March 18, 2014

Choosing the Right Used Car: Two-Wheel Drive or Four-Wheel Drive?

Let The KEY help you choose the Right Used Car

If you’re looking to buy a used car, one of the toughest choices you’ll have to make is whether you want a car with two-wheel, four-wheel, or all-wheel drive. The kind of drive a car uses can affect how it performs in many ways, like handling, gas mileage, and performance in inclement weather. Each drivetrain system has its own advantages and disadvantages, and knowing what they are can help you make the right choice for your next car.

Two-Wheel Drive

On most cars, vans, and small trucks available today, two-wheel drive is the standard drivetrain option. Depending on the type of vehicle, it could come with either front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive.

Front-wheel drive is a very common drive system on small and medium-sized cars and vans. With a front-wheel drive car, the engine generally sits in the front of the car and turns the front wheels. This makes the drive system very simple, as it all sits in the front of the car. The tradeoff with front-wheel drive is reduced handling ability. Because the front wheels in a front-wheel drive car are responsible for both powering the car and steering, front-wheel drive cars have a tendency to understeer – that is, to continue moving straight even when you turn the wheel.

In a rear-wheel drive car, the engine is often mounted in the front of the car, though in some sportier models (like Porsches, for example), the engine is mounted in the rear or even the middle. The engine puts drive power to the rear wheels, leaving the front to steer. This results in better weight balance and handling on dry roads, but can also make the car more prone to oversteer, where the car’s rear wheels lose traction and cause you to spin.

In general, two-wheel drive offers several attractive features, including better fuel economy and reduced vehicle weight. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-maintain car with higher gas mileage, two-wheel drive is your best bet.

Four-Wheel Drive

Four-wheel drive (and it’s cousin, all-wheel drive) is much more common on trucks, SUVs, and some larger or more sport-oriented cars. It offers a number of advantages over two-wheel drive, but also several disadvantages.

First, you’ll need to choose between selectable four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Traditional four-wheel drive is common on pickups and SUVs. In these vehicles, the engine normally drives just the rear wheels, and the car handles and performs like a regular rear-wheel drive vehicle. However, if you need more traction or stability, you can select either high-range or low-range four-wheel drive with the push of a button.

All-wheel drive is just like four-wheel drive, except it’s always on. There is no need to select it or to change between high and low-range; all four wheels are driven by the engine all the time. There are some SUVs with all-wheel-drive, as well as a number of sedans and station wagons that use the system to increase traction and handling.

In both cases, four-wheel drive systems offer the maximum amount of traction and stability available in a car. They’re the best kind of vehicle to drive in rainy, snowy, or icy conditions, as they’re less likely to spin out or slide.

However, four-wheel drive systems add significant amounts of weight to your vehicle, and the engine also must work harder to drive all four wheels. This means four-wheel drive vehicles generally get worse gas mileage. In addition, a four-wheel drive system is much more complicated mechanically, making it more costly to maintain and repair.

Generally, four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are excellent options for people who live in more rural areas or who regularly drive off-road and need the additional traction that such a system provides. If you’re mostly a city or highway driver, two-wheel drive will probably suit you just fine.

No matter what kind of car you choose, though, you’ll want to make sure it’s in good condition and properly maintained. At The KEY, every vehicle we sell has a clean driving record and maintenance history. We buy cars from rental agencies and approved sellers that keep regular maintenance schedules, and that makes many of our cars eligible for our unique Lifetime Warranty.

The KEY is the number one buy here, pay here used car dealer in Oklahoma City, and we want to help you find your next used car. Come down to our OKC car lot and check out our inventory, or visit us on Facebook to get special offers and deals! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates on our buy here, pay here car dealership in Oklahoma City.