Front Wheel Drive or Rear Wheel Drive is better?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Saint, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    For cars,
    Front Wheel Drive or Rear Wheel Drive is better?
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    They both have advantages and disadvantages.

    If you live in a region where snow is common, you'll be better off with rear-wheel drive. When you drive up a steep grade, most of the weight of the car is on the rear wheels. If the car has front-wheel drive, there isn't enough weight on the wheels to maintain traction and they'll just slip.
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    What do you want from your car? Are you a race-track enthusiast? What's your style of driving? RWD usually have better weight distribution and thus better handling, but I would say that unless you're heavily into performance cars, FWD would probably be adequate for need (which is why the vast majority of cars are FWD).

    As for snow (and rain as well) - everything I have heard would suggest that Fraggle is not correct - that RWD is generally worse than FWD in snow and wet weather, although possibly not too noticeably so, depending on what else the car offers. The main reason is that in an FWD car the weight of the engine is likely to be over the drive wheels, thus adding weight and traction to where the car applies its power. Going uphill this is lessened somewhat, but possibly not sufficiently to make a RWD the preferred choice (it would likely have to be a rather steep incline, in which case you'd be better off with a decent 4WD!).
    On a RWD car the weight is more evenly balanced and thus over the drive wheels the car is lighter, thus less traction.
    But a good car, be it RWD or FWD, should be adequate - as long as you know how to drive that type of car appropriately in the conditions.

    If the RWD car was also a rear-engined car, then it would be more comparable to a FWD front-engined car - all other things being equal.

    FWD are generally cheaper as they don't need the extra parts to transmit the power to the rear wheels that a RWD car has, and it is easier to manufacture as a result. Also due to the fewer parts they save weight and are thus generally more economical.

    But ultimately it depends on how you like to drive... if you like to power-slide, for example, get a RWD rather than FWD.

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    As Fraggle says, though, there are pros and cons to each, and I'm sure the web has many discussions on the matter by more knowledgeable people than here.
     
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  7. milkweed Valued Senior Member

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    Front wheel is better in my experience. But there was a learning curve when switching from rear wheel to front wheel in snow/ice/slick conditions. After I got used to that, it was easy to say front wheel is better. Sarkus is right with the weight giving added traction.

    But I dont have trailer pulling or mountain driving as a part of my real driving experience. A couple trips to the mountains is not enough to determine which is better for that condition.

    Front wheel tends to be more expensive to fix than rear wheel.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    For an economy car, FWD is cheaper and more efficient. I have a turbo FWD car and the power can easily overcome traction, which leaves you with no steering or power , but it's fun. RWD is better for most performance purposes, AWD even better, although heavier and more complex.
     
  9. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    I've driven FWD, RWD and AWD in the snow and ice.

    I prefer AWD SUV now, but they seem to have the downside that if you need to replace a single tire, tire dealers will refuse to provide a warranty on any unless you purchase all four tires from them at the same time. Tire rotation may help, but through two cycles of tires, I did not get the rated wear from the tires that were on the rear.

    You should probably follow their advice because it is pretty important that the drive train does not experience asymmetric wheel load, and that will be way more expensive to fix than replacing four tires. This is the principle reason tire dealers don't want to install mismatched tires on AWD vehicles. It makes them responsible if the drive train fails.

    In my experience very few drivers who purchase RWD cars and especially trucks seem to have the skill needed to keep them on the road under icy conditions. This is because to recover from a skid, you are required to steer into it. Another technique is the load the back of a RWD with snow, but I've noticed this usually does not help them maintain control any better than drivers with nothing in the back. Such vehicles cannot fail to have most of the weight in the front where their heavy duty engines are. Snow isn't going to be enough to counterbalance that. Most drivers of these cars don not understand this, and also fail to gear down to lower gears to maintain better control. This technique (lower gears) works well with FWD, RWD, and AWD cars, SUVs and Trucks.

    If you plan not to take the trouble to learn how to recover from a skid BEFORE needing to do it in an emergency, a FWD vehicle will be better for you, because no particular steering skill is needed to recover from a slide.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  10. river Valued Senior Member

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    9,465
    RWD drive is more fun . in snow besides the safety issues.
     
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  11. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    FWD is better. If you can get an AWD, that is the best. Subaru makes them. Problem is, they cost a fortune.
     
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  12. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    River aptly demonstrates the other dynamic you will need to deal with on an icy road; people in large vehicles they can only marginally control attempting to have "fun" with them in hazardous conditions instead of a sled, or a vehicle that is designed to afford better control in the snow. Steer your vehicle clear of these idiots by a wide berth.

