What Does 4×4 Mean?

When you are buying a car, you are flooded with information. You get terms like differential, torque, 4×4, fuel consumption, engine capacity and many more technical terms thrown in your direction. Some of these terms are pretty common and easy to understand; others are not so easy to understand and require some level of technical understanding of how a car works.

So what does someone mean when they tell you a car is a 4×4? I very basic terms, it means that the car receives power to all four wheels at once instead of just to two wheels. If you still do not really understand… read on a bit further.

A car is moved by one of the following three ways. Power either goes to the front to wheels and they pull the car along, or the power goes to the back two wheels and they push the car along, or the car gives power to all four wheels at the same time. Steering is always done by the front two wheels, no matter how the car is set up. The first two options are called 2×4 or two wheel drive cars, the last option is your 4×4 or four wheel drive car. The first number indicates how many wheels are being used to power the car whilst the second number indicates how many wheels the car has.

The 4×4 is often used for off road driving because the distribution of power allows the car to be able to get itself out of mud and holes without needing assistance much more easily than the two wheel drive option. Because the power is distributed to all four wheels, should one set of wheels get stuck, the car can use the other set to get purchase and pull and push its way out of trouble.

Another advantage of having a 4×4 is that you are not relying on one pair of wheels to get traction. You have a wider area of tyre on the road with which to grip the surface. This means that you are able to pull away more easily on slippery surfaces as the extra set of wheels with power compensates for the lack of integrity of the surface you are driving on.

A term frequently used alongside the term 4×4 is torque. This refers to the low down grunt power of the vehicle. A car with more torque will be better at pulling heavy loads than a car which has more horse power. The horse power will increase a car’s top end speed.

The car that you end up buying will depend entirely on what you will be using the car for. For general town driving, it could be better to buy a fuel efficient two wheel drive, whilst if you intend on driving off road or spend a lot of time on dirt roads which are not graded regularly or transport heavy, bulky loads, then a 4×4 would be a better option for you.

Source by GregMingea