How to Know if Your Car is All-Wheel Drive
These days, cars come with all kinds of features. However, few are better or more beneficial than all-wheel drive. A car with this feature will automatically engage the front or rear tires as needed whenever your car loses traction.
This can improve both safety and grip in a matter of seconds, helping to protect you and others on the road, especially in harsh weather or on other potentially treacherous terrain. Not sure if your vehicle has this feature? Don’t worry! This handy guide will help you to discover if your vehicle has it, as well as why it’s so important, and what you can do if your car is lacking.
Read All About It
Every car should come equipped with an owner’s manual. If you bought your car new, check in the glove box or in the packet that accompanied your purchase. Used cars may also feature the manual in the glove box. The manual should list all of the features of your vehicle, including all-wheel drive if applicable. If you can’t find the manual, don’t panic. Try to locate it online if you can. Additionally, there are other key giveaways that can let you know if your car has this great feature.
Check the VIN
VIN stands for “Vehicle Identification Number.” Every car has one, and this number can tell you a lot about it, including whether or not it has all-wheel drive. If you’re uncertain about your car’s features, simply locate the VIN by looking inside your door or right in front of the steering wheel. Once you have this number, you can enter it online and find out a wealth of information about your car.
Assess the Axle Shaft
If you don’t mind taking a look under your vehicle, you can easily determine if it has all-wheel drive. Just look for a bar that is attached to both the front and rear axles. If you see one, take it as confirmation that you have all-wheel drive.
Examine Your Engine
Don’t want to crawl under your car? Simply pop the hood and take a look at your engine. If your engine is positioned sideways, the vehicle may have all-wheel drive. Look closely at the drive lines. If they reach all the way to your rear wheels, then congratulations, your vehicle is likely equipped with all-wheel drive.
Check with a Mechanic
While these methods can help you to determine if you have all-wheel drive, they’re not foolproof. If you have an older or used car with modifications, your car’s setup may look a bit different than expected. Plus, there’s always room for human error, particularly if you’re not very experienced with cars. Thus, when in doubt, remember that a mechanic can tell you for certain whether or not you have all-wheel drive, as well as if this feature is functioning correctly.
Why It Matters
So, you may be wondering, what’s so great about all-wheel drive? Is it really necessary for your car? The answer is almost always yes. This important feature provides a range of great benefits, particularly for those who live and/or drive in more dangerous conditions.
Accelerating is something all drivers do, but, under the wrong conditions, it can prove dangerous. All-wheel drive reduces that danger greatly. It allows your car to have a firmer grip on the road by increasing traction and control. This makes you less likely to slip, skid, or slide, which protects you, your vehicle, and other drivers.
Reduced Risk of Spinning
Spinning is a terrifying experience. Fortunately, all-wheel drive can keep it from happening to you. The torque that all-wheel drive sends to your wheels can reduce the risk of spinning in any conditions, keeping all of your tires firmly on the road where they belong. While you should still practice the safest possible driving at all times, all-wheel drive can offer protection in the event that you take a turn too fast or make another not-so-safe move.
Sometimes, you need to go fast. While you should always accelerate safely, all-wheel drive makes reaching high speeds quickly much easier. Power gets beamed into all four tires, allowing for extra fast acceleration.
For better steering and control, all-wheel drive offers an excellent advantage. The front wheels are able to focus on better steering since the back wheels can more easily do the work of acceleration.
In an all-wheel drive vehicle, you’ll experience improved weight distribution. More weight will be focused toward the back end of the vehicle, which balances out the heavy engine you have upfront. This can make for better handling, as well as a stronger, more balanced, and longer lasting vehicle. In this regard, many drivers feel confident that the “return” is well worth the investment that often comes with choosing an all-wheel drive model.
Better Driving Across All Terrains
While all-wheel drive is primarily beneficial in wet or slippery conditions, it can also be helpful on difficult terrains. Whether you’re traveling on mountain roads or going off-roading, all-wheel drive can assist you in the event that one or more tires temporarily leave the ground. The other tires have incredible power, protecting you and enabling you to maintain traction even under the toughest of conditions.
What If Your Car Doesn’t Have All-Wheel Drive
Obviously, all-wheel drive offers many excellent advantages. But, what can you do if your car doesn’t have it? Well, you always have the option of acquiring a new car. If that’s unattainable for you and your budget, you could sell your current car to try and make up the difference. Another option is to convert your vehicle to all-wheel drive. However, this process can be costly and difficult, which is why most people simply opt for a new vehicle. The choice is one that you must make for yourself, but it doesn’t hurt to research your options thoroughly.
Is It Worth the Trouble?
Ultimately, only you can decide if all-wheel drive is worth the “hassle” it involves. Sometimes, you might get lucky and have it come standard on a vehicle. More often than not, though, it will be an upgrade that comes with an additional price. If you can afford it, it’s typically a smart investment. If you can’t or if you don’t drive often in rough conditions, it may be something you can skip.
Additionally, you’re the only one who can determine if the feature is important enough to you to get rid of your old car or pay for a transition. However, as you make your decision, be sure to carefully consider the details provided here, as well as the conditions in which you regularly drive. Armed with this kind of thought and consideration, you should be able to make the right decision for you and your needs.