    Find a route less traveled, and on a level grade to wherever you need to go with a preferably low or even zero volume of traffic. You can also just stay home and watch the snow and the foolhardy folks on the road having a very expensive demolition derby. It is marginally entertaining, and much cheaper than getting involved in this kind of "fun".
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Subaru is a very good and top rated mechanical design for their AWD vehicles. I drive a Forrester. Stop by the Subaru dealer and check out the models of drive train designs for other FWD and AWD from other manufacturer's vehicles compared to Subaru. For almost all but Subaru, it is a study in asymmetrically weighted and sculpted drive trains. This will have the undesired effect of an imbalance of control as well as ASSYMETRICAL LOADING OF BOTH THE TIRES AND THE ENTIRE DRIVE TRAIN. This will place undesirable stress on the component carrying the heaviest load, and this will make itself known over the service life of the vehicle. Uneven tire wear will be the first thing you notice, but along with that comes asymmetrical driving characteristics. Such things do make a difference in terms of both handling and safety.

    Remember what I told you in post #6? Assymetrial tires are BAD, so what would asymmetrical loading resulting from an offset differential be? That's right. BAD. That's why Subaru has the highest rated AWD vehicles, and also why you see so many of them on the road. Nice job, Subaru.

    We needed to replace the Forrester transmission at 120,000 miles, but I'm told this is unusually soon for that service for most Subarus. The boxer horizontally opposed engines are prone to early head gasket failure as well. There's no such thing as a perfect engineering solution, and this design is a case in point. Distributed load is always key to long and reliable service life, whether you are designing an SUV, a bridge, a satellite, a computer network, or anything else.

    End of unsolicited Subaru endorsement. I do not work for Subaru or have any interest in them other than as a loyal customer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  14. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    759
    Ive owned, Awd, 4wd, Fwd, and Rwd.

    Awd with traction controll is best for snow covered roads. Followed closely by 4wd. Fwd would be the third option. Rwd is dead last unless the engine is mid or rear of the vehicle.
     
  15. Saint Valued Senior Member

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    Using fully synthetic oil, how long can it last? 15k KM ?
     
  16. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    759
    Most brands are recommending 5K miles between changes. Toyota recommends 10K for some engines now. Just go with what your manufacturer says. If you live somewhere that experiences cold winters, you should change your oil at least twice a year, regardless of mileage.
     
  17. river Valued Senior Member

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    Its not so much the oil it's self lasting ; since synthetic oil has no wax ( which conventional have ). It is about the oil filter itself lasting.

    Synthetic oil is the best oil to use hands down. It is very difficult to break down synthetic oil, very difficult.
     
  18. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    759
    If you want to learn more about motor oil, www.bobistheoilguy.com is a good place to start.
     
  19. psikeyhackr Valued Senior Member

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    1,020
    Front wheel drive is better for dealing with snow.

    Rear wheel drive is better for towing. At least that is what I hear. I have not tried towing with front wheel drive. I have had personal experience with both in snow.

    psik
     
  20. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    You can buy cars that have the option to either use FWD or RWD so that is the car to find. That way if you get stuck you can choose which kind to use to help you out.
     
  21. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Synthetic is a waste of money. Just use regular oil, it costs less, and every 3000 to 5000 miles change the oil and filter. By doing this the viscosity of the oil won't degrade very much so that your engine will be protected as long as you remember to change the oil and filter. The filter gets filled with dirt and debris so the sooner you change it the better your car will last. Fram makes very good filters and I try to buy that kind to replace my old one with.

    The normal recommendation for a 1990 Honda Accord is changing the oil and filter every 7500 miles. Fram, a filter manufacturer, identifies "severe" factors as short trips of less than five miles, carrying maximum loads, operating in severe dust conditions, stop and go driving, excessive idling and other conditions. The same 1990 Honda Accord manual recommends the owner change the oil every 3750 miles for severe conditions. If your vehicle is older, this may dirty the oil faster too. As gaskets and other parts in the engine compartment age, they may deteriorate and leak in dust and other contaminants.
     
  22. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    759
    Not true about Synthetic being a waste of money. You will get more protection at start up, and in cold weather with a full synthetic oil. Normal oil is thicker at start up, and takes longer to reach the optimum viscosity for your engine.
     
  23. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    33,264
    Synthetic is at least triple the cost of regular oil. While its viscosity is very good it isn't that much better than regular oil. No ones vehicles had any problems with regular oil for over a hundred years of all types of weather. Remember that cars that were sold back before the synthetics were ever made were put through just as harsh environments as we see around us today. Just change the oil every 3 to 5 thousand miles to keep high viscosity.
     

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