What Does FWD Mean On A Car?

Understanding the various drivetrains in a vehicle would enable you to make the most appropriate choice that suits your desired type of car if you are looking forward to buying a new car. Also, car owners need to have a glimpse of the kind of cars they drive and the features they have been equipped with.

Some of the drivetrains peculiar to vehicles of different makes and models are FWD, RWD, AWD, and 4WD. Some advantages and disadvantages are peculiar to cars with this feature. Hence, if you are wondering, “What does FWD mean on a car,” relevant information has been supplied to help you understand the concept.

What does FWD mean on a Car?

fwd vs awd

Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD) cars have a system that delivers their engine power to their front wheels such that the front wheels pull the vehicle, while the rear wheels do not receive any power in the vehicle’s running process.

Vehicles with front-wheel-drive have one significant advantage of efficient gas mileage, and they emit less carbon dioxide when running. They are economical in their fuel consumption due to the less weight they have because there is no complexity in distributing engine power to only the two front wheels, unlike AWD – All-Wheel-Drive.

Suppose you are considering AWD Vs. FWD pros and cons to determine which is better; one main setback of all-wheel-drive cars is that they have a terrible fuel economy because of the complexity involved in distributing torque to the vehicle’s four wheels in order to enable traction.

Also, the maintenance cost of all-wheel-drive vehicles is more compared to that of front-wheel-drive. However, if the front wheels of a front-wheel-drive car do not have traction, the vehicle will not move on the road.

In comparing front-wheel-drive Vs rear-wheel-drive cars, front-wheel-drive cars are better than rear-wheel-drive cars because of the reliable traction and good balance they possess in maneuvering poor road conditions. Meanwhile, front-wheel-drive vehicles do not have a rear axle or rear differential as the four wheels are mounted independently.

A front-wheel-drive – FWD car is preferable for individuals considering buying a new car because you won’t have to spend a hell of money for the gas refill and vehicle maintenance every week. It is not the same for all-wheel-drive cars.


Q: Which is better FWD or 4WD?

If you are contemplating FWD Vs. 4WD; Front-wheel-drive (FWD) is arguably one of the most common drivetrains in most vehicles. The system feeds power to only the car’s two front wheels without any supply to the rear wheels. They have an excellent fuel consumption efficiency, produce less emission, and offer better traction when driving under snowy conditions.

On the other hand, 4WD – Four-Wheel-Drive cars have a system that transfers engine power to the vehicle’s transmission; then, to the vehicle’s transfer case, and later distributed between the vehicle’s front and rear axles. The system feeds power to the four wheels.

Four-wheel drive vehicles can run in any road condition as they offer excellent maneuverability and control in challenging road conditions like rocks, snow, mud, etc. But front-wheel drive vehicles will perform poorly under some rugged conditions. Whatever conclusion you will arrive at will depend on what you want from a car, whether fuel efficiency, great strength, etc.

Q: Is FWD good in snow?

Yes, front-wheel-drive cars are good in snow since the drivetrain pulls the car along; it may not experience over-steer such that the rear wheels of the vehicle slide out when trying to corner, resulting in a sharper turn beyond what you expect.

You will undoubtedly have a fantastic experience driving your FWD car in the snow when you combine the system with an excellent set of nice winter tires. FWD is such a great option, especially if you are buying your first car. The fuel consumption rate is undoubtedly one of the best among other drivetrains.

Q: Is front-wheel-drive good or bad?

Front-wheel drive is a great choice when buying a car. Cars with front-wheel drive (FWD) provide more excellent traction compared to vehicles with rear-wheel drive (RWD) since it has a lesser weight, with most of the weight concentrated in front where the engine power resides.

However, if you have a specific expectation in your choice of car, FWD may not meet all your expectations. For instance, front-wheel-drive vehicles do not provide much traction compared to all-wheel drive under tough road conditions like rain and snow.

Q: What is better in snow AWD or FWD?

Suppose you are considering FWD Vs. AWD under snowy conditions, all-wheel-drive cars are usually better in snow since they engage all four wheels from start till the vehicle is moving efficiently. They exert great strength of maneuverability, traction, and stability control compared to front-wheel-drive cars.

Modern cars with AWD have excellent stability and traction control, making them better options under poor road conditions like ice and snow. The front-wheel-drive can also run well in snow, but not as much as all-wheel drive.

Q: Are FWD cars good for drifting?

You can drift with your front-wheel-drive car because it involves speed, techniques, and timing. The drifting is done by using the pull-up hand emergency brake to cause loss of traction on the rear wheel in short intervals by locking the rear brakes. It is easier and better to drift with rear-wheel drive (RWD) cars than with front-wheel-drive cars.

However, drifting is not recommended when driving, especially for front-wheel-drive cars. It can result in quick wear and tear to your vehicle’s tires, especially the rear tires. If you do this for fun, you may as well have to replace your vehicle’s tires earlier than the specified lifespan.

Q: Can I drive in 1 inch of snow?

Driving in a snowstorm is better than driving in accumulated snow, such as 1 inch of snow. Accumulated snow can cause more havoc to your car than a full-blown snowstorm.

You can possibly drive in 1 inch of snow, but it will multiply your vehicle’s gas consumption rate because your car will require more power to push the accumulated snow than in a snowstorm. If you can avoid driving in accumulated snow, please do. It will help your vehicle last longer.

If you are considering FWD Vs. AWD in snow, all-wheel drive will certainly perform better than front-wheel drive in snow because of the level of strength in maneuvering, stability, and traction control.

Final Words

Now that we have considered “What does FWD mean on a car,” you are better informed to make a more excellent choice when buying a car? Other curious people also ask, “What does AWD mean?” to enable them to juxtapose the features of both systems in vehicles.

Front-wheel-drive cars are more suitable for car owners if they are fresher. It offers excellent fuel consumption or gas mileage, as in the case of a Toyota Corolla. They are also easier and cheaper to maintain compared to some of their counterparts. It would be helpful to consider fueling and maintenance costs when buying a car, especially as a first-timer.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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