AWD stands for “all-wheel drive” and is a drivetrain technology used by practically every major auto manufacturer. In AWD cars, the engine delivers power to both front and rear axles, in contrast to a regular RWD (rear-wheel drive) or FWD (front-wheel drive), where the motor transmits power to one axle or the other.

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AWD and 4WD - or four-wheel drive - are often used interchangeably, although there are subtle differences. For instance, you can have a six-wheeled vehicle, like a military truck, that is AWD but not 4WD.


You’ll also often see the term 4WD on large SUV vehicles that allow you to switch between drive modes. Many large SUVs default to FWD while driving through the city with the option of switching to “4WD” when going off-road. The moniker “AWD,” by contrast, usually means that the vehicle always delivers power to all four wheels, and there are no on-the-fly buttons to switch to single-axle operation.

 The Types Of AWD Systems For Subaru Vehicles


Subaru uses a variety of different AWD systems on its cars.

 Symmetrical AWD


Symmetrical AWD is an all-wheel-drive system developed by Subaru in-house. The system relies on the Subaru boxer engine, a type of motor which arranges pistons horizontally to keep the car’s center of mass both in the middle of the vehicle and low to the ground. The boxer engine delivers rotational energy via the driveshaft to all four independent axles, with minimal energy loss through intermediary parts. Subaru claims that the system enhances ride comfort while at the same time, boosting handling performance. It’s dubbed “symmetrical AWD” or “SAWD” because, when viewed from above, the layout and weight attributes of the system are almost entirely symmetrical front and back, left and right.

 Active Torque Split AWD


Active torque split AWD is a type of SAWD that uses an electronically-controlled transfer clutch to distribute torque between the front and rear axles. Subaru introduced the first variety of the system to its Subaru XT in 1987 to deliver 60 percent torque to the front wheels and 40 percent to the rear.

 Variable Torque Distribution AWD


Subaru realized that if it could adjust the torque distribution between from and rear wheels, it could reduce the understeer prevalent in AWD vehicles. The system could change the torque differential between the front and rear wheels from a 36 percent front, 64 percent rear, all the way to a 50:50 ratio.

 Multi-Mode Driver Control Center Differential AWD


Multi-Mode Driver Control Center Differential AWD, sometimes abbreviated DCCD AWD, is another torque sensing drive system developed by Subaru to improve the performance of its vehicles. The system uses a mechanical limited-slip differential and allows drivers to choose between two modes: automatic, and manual adjustment on the fly.


If you’re looking for a Long Island Subaru dealer with expert knowledge of Subaru AWD systems, then you’ve come to the right place. At South Shore Subaru, we can help you service or repair your AWD system today. Use us for Subaru, Long Island.





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