How To Tell If A Vehicle Is Awd

How To Tell If A Car Is Awd All in one Photos
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How to Tell if a Vehicle is AWD


When purchasing a vehicle, it’s important to understand its drivetrain configuration. One of the most popular choices available today is all-wheel drive (AWD). AWD vehicles provide better handling and traction, especially in adverse weather conditions. However, it can be challenging to determine if a vehicle is equipped with AWD or not, as manufacturers often use different terminology and labeling. In this article, we will discuss some easy ways to tell if a vehicle is AWD.

Check the Manufacturer’s Specifications

The first and most reliable way to determine if a vehicle is AWD is to check the manufacturer’s specifications. The specifications can be found in the owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Look for keywords such as “AWD”, “4WD”, or “All-Wheel Drive”. These terms indicate that the vehicle is equipped with AWD.

Inspect the Exterior Badging

Manufacturers often label AWD vehicles with specific badges or emblems on the exterior. Look for badges that say “AWD”, “4MATIC” (used by Mercedes-Benz), “xDrive” (used by BMW), or “Quattro” (used by Audi). These badges are usually located on the back of the vehicle or on the side near the fenders.

Examine the Center Console

Inside the vehicle, check the center console for any controls or buttons related to the drivetrain. AWD vehicles typically have a button or dial that allows the driver to switch between different modes, such as “2WD” (two-wheel drive), “4WD” (four-wheel drive), or “AWD”. If you see such controls, it’s a good indication that the vehicle is equipped with AWD.

Look for Auxiliary Gauges

In some AWD vehicles, manufacturers include auxiliary gauges on the dashboard or instrument cluster. These gauges provide information about the vehicle’s power distribution to each wheel, allowing the driver to monitor the AWD system’s performance. If you spot additional gauges indicating power distribution, it’s likely that the vehicle has AWD.

Review Online Vehicle Listings

If you are considering purchasing a used vehicle, you can also check online vehicle listings. Many websites provide detailed information about the vehicle’s features, including its drivetrain. Look for listings that explicitly mention AWD or any of the previously mentioned terms. However, it’s always recommended to verify this information with the seller or dealership before making a final decision.

Consult with a Mechanic

If you still have doubts about whether a vehicle is AWD or not, it’s best to consult with a mechanic. A qualified mechanic can inspect the vehicle and provide accurate information about its drivetrain configuration. They can also identify any aftermarket modifications that might affect the drivetrain’s performance.


Identifying whether a vehicle is equipped with AWD can be crucial in making an informed purchase decision. By checking the manufacturer’s specifications, inspecting the exterior badging, examining the center console, looking for auxiliary gauges, reviewing online vehicle listings, and consulting with a mechanic, you can determine if a vehicle is AWD or not. Remember to consider your specific needs and preferences to ensure you choose the right drivetrain configuration for your driving requirements.