Yesterday, we discussed all-wheel drive (AWD). Our family recently acquired a vehicle with this feature for Mrs. Family Trivium, while her old four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle was handed down to Mr. Family Trivium.

Turning again to Dictionary.com, we find four-wheel drive to be defined as “a drive system in which engine power is transmitted to all four wheels for improved traction,” with the term first known to have been used between 1925 and 1930.

We look back to our post on AWD, and Dictionary.com’s definition: “a system used in motor vehicles in which all four (or more) wheels are permanently connected to the source of power, in such a way that each wheel is able to rotate at a different speed.” We see that the difference is that AWD is permanent and allows each wheel to rotate at different speeds.

In the case of our two vehicles, the one with 4WD has a shifter for placing it into 4WD mode (there are actually 2 4WD modes, but that is the topic of another post). When it is not in 4WD, the vehicle is rear-wheel drive (RWD). This alone would have helped with the low-traction situation at camp as the 3 growing campers and gear would have been over the drive wheels. Even in the winter, in RWD mode, this vehicle was able to get around better than Mr. Family Trivium’s outgoing FWD vehicle. Mrs. Family Trivium really only needed to put it into 4WD a few times to gain traction in winter driving, like when driving in unplowed snow over 6 inched deep. With her new vehicle, there is no need to worry about engaging a different mode as the AWD system automatically sends power to the wheels with traction.

Why would a person want a vehicle with 4WD or AWD? Our family acquired our first AWD vehicle when Mrs. Family Trivium had a job where she was expected to report for work even if there was two feet of snow on the ground – she did indeed commute through this amount snow very shortly after the purchase was made. Meanwhile, Mr. Family Trivium was home bound, but had a more flexible work schedule at that time. While Mrs. Family Trivium has since moved to a different job, she is still expected to report under all weather conditions, as is Mr. Family Trivium, who is also essentially on call 24/7-365. Working on two different ends of town, two different directions from home, carpooling is inconvenient – we’ve done it.

So 4WD and AWD can hep power through deep snow, but does it have any other uses. It certainly could have helped on the steep, muddy road into camp last month. Yes, 4WD and AWD helps us get to the places where we so enjoy recreating. Mr. Family Trivium and kids are looking forward to getting to those sometimes difficult to reach trailheads during winter break this coming school year.