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Chevrolet Silverado 1500 AWD or 4WD

What type of wheel drive system does a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 use?

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

By Years

Is Chevrolet Silverado 1500 AWD, 4WD or FWD?

How do the 4-wheel drive (4WD) and the all-wheel (AWD) differ from each other? You almost definitely have seen those two words in the list of available features if you ever searched for a new car, truck, crossover, or SUV, but do you know what they mean? Comparing 4WD versus AWD vehicles is a perfect way to show each positive and negative feature and recognize the better one.

The 4-wheel drive mechanism is mostly used in trucks and SUVs and is intended to tackle severe lane, weather, and track conditions. Many 4WD versions provide a part-time system that can be engaged at the turn of a dial. Once enabled, power is sent through the transmission to a transfer case, delivering maximum torque to each wheel equally. As a result, each wheel turns at the same speed, and your vehicle will continue going forward in the most extreme off-road conditions. A bad thing about the four-wheel-drive system is that the handling can be unmanageable under dry conditions, especially when turning.

We recommend AWD if you are searching for better efficiency and traction in your daily driving situations. All-wheel drive is a full-time feature that utilizes a rear differential, which splits torque between the front and rear axles via a center differential and then between individual wheels using front and rear differentials. It improves efficiency under optimal road conditions and automatically delivers more torque to wheels with better traction when road and weather conditions are bad. AWD cars are positive in several aspects, but they are not built to cope with more extreme cases, and they will limit fuel performance.

In the Silverado 1500 truck, Chevrolet now uses a four-wheel-drive system as standard. It features an Autotrac 2-speed transfer case with 2-Hi, 4-Hi, 4-Lo, and Auto, that last setting a fully automatic mode that activates 4WD without driver action. 

Now we have to clear up the difference between 4-Hi and 4-Lo. For extra grunt, while caught in mud or plowing through deep snow, moving the transfer case into 4-Lo (or 4L) will match the engine’s torque to a lower gear ratio. The effect is slow-moving tires with loads of power. In 4-Hi (4H), the drivetrain uses a higher gear ratio, rendering it ideal for everyday travel and highway speeds.

The Silverado also uses an auto 4WD. This type of transmission is included only when it’s necessary. However, instead of the driver, the automation does it. The connection is realized using a viscous coupling or multidisk coupling under the control of electronics. The second bridge is included when the wheels of the main drive axle slip.

As for the all-wheel-drive system, in Chevrolet Silverado, it’s an optional feature. It’s a drive system that employs a front, rear, and center differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle. The AWD Silverado, equipped with a diesel engine, offers not excellent fuel-saving ratings as the 4WD Silverado – with 4WD, it delivers 23 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. With AWD, this number will drop down to 26 mpg. 


Can you go off-road with AWD Chevrolet Silverado 1500? Yes, but we'd recommend you don't go too far in one. Lighter and lower than 4WDs, AWD vehicles are well suited to driving along gravel tracks, formed trails and tackling light-duty off-roading.

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