Dodge Ram Full-Time 4WD vs AWD (When and How to Use Them?)

All-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) are commonly confused terms, especially regarding vehicles. Both of these drive systems are designed to help enhance the traction of vehicles, but they differ in terms of design, use, and capabilities. AWD and 4WD are both great options for vehicles.

But what’s the difference between AWD and 4WD?

The main difference between AWD and 4WD is how power is delivered to each wheel. AWD is a system that distributes power to all four wheels simultaneously, while 4WD is a system that allows the driver to switch between two-wheel and four-wheel drive manually.

In this article, we will discuss all in detailed about Dodge Ram Full-Time 4WD vs AWD. Read this full guide to know more and the perfect operation of 4WD and AWD.

We Highly Recommend to Read > Dodge Ram 4wd Lock vs Low.

Dodge Ram Full-Time 4WD vs AWD

Full-time 4WD and AWD systems are advanced versions of all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems. They are designed to provide maximum traction and stability on all types of roads and surfaces by providing power to all four wheels of the vehicle at all times. This is achieved by utilizing an electronically controlled transfer case, differentials, and a series of clutch packs.

The transmission distributes engine power between the front and rear axles depending on how much traction the wheels need. When more traction is needed, the transfer case sends more power to the wheels with the most grip.

The differentials then distribute the power to each wheel while the clutch packs provide the necessary torque. Regardless of the driving conditions, this combination of components ensures maximum traction and stability for the vehicle.

Here is a comparison of full time AWD vs 4WD to clarify the things further.

Read More > How to Clear Service 4wd Light Ram 1500?

What Is Full-Time 4WD?

Full-Time 4WD is a type of four-wheel drive system that is always engaged and allows for the same amount of power to be sent to each wheel.

It is designed for use on all types of terrain, as it allows for better traction, stability, and control on slippery or off-road surfaces. Full-Time 4WD systems are often found in SUVs, trucks, and larger vehicles.

What Is Full-Time AWD?

AWD stands for All Wheel Drive. It is similar to Full-Time 4WD, but instead of sending the same amount of power to each wheel, it sends different amounts of power to each wheel depending on the surface and traction.

This allows for more control and improved handling on different surfaces. AWD systems are often found in cars, crossovers, and some SUVs.

But this doesn’t ends here, as we have two types of systems in the vehicles namely Full Time and Part Time. Want to know the difference?

Full-time AWD and 4WD are permanent systems always engaged, sending power to all four wheels. Part-time 4WD systems are designed to run in two-wheel drive (2WD) most of the time and are only engaged in 4WD when needed. This is usually done by a switch or button and is used for low-traction applications such as off-roading or in mud and snow.

Full-time and part-time 4WD is that full-time systems provide traction in all driving conditions, while part-time systems are designed to be used only in specific conditions.

Full-time systems are more expensive, requiring more parts and additional powertrain components. Part-time systems are simpler and less expensive, as they only engage when needed.

Read More > All About Dodge Ram 6500 Towing Capacity.

How Does Full-Time AWD and 4WD Work and When You Should Use Them?

Full-time AWD or 4WD is important for a variety of reasons. It provides increased grip and stability in all weather and road conditions, allowing you to navigate slippery surfaces with greater confidence and control. It also helps to improve the vehicle’s performance, especially when towing or carrying heavy loads.

Finally, it can provide a smoother ride when traveling on rough terrain. All these benefits make full-time AWD or 4WD a great choice for anyone who frequently drives on challenging roads or in extreme weather conditions.

Let’s put an eye on their working mechanism to understand why are they so important for a vehicle.

How Does Full-Time 4WD Work?

Full-time 4WD systems typically comprise a transfer case, axles, and a differential. The transfer case is a two-speed gearbox located in the middle of the vehicle, which transfers power from the engine to the drivetrain.

The transfer case then directs power to the front and rear axles, and the differential is located between the two axles and is responsible for distributing power to the wheels.

Full-time 4WD systems are typically operated by a switch or lever inside the vehicle, activating the transfer case. This engages all four wheels and provides extra traction and stability on difficult terrain. Many full-time 4WD systems also feature a low-range gear that provides extra torque and crawling power when needed.

