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Four Wheel Drive and All Wheel Drive Powertrains


Performs three functions:

  • Change the direction of the driving power.
  • Final gear reduction.
  • Allow drive wheels to rotate at different speeds when cornering.


Uses gears to transmit power from the engine to the drive wheels. Selecting different gears changes the amount of power and torque transmitted.

Propeller shaft

On front engine rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive vehicles, the propeller shaft transmits power from the transmission to the rear differential.

* Driven wheels will vary by model.

Transfer case

Receives power from the transmission and sends it to both the front and rear axles. Some models have driver selectable 2WD/4WD modes, some are full time 4WD and others are controlled automatically (AWD).


A transaxle is a transmission and differential combined into one unit, used in front-wheel drive and some all-wheel-drive vehicles.


Transmits power from the differential to the wheel.