What is four wheeler, four wheel drive, 4WD, 4x4, AWD, ATV, Off-road vehicle or a dune buggy?
Do you know the difference between four wheeler, four wheels drive, 4WD, 4x4, AWD, ATV, Off-road vehicle and dune buggy? They may all look the same, they may share same similarities, and they may be sometimes placed into a wrong category. So what are really those vehicles and how are they different? What would you like to find if you are looking for cheap four wheelers for sale under 600 dollars?
By definition four wheeler means a vehicle with 4 wheels. That’s mean your car is also a four wheeler, because it has 4 wheels, right? But if your car is a Honda Civic and you’ll try to place it as a Honda four wheeler for sale on eBay, you will be definitely in wrong category. So what is really a four wheeler?
That does depend who you ask. If you look on Four Wheeler Magazine it means that four wheelers are any off road four wheel drive trucks or SUVs. But if you look in eBay under “Four Wheelers For Sale”, you’ll find that four wheeler is an ATV also called all-terrain vehicle. ATV Trader online will also place a four wheelers for sale in ATV categories and all the four wheeler parts for sale are mostly ATV parts.
If you look on “Ohio River Four Wheelers” web site, you will find out that for them it means mostly Jeep. Some other website will include Buggy or Buggy type vehicles such as dune buggy in four wheelers categories. What about if you search for “four wheeler racing games”? You may actually find that in those games those vehicles are Monster Trucks. What about if you need “four wheeler theme birthday party supplies”? You are on your own.
As you can see, it does not have only one category. If you would like to place it in one category, it will be an Off Road Vehicle. If you go more specific, you can place it in street legal or not street legal off road vehicles. Street legal categories will include all trucks, SUVs and vans with four wheel drive. Non street legal four wheelers will include all ATV, and buggy type vehicles. Now we will get a closer look on what exactly is an Off Road Vehicle.
An off-road vehicle is considered to be any type of vehicle which is capable of driving on and off paved or gravel surface. It is generally characterized by having large tires with deep, open treads and a flexible suspension, or even caterpillar tracks. Other vehicles that do not travel public streets or highways are generally termed off-highway vehicles, which would include tractors, forklifts, cranes, backhoes, bulldozers and Golf carts.
Off-road vehicles have a lot of followers because of their many uses and versatility. You can find Off Road Vehicles in magazine, clubs, TV shows and in four wheeler racing competition. The three largest "4 wheeler vehicle" off-road types of competitions are Rally, Desert Racing, and Rock Crawling.
The most common use of off road vehicles is for sightseeing in areas distant from pavement. The use of higher clearance and higher traction vehicles enables access on trails and forest roads that have rough and low traction surfaces. Not all of the Off-Road vehicles are street legal. Some states and countries prohibit driving of ATV or buggies on streets.
Off Road Vehicle does not necessary has to have four wheels. It could have only tree wheels or two, which will be a motorcycle. That also means that an off-road vehicle does not have to have four wheel drive 4x4 or AWD. And that bring us to the next question:
What is Four-wheel drive, 4WD, 4x4 or AWD vehicle?
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, 4x4 ("four by four"), or AWD ("all wheel drive") is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drive train that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously. While many people associate the term with off-road vehicles and Sport utility vehicles, you can find four wheel drives in a lot of sports car including Lamborghini, which you most likely wouldn’t take off road.
You can also find four wheel drives in a 4 wheel drive golf cart, which is not intended for racing. Basically, powering all four wheels provides better control in normal road cars on many surfaces, and is an important part of racing and off road driving.
In abbreviations such as 4x4, the first figure is normally taken as the total number of wheels and the second is normally taken as the number of powered wheels (the numbers are actually axle-ends to allow for more than one wheel on each end of an axle). 4x2 means a four-wheel vehicle in which engine power is transmitted to only two axle-ends: the front two - in front-wheel drive, or the rear two - in rear-wheel drive.
To make thing more complicated, "four-wheel drive" is not always referred to four wheel drives, but it also refers to a capability that a vehicle may have, it is also used to denote the entire vehicle itself. In Australia, vehicles without significant off-road capabilities are often referred to as All-Wheel Drives (AWD) or SUVs, while those with off-road capabilities are referred to as "four-wheel drives". But in North America, some of the SUVs and pickup trucks are called four wheel drives, but they actually have only two wheels drive.
4WD versus AWD
The term four-wheel drive describes truck-like vehicles that may allow the driver to manually switch (sometimes with an automatic option) between two-wheel drive mode (if available) for streets and four-wheel drive mode for low traction conditions such as ice, mud, snow, slippery surfaces, or loose gravel
All-wheel drive (AWD) is often used to describe a "full time" 4WD that may be used on dry pavement without destroying the drive train, although the term may be abused when marketing a vehicle. AWD can be used on dry pavement because it employs a center differential, which allows each tire to rotate at a different speed. "Full-Time" 4WD can be disengaged and the center differential can be locked, essentially turning it into regular 4WD.
On the other hand, AWD cannot be disengaged and differentials cannot be locked. This eliminates driveline binding, wheel hop, and other driveline issues associated with the use of 4WD on dry pavement. With vehicles with more than four wheels, AWD means all wheels drive the vehicle, to varying degrees of engagement, while 4WD means only four of the wheels drive the vehicle continuously.
ATV – All Terrain Vehicles
An all-terrain vehicle (ATV), informally referred to as a quad bike or quad, is defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a vehicle that travels on low pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control.
As the name implies, it is designed to handle a wider variety of terrain than most other vehicles. Although it is a street-legal vehicle in some countries, it is not street legal within most states and provinces of Australia, the United States and Canada.
By the current ANSI definition, it is intended for use by a single operator, although you can find an ATV with two seats. The rider sits on and operates these vehicles like a motorcycle, but the extra wheels give more stability at slower speeds. ATV can also have different amount of wheels. Although typically equipped with three or four wheels, six-wheel models exist for specialized applications.