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Quick Car FAQs: Sunroofs, Moonroofs, and the Mystery of All-wheel Drive vs. Four-wheel Drive

If you are checking out all the beautiful rides for sale down on the Beach Boulevard of Cars, you might be wondering what all the descriptions on the sticker really mean. Let’s sort out some common items found on many vehicles available on the market so you can make a smarter selection when it is time for a new car.

Sunroof/Moonroof: Is there a Difference?

Technically, yes. However, this is one of the most commonly mislabeled features listed in online inventory, stickers, and even factory websites. If it really matters to you, check out the sunroof, or moonroof, in person.  Both allow light and air into the vehicle, but only one opens all the way.

A sunroof usually has a solid moving panel inside that blocks out the tinted or clear glass panel. In earlier sunroofs, you could manually pull the glass panel back to allow fresh air into the cockpit. On most modern cars, sunroofs now are able to tilt or slide all the way open with a push of a power button.

A moonroof will appear virtually the same as the sunroof when closed. The big difference is that a traditional moonroof will only tilt or slide open a few inches, blowing in some fresh air without opening the entire top to the elements.

Now, with dual-pane and panoramic sunroofs and moonroofs coming onto the market, the line between the two products becomes even more blurred as more function and conveniences are added.  If you are buying a vintage ride, the words sun and moon will mean more compared to a car built in the last decade.

All-Wheel Drive vs. 4-Wheel Drive: Mystery Solved

Your traditional 4-door sedan probably has front-wheel drive (FWD), meaning that the power from the engine is transferred to the front axles when you put down the pedal. The rear wheels literally are just rolling along. Some sports cars still offer rear-wheel drive (RWD) which has all the power to move the car directed to the back to push it along.  It is more common now to find AWD or 4X4 listed on sedans, SUVs, and many trucks. Both offer superior traction and control compared to FWD or RWD, but are not the same technology and offer different abilities.

Four-wheel drive locks together all four wheels and when you put down the pedal, all four wheels will try to move the vehicle forward using the same amount of power. This is awesome for maintaining traction over snow-covered or graveled roads and unpaved muddy trails. The driver generally uses a selector to engage and disengage four-wheel drive as conditions require.

All-wheel drive also sends power to all 4 corners, however, each wheel is able to get traction independently. This places less stress on the mechanics of the car so that AWD is able to be used for daily driving, delivering confidence to the pilot over many types of road conditions. Some all-wheel drive systems are able to engage and disengage automatically when road conditions change. It is the smarter option, but for off-road work, the 4X4 design is better able to stand up to extreme use.

If you have more questions about a feature or capability of a vehicle found on the lot or online, give your dealer on the Beach Boulevard of Cars in Huntington Beach, CA a call today. We’ll be happy to help.

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