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Does AWD Have a Downside?

Yes, it’s not a big difference, but add to that some additional cost, some additional repairs, and being finicky with matching tires, and the payoff isn’t there for me (in Dallas, of course). Snowy areas would balance things out quite a bit. I do not think that there is any benefit on dry roads, and only a small benefit on wet roads for AWD over FWD.

If you get in an accident there are more EXPENSIVE things to repair.

I take that to mean they’re more interested in the sale than in the future safety of the customer.

Since statistics don’t support the safety issue, we might as well close the sale without any further debate…

As other’s have said AWD will drop you fuel economy 1 to 2 mpg. There are a few more mechanical parts that can and do go bad as the car ages. The costs of these repairs is high if driveshafts, transfer case, or differential goes out. The AWD cars are more sensitive to alignment and need all 4 wheels aligned. And if one tire fails you may have to replace more than the one tire if it can’t be repaired.

4WD on PU trucks and SUV’s are less sensitive to matching tires and are not engaged all the time. Therefore the 4WD systems are sturdier. In the snow 4WD isn’t quite as good as AWD but is almost as good.

Audi has shown that AWD in race cars gives the cars an advantage in dry and wet track conditions. AWD adds an extra margin of safety in the rain, and a big margin of safety and traction in snow. Subaru, Volvo, and Audi have developed very sophisticated AWD systems.

My feeling is the AWD systems are great in new cars. When an AWD car reaches 100K miles and beyond I see the AWD system as less advantageous due the increased costs of more frequent repairs.

Bottom line if you live in a snowy area, like to ski, have to deal with hilly terrain then AWD is very nice to have. If you live in the southern states and rarely see snow I’d say AWD is not worth the cost.

With advances in snow tires, traction control, antiskid control, and ABS brakes I’d be very comfortable with either FWD or RWD in almost any driving situation. I happen to live in the Pocono Mountains area of PA and I’ve owned an AWD Volvo and a 4WD SUV. I also drive a Honda Civic all winter with snow tires. When there is 6 inches of snow and the plows aren’t out yet AWD or 4WD is the way to go. I can see why these features are popular in the northern US. If I lived in Texas, FL, or AZ I’d see no reason for AWD, unless you are a surfer or surf casting fisherman.

My family with 10 manual transmission Subaru’s has yet to have any repairs to the AWD. I agree a bit more maintenance I believe most of them change the diff oil front & back every 45k(myself) - 100k for $100/pop. These cars have anywhere from 65k-250k.

On tires yes I they are changed in sets. I have been lucky and knock would never had to change all four except when nearly worn out.

The skills and attitude of the driver makes way more difference in safety than all wheel drive does. Even if it does give the driver better control, will that result in fewer accidents?, or will it mean that people lose control of the car at higher speeds than previously possible?

And finally, let’s not forget that everyone has all wheel brakes.

I don’t see where AWD/4wd in most cases isn’t NEEDED. May be wanted and a nice to have…but NOT NEEDED.

My sister who’s a school teacher and lives in Pulaski NY…NEEDS AWD. Average snow fall is well over 200"/yr. They don’t cancel school for a meager 6" snow-storm. This past year her town saw over 350" of snow…That’s 10 times what Boston averages…more then 3 times Boston’s all-time snow-fall record.

This thread, currently runnig here, is related: “Subaru little spare causes problems”

AWD rarely gets damaged in most accidents.

I don’t believe there any special factor of AWD vs FWD of same model. The only way to tell is getting a quote for each(FWD & AWD) from the same insurer and multiple ones.

The OP stated his preference for FWD below.

I think the people who prefer RWD are either more skilled as drivers or prefer it for reasons based on maintenance and repairs. Those of us who prefer FWD recognize the safety benefit for average drivers, who take corners and turns at speeds in which over-steer and under-steer are not issues.

Every good salesman learns what the customer’s “hot buttons” are. That’s an actual sales term found in all textbooks on selling. If the salesperson discovers the owner is a competent driver who will likely not get stuck, he can push other things the prospect may be interested in, like the killer stereo system or the on-board navigation system.

When last shopping for a new car, I mentioned I appreciated reliability and the salesman tried to push the company’s factory extended warranty.

When last shopping for a high efficiency furnace for our house, the well trained salesman asked if we appeciated clean air and dust control. My wife expressed some interest and the quote came back with $2000 worth of unnecessary filtration equipment in additon to the $4500 furnace. These filters, like car extras, are very profitable. Since we sleep with the windows open most of the year, it seemd rather dumb to go to all that trouble to get laboratory clean-air in the house.

Those of us who prefer FWD recognize the safety benefit for average drivers, who take corners and turns at speeds in which over-steer and under-steer are not issues.

I’ve always found RWD easier to handle. I’ve NEVER seen a FWD Nascar. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE FWD cars…Probably won’t own anything else (except my SUV/Truck which I use for towing). For the AVERAGE daily driver…you should never exceed the limits of what a FWD can do. And if you do…say off MY road…you’re driving too fast.

AWD rarely gets damaged in most accidents.

And the insurance companies know that…that’s why they charge higher premiums.

The skills of the driver…absolutely agree.

My wife & I have had this discussion numerous times. Especially after one particular incident, if she’d been driving the same truck ( 4x4 push button switch ) in the same conditions, she’d have rolled it in the median. Yet she still will not go out in adverse weather and practice.
Hence, her truck is AWD. No buttons, no switches, computerized. When she says she’s afraid to drive in certain conditions I don’t argue or push her beyond abilities. So as not to be fooled into that AWD false sense of security ,I simply tell her to drive with the same sense of reservation and the AWD will supplement the car’s capability and to treat stopping with the very same tender touch as always.
. There have even been times that she called me to give her a ride home from work, leaving her truck there over night. I do not think twice nor try to persuade her otherwise because we all must remember…

The skill of the driver means more than any AWD.

What I dont like is ABS in the snow,I’m sorry but I’ve tried it several times-I can stop a vehicle quicker in wet snow,by pumping the brakes, rather then relying on ABS-at least at moderate speeds -Kevin

Is this tire problem the same for all cars?

ABS is not to make you stop faster in snow…but to allow you to have some control of the vehicle while you’re breaking.

ABS actually extends stopping distances in the snow and gravel since the plowing effect does not work. ABS main advantage is on dry and wet road which most drivers see about 90%-100% of their drive time.

However the disadvantage of ABS on snow can easily be overcome simply by using winter tires. They stop on average about 50% less distance on tough winter conditions.

10-4, but most people dont seem to understand that( I do), that aside you would be astounded by the number of Surburbans and suvs that end up over the hill.when it gets slick around here-Kevin

Thanks, I’ve argued that one till I was blue in the face-Kevin