In recent years it has become more apparent that people have become eager for drivetrain options. Yet many drivers do not fully understand what each of these options actually do. In this blog we are going to compare the differences between Front Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) drivetrains. With this knowledge, you will be better equipped to decide what type of drivetrain is best suited for your needs. Dodson’s team has seen them in all shapes and sizes and also have a massive range of all transmission parts you may need. So, let’s get started:

Front Wheel Drive

The FWD drivetrain is very compact in nature. Allowing for the engine to be turned and the transmission to be essentially placed next to it between the wheel wells. This transaxle provides power to the front wheels only.

The chief benefit of this being lighter roomier cars with higher fuel efficiency. This is achieved by having less moving parts such as transfer cars and also eliminates the gearbox and drivetrain running underneath the car, taking up leg room to fit the transmission tunnel. The drawback to FWD is all of the workload is being done by one set of tires and a higher risk of understeer.

Rear Wheel Drive

Rear Wheel Drive is the traditionalist drivetrain and is still is a good option for any driver. The RWD system puts the engine in the front of the vehicle and is connected to transmission that send power down to the rear differential, which turns the rear wheels. This is the preferred power transfer method of a lot of motorsport cars, most prominently drifting competition.

The Benefits of RWD is little chance of understeer and precision handling. They are also easier to repair in many regards as it is easier to troubleshoot a RWD. One downside of RWD is its poor traction in wet and snowy conditions.


Recently All-Wheel drive has become more and more popular. Created at first with the goal to attract off road drivers it turned out that its excellent handling in many conditions such as dirt and gravel as well as pavement.

All-Wheel drive vehicles usually have their engines in the front of the car but the engine can be placed in the rear or middle of the car as well. The design of AWD spreads power out as evenly as possible from a center differential much like a real wheel car. As the vehicle encounters traction loss it shifts powers to the wheels that are not slipping.

The benefit of this system is vastly improved traction and performance. As well as impressive acceleration and added stability in driving in bad weather.

On the down side, the engine works more and your fuel economy drops by comparison to other drivetrains. Add to that AWD systems are much heavier and have many more parts that can wear and in time break, such as transfer cases, differentials, driveshafts and CVs. All wheel drive systems are the transmission of choice for 4wd and recreational vehicles for their superior traction in difficult conditions.

If you have a Japanese drive system that needs new parts or just some TLC, be sure to call the Dodson’s team for friendly and informative advice on your vehicle.