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All wheel drive explained

Why is it important to know how your all wheel drive works? First, it may appear that your all wheel drive system is not meant to be used on-road. For example, part-time all wheel drive cannot be used in non-slippery conditions - you'll have to drive this car in rear-wheel drive mode, even when it is raining or snowing - in the weather conditions where all wheel drive might be needed. Second, depending on the type o all wheel drive, your car behaves di erently when driving and cornering in slippery conditions. !ou might want to know what to expect. "on't get con used by the abbreviations the manu acturers use# $%W"$ is not necessary a ull-time all wheel drive, $&W"$ is not 'ust or o -road vehicles. (here is a do)en o brands the car manu acturers are using to distinguish their our-wheel drive vehicles - $*uattro$, $&motion$, and so on. +one o these actually represent the type o all wheel drive system used on the particular vehicle. ,n act, 'ust our types o all wheel drive systems exist#

-art-time all wheel drive Full-time all wheel drive %utomatic all wheel drive Selectable all wheel drive

+ote# .n this web site, when we describe details o the all wheel drive system used on a particular vehicle, we use the de initions that are listed here. Part-time all wheel drive (his is a $temporary$ all wheel drive system. ,n normal driving conditions, 'ust one axle /the rear axle normally0 is driven. ,n slippery conditions, another axle is engaged by the driver, whether by a lever or a button. (his type o all wheel drive does not have a center di erential - when all wheel drive is engaged, the ront and rear drivesha ts are mechanically connected and rotate at the same speed. When a vehicle is turning, the ront wheels travel greater distance than the rear wheels. 1ecause the part-time all wheel drive system does not have a center di erential, the ront wheels cannot go aster than the rear wheels. (his type o all wheel drive cannot be used on pavement. (urning on pavement /even on a wet pavement0 with all wheel drive engaged causes transmission windup and increases the chances o the transmission breakdown. When all wheel drive is engaged, the vehicle heavily understeers and this can lead to an accident. (he all wheel drive mode shoud only be used on sur aces with low traction /mud, snow, ice, sand0, or short periods, and at low speeds. ,n these conditions the transmission windup is eliminated by slipping o the wheels. +ote# $-art-time &wd$ mode o the 2eep 3herokee's Selec(rac transmission means $locking o center di erential$. 2eep's Selec(rac is a selectable all wheel drive system.

Full-time all wheel drive (his is a permanent all wheel drive or permanently engaged all wheel drive system. %ll wheels are powered at all times. (he vehicles with ull-time all wheel drive are e*uipped with a center di erential that lets all wheels travel di erent distances while turning. (his type o all wheel drive can be used both on and o road. ,n slippery conditions, the center di erential can be locked, whether manually or automatically, depending on the vehicle. When a manual center di erential lock /available on o -road vehicles and some S45s0 is engaged, the transmission's behavior is similar to part-time all wheel drive, i.e. the ront and rear drivesha ts rotate at the same speed. (he use o ull-time all wheel drive with locked center di erential is limited to sur aces with low traction. ,n case o an automatic lock, a (orsen di erential, viscous coupling, multi-plate hydraulic clutch, or similar traction device is used in con'unction with the center di erential. When a wheel slip occurs /one drivesha t rotates aster than the other0 the device locks the center di erential and the tor*ue is trans erred rom the axle that slips to the other axle that has traction. %s soon as the wheel slip is eliminated, the device unlocks. Some vehicles /6and 7over "iscovery ,,, pre-x"rive 18W 9:0 do not have a locking center di erential, but are e*uipped with an electronic traction control system /known as ;lectronic "i erential 6ock - ;"60 on all our wheels. (his electronic system detects slipping wheels by reading %1S sensors, then it applies brakes to the slipping wheels and the tor*ue gets trans erred to the wheels that have traction. While it per orms well on slippery roads, the system cannot compete with a real mechanically locking di erential when driving o -road. Automatic all wheel drive (his is an $on-demand$ all wheel drive system. 4nder normal driving conditions, only one axle is powered. When wheel slipping occurs /the driving drivesha t rotates aster than the driven drivesha t0, a multiplate hydraulic clutch, viscous coupling, or other similar traction device locks and engages another axle. (he tor*ue gets trans erred to another axle. %s soon as the di erence in the ront and rear axle speeds is eliminated, the device unlocks and the vehicle goes back to the two-wheel drive mode. (he di erence between the traction devices that are used in ull-time all wheel drive and automatic all wheel drive systems is that the device used in automatic all wheel drive system replaces the center di erential. %dvanced electronically controlled all wheel drive systems can be pro-active and lock the traction device even be ore wheels start to slip - the need o all wheel drive is determined in real-time, based on the in ormation that is collected rom di erent sensors /i.e. g- orce sensor, accelerator pedal position, etc.0. Some vehicles let the driver to lock the multiplate hydraulic clutch manually when the driver eels that he needs all wheel drive engaged permanently and be ore wheels start to slip. For example, in +issan 9-

(rail, this is accomplished by pressing a button on the dashboard console. ,n Subaru 6egacy, the clutch is locked when the automatic transmission gear shi t lever is at the position $<$. Selectable all wheel drive ,n this category all 8itsubishi -a'ero/8ontero0 with its Super Select transmission, 2eep =rand 3herokee with Selec(rac transmission, and a ew other o -road vehicles. 8itsubishi, or example, has in act a ull-time all wheel drive transmission with two wheel drive possibility. ,n 8itsubishi, the driver can choose between the >wd mode, &wd mode with automatic distribution o tor*ue via viscous coupling /acts like the ull-time all wheel drive 0, &wd with locked di erential /acts like the part-time all wheel drive0 and &wd with low gearing /low range part-time all wheel drive0. ?

BMW's xDrive all wheel drive system

-ro-active automatic all wheel drive system. (he rear wheels are powered at all times. (or*ue can be trans erred to the ront wheels via electronically controlled multi plate clutch that is located in the trans er case. 9"rive does not have a center di erential. 8ost o the time, the clutch is partially locked and power is trans erred to both axles in proportion &@AB@ ront to rear. (he power distribution can be altered to continuously variable levels / rom :@A:@ to @A<@@0. For example, when driving at high speed, or when parking, the clutch is disengaged and all power goes to the rear wheels. 9"rive is linked to "S3 /"ynamic Stability 3ontrol0 - when the vehicle understeers, the clutch is disengaged thus trans erring more tor*ue to the rear wheels /@A<@@ tor*ue split0. When oversteering is detected, the clutch locks ully trans erring more power to the ront wheels /:@A:@ tor*ue split0. "S3 /"ynamic Stability 3ontrol0 also brakes wheels individually to regain traction and to help cornering. 9"rive intervenes be ore the car becomes unstable and is unnoticeable by the driver.

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