"You have an automatic four wheel drive, four wheel drive high, four wheel drive low, and of course, you have two wheel drive, front wheel drive, rear wheel drive," explains Don Bell, Sales Representative at Bob Wade Auto World.
To him, "transmission talk" is second nature. He understands the traction and torque that sets vehicles apart. But for many, the choices are confusing.
And when winter weather strikes, not knowing your car's ability to handle the elements may mean you’re trapped at home or stuck in snow.
Here are some tips for staying safe and driving smart: All cars are equipped with at least 2-wheel drive. This feature is fine for everyday driving.
Some cars have a special automatic feature called all wheel drive or control track, which automatically toggles between 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive when you encounter rough roads. When snow and ice are present, a manual 4-wheel drive high system allows drivers to handle the roads at normal driving speeds for limited distances.
And then there's 4-wheel drive low for hauling loads or getting out of real trouble spots, but you must travel at very slow speeds.
These options mean safety for drivers and sales for dealers. When bad weather hits, business is booming at area car dealerships. At Dallas Hollar Ford, sales of sports utility vehicles have tripled in the past week.
Ford salesman Bruce Webb says customers like the convenience and fuel-efficiency of vehicles that can automatically control themselves come rain or shine, snow or sleet.
If you're searching for all wheel drive and control track features by other car manufacturers, look also for terms like "real time" or "all track."