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Is 4WD the same as 4×4? (Find The Difference)

Is 4WD the same as 4×4? (Find The Difference)

If you’ve ever heard someone discuss off-road vehicles, you have probably heard the term 4×4 or four-wheel drive. You know what 4WD (four-wheel drive) is if you’ve ever bought a car. However, unless you’re a car enthusiast, you’re probably wondering: what’s the difference between a 4×4 and a 4WD?

A lot of people confuse the two. Despite that, they don’t mean the same thing. 4×4 and four-wheel drive mean that power goes to four wheels to control the vehicle, but there’s a little more to it. 4WD is in every 4×4 vehicle, but not every 4WD vehicle is a 4×4.

Let’s look into a few more details.

What does it mean by 4WD?

Four-wheel drive refers to the power going directly to all four wheels. However, it doesn’t imply that a vehicle has only four wheels.

Four-wheel drive is usually built for off-road driving, and four wheels have twice the traction of two wheels. For optimal off-road performance, a four-wheeler drive usually comes with a locked differential.

We don’t want to get too technical, but a locked differential means that both wheels on one axle are locked together, even if one has traction and the other doesn’t.

An image of a four wheel drive truck on an uneven road.
4WD Truck

It’s beneficial for getting back traction in snowy conditions, on rough surfaces, or when stuck in the mud. All in all, 4WD is awesome when you’re in a 4×4 or a recreational SUV. You can turn it on or off depending on the situation.

What does 4×4 mean in cars?

Generally, all four wheels of 4x4s are powered by a motor. Most cars and crossover SUVs with a 4×4 drivetrain have all-wheel drive (AWD) and not 4WD as you’d find in vehicles and off-roaders.

There are usually four kinds of drive available on trucks and cars: rare-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive. Additionally, 4x4s AWD systems independently manage traction among tires, so the vehicle is as efficient and safe as possible.

Know The Difference

There is only a slight difference between 4×4 and 4WD (four-wheel drive). Here are a few of these differences.

“4×4” defines that the vehicle has four wheels.A 4WD can have four, six, or more wheels.
It’s an all-wheel drive. It’s a four-wheel drive.
All four wheels always receive the same power.Its only four wheels receive extra power.
You don’t have to turn it on manually.You can manually switch it on and off.
4×4 VS 4WD

A short video clip shows the difference between an all-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive.


Is 4WD and 4×4 the same thing?

Mainly people consider them the same, but they are two different things.

While 4×4 tells you about the number of wheels in a vehicle, 4WD only gives you information about the powered wheels of the vehicle, not giving any information about the actual number of wheels.

Does 4WD use all 4 tires?

Its name tag indicates that it uses all four tires.

4WD shows that your vehicle has four robust wheels. Any vehicle tagged as a four-wheel drive will use its four wheels while moving until you change its setting manually.

Does 4×4 mean all-wheel drive?

An image of a 4x4 jeep.
4×4 jeep

Yes, 4×4 is considered an all-wheel drive.

4×4 shows the number of wheels available in your vehicle. However, most people use this 4×4 term to show that it’s an all-wheel drive. It means that all four tires of your vehicle (truck or car) receive a similar kind of power from the engine.

Does 4×4 perform well in snow?

For deep snow and off-road driving, 4×4 systems are great.

Thanks to its low range, crawling through the snow along with mud and boulders is easy. If you live in a hilly area or area with heavy snowfall, you should probably choose a 4×4 vehicle for your ease.

How do you know whether your car is 2WD or 4WD?

2WD or 4WD, all these are part of your vehicle’s drivetrain. If you know your vehicle well enough, you can quickly determine whether your car is two-wheel or four-wheel drive.

Try to find a long, solid tube coming from the pumpkin or an axle shaft like the front axle shaft. If your vehicle has a rear differential, it has rear-wheel drive. You have an all-wheel drive when you have a front and rear drive axle.

Do all four wheels spin in 4×4?

In normal circumstances, all wheels in 4×4 spin. However, if the spinning speed is more than 100 rounds per minute, it’ll turn on the lock for the rear wheels to avoid any accidents.

The wheels of 4×4 get locked, especially on a high terrain or on a slippery road, to make sure that your vehicle will not slip backward.

Does 4WD use more gas?

4WDs guzzle more gas because they have more weight and drivetrain components than 2WDs of the same make/model.

A 4 wheel drive system has extra components like a differential, transfer case, and a driveshaft. The engine controls all these components. To do that, the engine uses more fuel than any other average vehicle.

What is the advantage of 4WD?

The 4WD system helps to manage slippery conditions, like snow, rock, ice, and other scenarios that make it hard to control the vehicle. It improves traction and control by engaging both sets of wheels simultaneously.

Moreover, additional weight makes the car grip better too. If you like off-roading, 4WD is for you.

Can you convert your 4×2 into 4×4?

4WD can be added to trucks with 2WD drivetrains, especially if the car was also offered with 4WD.

If you’re tight on budget and cannot afford an upgrade, you’re just thinking of upgrading your 2WD to 4WD. It’s not a good choice. It’s way too expensive and hard to do that.

Final Takeaway

Four-wheel drive is one of the best features of modern-day vehicles, especially ones used in off-road drive terrains like hilly and sloppy areas and heavy snow. Most people consider 4WD and 4×4 as the same thing when used for vehicles. However, both are a little bit different from each other.

4×4 shows the actual number of tires in a vehicle and tells you that this vehicle is an all-wheel drive. An engine powers its all wheels. However, 4WD means all four wheels of your vehicle are powered. However, it gives you information about the total wheels in your vehicle.

If your vehicle is 4×4, it means it’s fully automated. You don’t have to turn it on manually. On the other hand, you can use manual switches to turn on the four-wheel drive.

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