How Does Full-Time AWD Work?

AWD Working typically consists of a transfer case, which is located between the engine and the transmission, and a differential that is located between the front and rear axles. The transfer case contains gears that transfer power from the engine to the axles. At the same time, the differential allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds, improving the vehicle’s ability to turn.

When the AWD system is activated, power is sent to all four wheels, allowing for better traction. Additionally, AWD allows for more controlled acceleration, as the system can evenly distribute power to all four wheels, making it easier to maintain control of the vehicle.

The AWD system can be activated manually or automatically, depending on the vehicle. Some vehicles come with an Automatic All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system, automatically switching between two-wheel-drive (2WD) and AWD when needed.

Other vehicles have a manual AWD system, which requires the driver to activate the AWD system when needed manually. Full-Time AWD Working can also provide better fuel economy, as the system can send power to only two wheels when not in use. This reduces the fuel needed to power all four wheels, resulting in improved fuel economy.

Pros of Full-Time AWD and 4WD

 Full-time AWD

Full-time 4WD

Improved traction on slippery surfaces like snow and ice Provides superior traction and stability for off-road driving
Better handling in corners and on wet roads Help you get out of difficult situations, such as mud, snow, and sand.
Faster acceleration Better control and handling on slippery surfaces
Improved safety in hazardous conditions Provide more power for towing and hauling heavy loads.
Reduced tire wear and fuel economy Allow for better fuel efficiency compared to other vehicles with similar power
Improved towing capacity
Reduced understeer and improved cornering


Cons of Full-time AWD and 4WD

 Full-time AWD

Full-time 4WD

Higher initial cost Cause more wear and tear on roads, as they are heavier than other vehicles with similar power.
More complex and expensive repairs Usually heavier and less fuel efficient than other vehicles with similar power.
Lower fuel economy More expensive than other vehicles with similar power
Heavier, resulting in slower acceleration Difficult to maneuver in tight spaces
More complex driving dynamics Needs more maintenance and repairs than other vehicles with similar power.
Increased risk of transmission damage if abused in off-road conditions

Full-Time 4WD or AWD: Which Is The Best To Choose?

The choice between full-time AWD (All Wheel Drive) or 4WD (Four Wheel Drive) will depend on various factors, such as

  • Type of terrain you typically encounter,
  • Type of vehicle you are driving,
  • Your overall driving style.

The decision as to whether to purchase an AWD or 4WD will ultimately be based on the driving needs and preferences you have. A 4WD system may be the best choice if you want a vehicle that can handle various terrain types. When looking for a vehicle that offers superior on-road performance, a full-time AWD system may be a better choice.

People Also Ask

Q1. Does AWD or 4WD provide better towing capability?

4WD systems generally provide better towing capability than AWD systems, as they send power to all four wheels. This helps to provide better traction and stability when towing, which is especially beneficial when towing on difficult terrain.

Q2. Is AWD or 4WD better for off-roading?

4WD is generally better for off-roading as it gives the vehicle more power and control. AWD can be used for off-roading. However, 4WD is more suitable as it provides more power and stability.

 Q3. Does AWD or 4WD use more fuel?

Generally, AWD uses more fuel than 4WD as it requires more power to drive all four wheels.

Q4. Can AWD and 4WD be used on regular roads?

Yes, both AWD and 4WD can be used on regular roads. However, 4WD is more suitable for off-roading and should not be used on regular roads for extended periods of time.

Q5. How do AWD and 4WD affect handling?

AWD provides better handling and traction on wet and slippery surfaces than 4WD. 4WD provides more power, making it more difficult to handle corners and tight turns.

Final Words

In conclusion, AWD and 4WD are both great vehicle options, but it is important to understand their differences to choose the right driving system for your needs. Both systems have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to research and weigh your options before making a decision.

4WD is generally used for off-road driving, while AWD is more suitable for everyday driving. Furthermore, 4WD typically has more power and is more effective in difficult terrain, while AWD is more fuel-efficient and better for driving on paved roads.