Rear Wheel Drive


rear wheel drive

Rear wheel drive vehicles contain a long drive shaft that transmit the power from the engine to the wheels at the back. This configuration comes with a few advantages, mostly that it is simple and rugged, particularly when the axel is solid. This reduces the risk of needing to repair your car, especially if you hit potholes or curbs that can damage your car, and has a much higher risk for vehicles with front wheel drive configuration. This is one of the reasons why a lot of service vehicles have this set up.

Rear wheel drive cars also have a better balance and are easier to handle. Where the main axel is at the back of the car with the driving wheels, the weight is more evenly distributed across the body where a front wheel drive car tends to put a lot more weight in the front of the body where they combine the transmission and axle into one unit. This is particularly effective in sports cars and tends to result in a quicker acceleration, and is one of the reasons that almost all race cars have rear wheel drive configuration. This is because there is more weight at the back of the car which pushes the driving tires down into the road.
When approaching corners in a front wheel drive car, one would usually have to slow down a little to take control, whereas in a rear wheel drive you have the ability to overwhelm the rear tires with power which can effectively point the nose of the car towards the apex, and by putting the power on the back tires, the front tires only have to manage steering instead of both the driving and steering, giving you more control. When the front wheels have to do both the driving and the steering, one can effect the other, creating a problem called “Torque Steering”.
Also, because of this improved balance, rear wheel drive vehicles tend to brake better and quicker. They tend to ride better and feel more nimble and sporty.
The disadvantages are mostly to do with traction. When surfaces are wet or icy, rear wheel drive cars are very difficult to control and can be very dangerous to drive. This is because, while the weight is more evenly distributed, there is less weight on the driving wheels, pushing them into the road to gain traction. Under heavy acceleration it is quite easy to oversteer and fishtail, although this can be used advantageously for drifting. Rear wheel drive cars also tend to be slightly more expensive to build as front wheel drive have a cheaper setup.
Not so much a practical advantage, but when you see a car in a movie with the rear wheels spinning create mountains of smoke from the asphalt, that is done with a rear wheel drive car. Other aesthetically pleasing effects are fishtail drifting, tire squeal and burnouts, which are only possible with this configuration. None of these are particularly healthy for your tires, or for timid ears of elderly people, but can be very satisfying to pull off.


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