If You’re in Auto Technician Training, Learn When All-Wheel Drive is Needed

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Many buyers look for power in their vehicles, in its various incarnations. From suspension settings to horsepower to 0-60 times, car fans love to hear how much of a punch a vehicle can pack. All-wheel drive is one way of upping the stakes, providing power to all four wheels of a car.

However, many drivers are not in need of all-wheel drive in order to get sufficient traction on the road—in particular those in environments where conditions like snow or steep hills aren’t common. Read on to learn more about when all-wheel drive is useful and when it isn’t so you can use this knowledge in your automotive career!

All-Wheel Drive Can Help Some of Your Customers After Auto Mechanic College

There are some conditions where all-wheel drive is very useful, and keeps people much safer on the road, including both the driver of the vehicle and those around them. One situation where this feature comes in handy is in snowy climates. Since snow impedes movement and creates a need for extra force when driving through it, all-wheel drive provides the additional power that can be supplied when traction is increased. Even if there are just a few inches of snow on the ground, it can be tough for cars with two-wheel drive to get through it. This is where all-wheel drive saves the day and keeps drivers moving. Having traction on all four wheels as opposed to just two makes a significant difference.

Snow is a big reason for drivers wanting all-wheel drive on their cars
Snow is a big reason for drivers wanting all-wheel drive on their cars

After auto mechanic college, you may have customers who use their vehicles in unpaved conditions, often for work. Drivers who will be in off-road conditions, like farmers and others working in very rural areas, need vehicles that allow for extra traction as well. When driving through unpaved ground, it’s a common occurrence to encounter mud, puddles or other obstacles like small streams. These things can take traction away from tires, requiring the other tires on the vehicle to have excellent grip in order to pull the vehicle through the obstacle.

Hills and steep inclines also present an opportunity for slipping. Climbing takes traction, and having better traction to apply force with all four wheels makes a massive difference in pulling a car up a hill. If a driver lives in an area with these kinds of slippery, sharp inclines, they will likely benefit from having all-wheel drive.

When Is Two-Wheel Drive Enough for a Vehicle?

In many instances, drivers are fine with two-wheel drive on their cars. Not every environment or lifestyle requires extra traction when getting around. Most of the time, cars that have two-wheel drive will have front wheel drive, where power gets routed to the front two wheels of the vehicle. Climbing hills is easier with front wheel drive, due to the weight of the engine being at the front end of the car. In some cases, rear wheel drive replaces this, which is handy when carrying heavy loads or looking for better handling, but it has less traction in slippery conditions.

Dryer, more temperate climates often don’t call for all-wheel drive on vehicles
Dryer, more temperate climates often don’t call for all-wheel drive on vehicles

A major reason that two-wheel drive suffices is because newer vehicles you will see after auto technician training often have electronic stability control. In fact, Transport Canada requires this feature in passenger vehicles sold since 2012. This technology improves driving by detecting skids, stabilizing the vehicle and straightening it. Traction control limits spinning of wheels in slippery conditions. Anti-lock brakes allow tires to grip better when a vehicle stops on a slippery surface. These measures allow for better traction, which improves conditions enough to make two-wheel drive safe and sufficient in many situations.

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