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Do Automatic Cars With Four-Wheel Drive Transmissions Need Specialised Care?

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An automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive can make for the perfect driving combination. By having both an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, you've got a super smooth ride as well as the ability to handle rougher territory when necessary. Whilst automatic 4-wheel drive transmissions are becoming more and more common due to their significant benefits, you do need to be aware that this type of vehicle might require a bit of extra care. Here's what you need to know about the type of care that a combination automatic transmission and four-wheel drive car can require.

The Brakes

An automatic four-wheel drive auto can often sustain extra brake system damage whilst you're travelling on challenging terrain, even though a four-wheel drive is technically made for tough terrain. Travelling up a steep incline can cause damage from flying rocks as well as regular wear and tear to an automatic four-wheel drive vehicle. Whilst automatic front or rear wheel car brakes sustain damage at a slower rate, a four-wheel drive automatic car can end up with brake damage quite quickly if you're often on very challenging terrain. This could mean brake repairs sooner than you expected if you're tough on your vehicle. 

The Transmission Fluid and Engine Oil Changes

Most automatic four-wheel drive vehicles go through extra stress when compared to front- or rear-wheel drive vehicles. Whilst the stress might not be constant, it may still be enough to necessitate more frequent transmission fluid and engine oil changes. Your mechanic might normally recommend oil changes for newer vehicles at around every 8000 kilometres, but having both an automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive may move that recommendation down to around the 4800-5000 kilometre mark. If you regularly engage your four-wheel drive on rough roads or whilst driving off road, be prepared for the possibility of more regular transmission fluid and engine oil changes (and the costs that come along with that). 

The Engine Wear and Tear

The engine of your vehicle is affected by your choice between four-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive. The heaviest of these choices, the four-wheel drive, causes extra stress to the engine. Whilst this is true in both manual and automatic vehicles, automatic four-wheel drives may be the heavier of the two and thus the more likely to result in stress-related damage to the engine. Whilst it's not necessarily a given, you do need to plan for the possibility of extra engine maintenance if you drive your four-wheel drive automatic transmission car a lot.

Considering an automatic transmission and four-wheel drive vehicle? Keep the information regarding maintenance discussed above in mind whilst you search for your next car—it can help you keep your new car in tip top shape once you get it home!