4 Wheel Drive Truck or 2 Wheel: 3 Things to Consider

3 Mins read

If you’re gonna drive a truck, you need to choose between 4 wheel drive and 2 wheel drive. This is a common distinction between vehicles, but many drivers don’t know the difference. The truth is most consumers can’t tell the difference between 4 wheel and 2 wheel drive. Both options will get you where you need to go as long as you stick to the road, but you’ll need to use 4-wheel drive if you plan on venturing through the wilderness. Don’t assume one option is better than the other. The decision all depends on your driving preferences and how much you can afford to spend.

2 Wheel Drive

Two-wheel drive means that the engine sends power to two wheels, either the front or the back. The other wheels will then spin as the truck moves.

Most pickup trucks come with rear-wheel drive, which means the vehicle sends power to the rear wheels instead of the front. This means the bulk of the weight shifts to the back. The rear-wheel drive can help improve acceleration. The rear wheels will start turning as soon as you hit the gas. Front-wheel drive tends to perform better than rear-wheel drive in wet, snowy conditions, but rear-wheel will come in handy when towing and hauling. Sending power to the rear wheels helps stabilize the load for better handling on the road.

4 Wheel Drive

The two-wheel-drive remains the standard on most passenger vehicles but an increasing number of drivers are looking to take their vehicles off-road. Automakers have been equipping more vehicles with 4 wheel drive to meet demand, including many pickup trucks.

Four-wheel drive sends power to all four wheels at the same time to improve handling and acceleration in off-road conditions. You will need the extra power to get up a steep hill or out of a mossy bog. Without 4 wheel drive, the other two tires won’t be able to help move your vehicle out of the mud or snow when you hit the gas.

There are three types of 4 wheel drive:

  • Automatic: The vehicle automatically switches between 4 wheel and 2 wheel drive depending on driving conditions.
  • Part-Time: The driver can manually switch from 4 wheel to 2 wheel based on driving conditions.
  • Full-Time: The vehicle keeps all four wheels engaged at all times.

Trucks with automatic or part-time 4 wheel drive offer better fuel efficiency. If you don’t need to engage all four wheels every time you hit the road, consider going with part-time or automatic instead.

4 Wheel Drive x 2 Wheel: Considerations to Keep in Mind

Keep these factors top of mind when making your decision:


Let’s start with the most pressing concern for most drivers. Four-wheel drive will always be more expensive than 2 wheel drive. These vehicles require more parts and fuel to power all four wheels at the same time. They cost more upfront, and you’ll need to pay more every time you refuel. They also tend to need more maintenance than 2 wheel vehicles, which means you’ll have to replace your diesel parts that much more often. This can put additional pressure on several parts and components, including the injections pressure regulator (IPR) valve. Replace your IPR valves ahead of schedule when towing heavy loads for long stretches of time.

When it comes to cost, it all depends on how much money you have in the bank. However, if you need a 4 wheel drive truck for work, don’t settle for a 2-wheel or it could end up costing you down the line.

Driving Conditions

Most drivers get by just fine with 2 wheel drive, even in the winter. If you spend most of your time driving to work, running errands, and avoiding unpaved surfaces, save your money and go with 2 wheel drive. The occasional snowstorm should disrupt your regular routine. For more peace of mind, consider adding rugged snow or all-terrain tires to your truck for more traction in the winter. You can still explore off-road settings, but make sure you upgrade your tires first.

On the other hand, you should invest in 4 wheel drive if you need to do serious hauling in all kinds of snowy conditions, including blizzards and floods. This is especially important for commercial vehicles that don’t have the luxury of staying home when the weather is bad.

Acceleration and Braking

Four-wheel drive trucks are much heavier than trucks with two-wheel drive, which means they can be a bit sluggish on the road. If you like to stay light on your feet and accelerate quickly, go with 2 wheel drive instead of 4. Some drivers make the mistake of assuming 4 wheel drive is faster than 2 wheel because they are powering all four wheels at once, but the added weight will only slow you down.

Having four wheels doesn’t increase braking distance. In some cases, it may even make it harder to stop on a dime. That’s why 4 wheel drive vehicles aren’t necessarily any safer than those with 2 wheel drive.

Regardless of which style you choose, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance to avoid costly repairs. If you are driving your truck for long periods of time or hauling heavy loads, remember to check the EGR cooler to make sure your vehicle complies with the latest regulations. Find replacement EGR coolers online to avoid emitting NOx into the air.

Make an informed decision when buying a truck to make sure you have the features you need without paying any more than you need to.

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