All wheel drive

I’m going to purchase an 04 and it says it has all wheel drive. I live in upstate NY and I’m getting it from NC. Can anyone explain to me what this is?

fancy 4 wheel drive.

AWD is just that…all wheels driven, usually all of the time.
Just a thought if Consumer Reports means anything to you. It includes you know what. Regardless of what a good deal it is, if it doesn’t hold up it will cost you more in the long run. AWD is complicated enough in a vehicle with good reliability.

Consumer Reports partial list of .
These have had multiple years of much worse than average reliability
among 1998 to 2007 models. They are listed alphabetically.
Buick Rendezvous (AWD) Land Rover Discovery, LR3
Buick Terraza Lincoln Aviator
Chevrolet Astro Mercedes-Benz SL
Chevrolet Blazer Nissan Armada (4WD)
Chevrolet Colorado (4WD) Nissan Titan (4WD)
Chevrolet S-10 pickup (4WD) Oldsmobile Bravada
Chevrolet Uplander Oldsmobile Silhouette

why buy this car, sight unseen? Plenty of awd cars in NY!

The AWD will help you get through the snow. If you are not going to be moving to NY and stay in NC you will have to decide if you are willing to pay the additional cost (cost may be more maintenance and or original cost as well as more ownership cost (tyres may cost more due to the need to match them etc.)

Note, AWD does not help keep you from sliding off the road or help you stop faster, for that you want to look for winter tyres.

Figure your long-term maintenance costs to be double those of a 2wd vehicle…

My 2003 Silhouette has been good to me.

Note, AWD does not help keep you from sliding off the road
We will perpetually disagree on this every time it’s mentioned. Your FWD looses steerage when turning in snow under power, my AWD drive bias shifts to the rear and I turn more safely, avoiding the ditch; equally “at-tyred” of course. AWD even helps you engine brake more safely.

All Wheel Drive means that at least under some circumstances, all four wheels may be driven.

The specifics can vary quite a bit. Some are optimized for off-road use or “soft-road” use. (Subaru) Some are optimized for track use (Nissan GTR). Most AWD systems in small cars are part-time. That is, the car only drives two wheels until certain traction conditions (which vary from AWD system to AWD system). Most of these systems are front-wheel-drive by default. And most of these systems are crap.

If you’re getting it to drive in snow, get a Subaru. Subaru absolutely without question makes the best AWD systems for that purpose. They are (at least for 04) all full-time…driving all 4 wheels all the time.

Second best would be Volvos and whatever else uses the same systems made by a company called “Haldex.”

Oh, and the difference between AWD and 4WD is usually that AWD does not have locking differentials…that is, in a turn, the wheels on the inside of the turn will turn at a slower speed than the ones on the outside. In a 4WD, they won’t, which means they handle like crap on roads, but since they’ll always be sending power to the wheel that has traction (AWD systems may try, but they don’t always succeed…Subaru is best at this, BTW) they are far less likely to get stuck.

This is correct…but ONLY under power. Also, rear-biased AWD means if you DO lose traction in a turn, you’re going to spin. In FWD, if you lose traction in a turn, you’re probably going to slide straight forward off the road. Which is better is a matter of personal preference.

You can take a turn on a snowy road faster with (good) AWD than you can with FWD.

AWD still does not help you stop.

Rust. Still, on an 04 it shouldn’t be so bad even in NY.

“You can take a turn on a snowy road faster with (good) AWD than you can with FWD.”

That you can take a turn faster, does not mean you should, but it does readily imply you have better control in the turn than any FWD car at any speed, even lower speeds. Where I live, we can hit a slippery spot in a turn that I didn’t have time to slow down for. Again…AWD does provide better control during engine braking in slippery conditions. ALL 4 wd/awd drivers in snow country as well as off road drivers know this. AWD cars in general handle better in all traction conditions than comparable FWD cars. There have been many attempts to use AWD in high end racing, there has been few if any FWD.

I think ice racing favors FWD (FWD is lighter than AWD). Otherwise, AFAIK, it died out in Rally in the 80s, but dominated most of the period from the 60s to the introduction of the Ur-Quattro.

"I think ice racing favors FWD (FWD is lighter than AWD)."
I used to ice race using my two stroke FWD SAAB. It was effective on ice because of the free wheeling, not just the front wheel drive. You could build speed up before a turn and free wheel into it which allowed maximum lateral traction.

Figure your long-term maintenance costs to be double those of a 2wd vehicle…
When ever anyone brings up the higher cost of owning a 4wd, I can only respond with yes, if you consider the damage I did plowing and going off road. 2wd would seldom be used for that. In AWD vehicles that we used sanely; only routine maintenance in the form of extra fluids and fewer mpg’s. Never had a drive train issue and fewer cv joint problems than fwd cars and still used awd cars harder. I feel confident that many of you have had similar experience or I’m just lucky.

If you don’t know what All Wheel Drive is, why are you considering buying a vehicle that has it? You most likely have gotten along fine without it so far.

Also, an Oldsmobile Silhouette is probably not going to be the pinnacle of AWD technology. You would be much better off with an AWD vehicle from another company.


If the Olds craps out, it’s an orphan now unless Chevy made an equivalent vehicle with the same powertrain…

Chevy Venture and Pontiac Montana are nearly identical; the Olds has much more comfrotable seating.