What is the difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive?


Posted by: Kennedy Ilediagu

Share this post:

Latest news articles

When buying a car, an important aspect is knowing which is better for you between a front wheel drive and rear wheel drive! Let us help you find the answer here!

Knowing which is better for you between a four-wheel drive (FWD) and a rear wheel drive (RWD) can be a difficult decision to make. This is because both vehicles have their pros and cons amongst other unique features that make them stand out. Secondly, drivers have several preferences and that determines which wheel drive they should buy. But with how uneven Nigerian roads are, it's pretty difficult to stick with one type. But if you decide to purchase an all-wheel drive, then you must have made up your mind to spend tens of millions of naira to acquire one.


Let's see which one suits your need better

The front-wheel-drive works with a pulling mechanism just like a horse pulling a cart, while the rear wheel drive works with a pushing mechanism like a boy pushing a wheelbarrow. The speed, weight, ability to maneuver and braking system will definitely be different. Without trying to have you crack your brain any further, Naijauto have decided to bring you tips for knowing which is best for you between an FWD and RWD.

1. The front-wheel-drive (FWD)

Just as the name depicts, the FWD is a vehicle whose front wheels carry out most of the movement and maneuvers while the rear wheels pretty much act as a support system. This means that the engine transmits power to the front wheels so that when they rotate, the weight of the car is pulled by the tires in front while the tires at the back simply act as support.

With how the FWD is built, there's actually a lot of weight in front because the engine, components, transmission, and other systems are all crammed into the bonnet in front. This makes the front compartment of the vehicle heavier (remember the horse and cart example stated earlier). Now, this extra weight in front improves the traction of the front wheel as they move and prevent the vehicle from spinning out of control.


Front wheel drive saves more fuel and is more suitable for light traffic

Furthermore, the front wheel drive cars tend to be more fuel efficient due to the pulling mechanism it operates in. The force needed to pull the car isn't as much as one needed to push - that is the torque. Due to how the vehicle is made, there's enough space in the passenger compartment and the boot. Therefore, FWD cars tend to be a lot cheaper to manufacture and also purchase. But this also comes with some disadvantages.

For instance, the components jam-packed into one space makes every action and mechanism in the car a bit complex. Though it's easy to locate where a fault is coming from, one fault from one part of the car can easily and quickly affect another part of the car. Controlling the car when it spins out of control can also be difficult perhaps because it rarely does. That's why it's always adviced not to use an FWD for drifting and car racing. It hardly ends well when something goes wrong. But all in all, the car is also cheap to maintain.

>>> Here are some hot car stories you might be interested in:

2. The rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

From the name as well, you can obviously tell that the power and car movement are reliant majorly on the wheels at the back of the vehicle. Sports cars, racer cars, expensive and luxury supercars are just some of the kind of vehicles you find this feature in. It works with a pushing mechanism. The torque comes from the rear and propels the vehicle into the immediate top speed. Hence, the verdict that RWDs are faster than FWDs.

How it works is that there is a long drive shaft connecting the wheels at the rear with the engine. It acts as a medium through which transmission and power are sent. So to an extent, the weight of the RWD cars are somewhat balanced. But what it has in power, it doesn't in fuel economy - and that is just one disadvantage. Secondly, the RWD is expensive and difficult to maintain because of how complex the entire operating system is. But also, you also get to have tires that don't wear out easily. This is because almost the same amount of pressure and friction occurs both at the rear and the front.


Rear wheel drive is equipped mostly in race cars and luxury cars

>>> Read also:

3. Naijauto Expert verdict

If you are looking for an affordable or low budget car that will save you fuel, go for the front-wheel drive. There are quite a number of them - like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mercedes Benz made in the early 2000s, some BMWs and so on. They're not only cheap but won't cost you so much to maintain. In fact, in Nigeria, most mechanics learned how to fix vehicles using FWD. So it's going to be easy finding a reliable mechanic and even spare parts for when there are issues. You also get the fuel economy.

On the other hand, if you seek speed and car balance while driving, go for the rear wheel drive. You also enjoy better control and fewer possibilities of your tires wearing out quickly. If you enjoy drifting, racing and won't mind spending more on maintenance, the RWD isn't a bad idea. Whichever between the front wheel drive and rear wheel drive you will go for, we, at Naijauto.com, hope this post will help in understanding some perks and downsides of the two. Now it's time for you to make an informed decision.

Video: Front wheel drive vs Rear wheel drive

>>>  Don't forget to check out more inspiring car stories and celebrity auto news on Naijauto.com!

Kennedy Ilediagu

Kennedy Ilediagu


Kennedy Ilediagu is an experienced wordsmith and a creative automotive writer for Naijauto.com. His forte ranges from vehicle maintenance and latest industry updates, to car review articles. He is also a brand management and content creation expert who has worked with Daily Posts (United Kingdom), ESUT Egg Day magazine, and many others for years. Digital copies written by him inform, educate and engage readers globally. When Kennedy is not writing, he is busy taking care of animals, traveling or watching football.

See more