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Tires for AWD vs 4WD vs FWD vs RWD

4wd-tiresMany people don’t think much about their tires unless they happen to go flat when they are trying to get somewhere. With a bit of forethought, though, you can avoid ending up with that unexpected problem tire when you really need to get moving. Beyond being highly important when it comes to making the vehicle go forward in a timely manner, tires give you an immense amount of control. The right high quality tires can make a huge difference between a car that is difficult to handle and one that is highly responsive.

All Tires Are Not the Same

It’s easy to get fixated on one aspect of finding a great set of tires for your vehicle. After all, you hear so much about how the tread is important to ensuring that the tires allow you to maintain the proper control of your car during all sorts of weather conditions. A crucial element of outfitting your vehicle with the right tires lies in the way it is built. Some tires that are ideal for those vehicles that are designed with rear wheel drive will not be the best choice for one with all-wheel drive.


All-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles offer a number of advantages when it comes to handling. In addition, they are a good option for driving in inclement weather. When it comes to buying tires to put on your all-wheel vehicle, there is an important rule of thumb to remember. Keep all the tires the same – the same brand and the same model. The easiest way to do this is to replace all your tires at the same time. However if you need to replace one tire buying a used tire is a good way to save the expense of replacing a full set. It is also a good idea to build in the habit of getting your tires rotated every five to six thousand miles when you drive an all-wheel drive vehicle.


Vehicles equipped with 4 wheel drive (4WD), like those with AWD, have wheels that work as a team. Depending on your vehicle, it might have a 4WD mechanism that must be manually engaged by you in order to function. Other vehicles automatically adjust the wheels so that they can work in unison in order to meet the challenges of the terrain or weather. Regardless of which way your vehicle is designed, 4WD vehicles should have the same size tires installed. Doing so lessens the strain that is placed on both the tires themselves as well as the vehicle’s systems like the drive train.


A front wheel drive (FWD) vehicle puts a great deal of the steering, braking and handling of the car on the front tires. This tends to wear them out much more quickly than the rear tires, especially if they are not rotated on a regular basis. While it can seem like a natural decision to make, when replacing the front tires on a FWD car, it is safest to put the new tires on the rear and move the rear tires to the front. This gives you greater control of the rear axle of the car. It is the rear of the car that is most likely to spin out of control and hydroplane during inclement weather.


When it comes to winter weather and the rear wheel drive (RWD) vehicle, tires that are specially designed to provide the most traction in the worst weather conditions are safest. While many people chose all-weather tires with great results, tires that are designed for the worst winter conditions are a smart investment if you live in an area of the country that sees lots of snow and ice.

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