, such as:

  • Front differentials
  • Rear differentials
  • Locking hubs
  • Self-leveling systems

4WD cars have a transfer case, and the maintenance of the transfer case is the same as on a standard transmission. It’s great to know that besides the serious off-road buffs, many drivers won't ever need the capability that 4WD systems provide over 2WD systems.

Making a Choice

Is it possible to drive in rough weather without a 4WD drive auto? With a good set of tires and advanced traction control systems, experienced drivers should have no trouble steering most 2WD cars with mild road conditions through snow. Although, 2WD cars are often suggested for mild climates with little rain or snow. Most drivers won't notice the difference between 4WD and 2WD in mild climates. A 4WD system adds weight and complexity, resulting in increased tire wear, decreased gas mileage and more maintenance. The general rule is that 2WD is better for everyday performance, and in normal weather, while 4WD offers improved harsh-weather driving.

Keeping You on the Road

Regardless of whether your auto is 4WD or 2WD, Sun Auto Service provides maintenance services for both types to offer peace of mind for all of our customers. We handle everything from a simple oil change to a complete transmission replacement. Our ASE certified technicians are ready to help.