Are most 4wd vehicles rwd when the 4wd is not engaged?


Asked by Jan 22, 2016 at 02:48 PM about the 2004 Chevrolet Tracker LT 4WD

Question type: General

I always assumed that's the way it worked but maybe not? Are their FWD cars that have a 4WD option as well? If so, what is the case generally for Chevy Trackers in the 1998-2004 range - are they usually rwd with 4wd or fwd with 4wd?

10 Answers


Most are RWD but if your car is based on a front wheel drive car then 2wd will be the front tires.


you have front wheel drive cars, rear wheel drive cars and trucks, some vehicles have all wheel drive that means they are 4X4 all the time and some are 4 wheel drive that can be full time or part time that is turned on by a switch or a manual shifter


Yours is RWD when not in 4x4.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Yes I understand that part. What I'm asking is - what is it when it's not in 4 wheel drive? I thought that all 4wd vehicles were rwd when the 4wd was not engaged. Is this not the case? Are some 4wd vehicles fwd when the 4wd is not turned on?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

I'm not asking about this particular car. I'm asking in general if there are fwd vehicles that have 4wd.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

if the car is front wheel drive it is only front wheel drive. If a car is AWD then it it full time AWD, wIth trucks you have different options


If you want front wheel drive then why are you concerned about 4WD? Actually most AWD cars these days are actually part time and you are at the mercy of the computer which decides if you get traction or not. Subaru makes the best AWD.


Yeah. Torque vectoring more expensive electronics to break.


sunshinesd32. There are to many systems to elaborate on these days. Most of the time it depends on the vehicle platform, the manufacturer and the application, but there can be various configurations of each. For vehicles with a front longitudinal engine transmission you will have mostly 2wd (RWD only) and 4x4 meaning (part-time - engage front axle when needed through the transfer case) but there were quite a few Full-time 4x4 (AWD in other terms both the front and rear axle's were driven at all times via a center diff in the transfer case. The T-case lever would lock the center diff to engage 4x4). Both part and full time usually had a low gear 4x4 option in the T-case. Transverse engine vehicles (FWD) that have AWD (most small SUV's and the economy class small cars) will drive the rear axle off of the front differential in the transaxle. The older ones might not have a center diff most modern vehicles do. Once electronics started weaseling into everything newer technologies created the more complex systems like auto engaging transfer cases and electronically controlled center diff's based off the above basics but computer controlled. Individual wheel control is controlled via brakes or torque vectoring diffs on the new vehicles. In the old days you had to add lockers if you didn't want the 2 spinning wheels to ruin your fun in a 4x4. One thing to remember about newer AWD's is that most have a bias built in to always send more torque to the primary axle and use the second one as a backup and there is no way to turn it off and run in only 2wd.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

How do you know when the 4 wheel drive is off ?

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