All-wheel drives allow all four wheels of the buses to spin at the same speed and at the same time and prevent skidding. Some smaller and lighter vehicles have all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive because of their easy maneuverability and traction on the road.
Do Buses Have All-Wheel Drive? Buses usually do not have all-wheel drive, but they are equipped with rear-wheel drive. RWD is present in them to decrease the wear and tear on the front tire, the presence of cargo space and engine at the backside, and passenger weight. In addition, there is no need for a propeller shaft, making the bus faster and providing better stopping.
Some smaller school buses also have the FWD and AWD because they are smaller. In addition, these also move in hilly areas having snowy and rainy weather, which increases tire skidding chances.
Why buses do not have all-wheel drive?
Some of the smaller school buses have all-wheel drive to provide better traction and safety to kids. Smaller ones are usually used in mountainy and hilly areas for trips, and their tires need more traction on uneven and snowy roads.
Most of these larger vehicles have more weight and larger sizes and do not have all-wheel drive. In addition, people mostly drive them on paved roads, and there is no need for better traction. However, they have air suspension that delivers a good riding experience.
Moreover, AWD installation is a more costly procedure than standard 2-wheel drive. The addition of AWD increases the overall cost of the vehicles and reduces their demand in the market.
These have larger chassis, and you cannot add the AWD in the larger frame because it can cause issues in power transfer. AWD increase their overall weight and makes their turn at tight spaces because of the increased turning radius.
Most buses have rear-wheel drive components for better traction and control.
Why do buses have rear-wheel drive?
Most of the buses have rear-wheel drive for comfortable and smooth driving conditions according to the size and design of these vehicles. In addition, you are not taking them for off-roading, so RWD is enough to maintain the traction of tires.
Cargo space at the rear side
Cargo space in larger buses is present on the rear side, and tires need more power to run. The cargo spaces put more load on the backside of the vehicles because of the weight of the cargo.
The back tires need more force to push them forward, and RWD allows equal distribution in this situation to provide a smooth ride.
It reduces the chances of damage to the front tires by evenly distributing the weight. Chances of wear and tear on front tires increase when you have an FWD configuration.
Steering components and FWD configuration put stress on wheels and increase the chances of their wear and tear. You can distribute the load and decrease the strain on the front wheels by adding the RWD.
Engines on backside
The engine in most large buses is located on the backside to free up the front side of the passenger cabin. These take up more space when you install them on the front side and make the passenger cabin congested.
The engine and RWD configuration on the backside becomes beneficial for better acceleration and increased braking system efficiency.
The power and torque from the engine directly move to the rear wheels for their fast spinning, which provides better acceleration and deceleration on roads.
Rear-wheel drive is beneficial in school buses because of the overall weight distribution on the rear tires. These need more force to spin because of the heavy weight on them.
The front side only contains the weight of the driver and different steering components. These are beneficial for larger vehicles that carry more passengers from one place to another and have more weight on the rear tires.
It maintains the traction of back tires and provides more pushing force to move them forward.
Working in smaller places
Most buses work in smaller places like warehouses, boarding areas, and bus stands. These points have less space for their maneuverability.
Sometimes you feel difficulty in their tuning because of the tight spaces. Rear-wheel drive is best in this situation because of its decreased turning radius compared to the AWD.
AWD increases the overall turning radius, making it challenging to turn your vehicles in small spaces.
Beneficial for inclined surfaces
Rear wheel drive configuration in larger buses is beneficial when driving on inclined surfaces. The vehicle’s weight shifts towards the rear side when you move on hills and inclined surfaces.
It provides better traction and grip for rear wheels on the road and prevents them from slipping. It maintains balance during driving by distributing the weight between the front and rear axles.
The engine directly sends power to the rear wheels, which push the vehicles forward on the inclined surfaces. Moreover, it provides better braking control.
No need for a propeller shaft
There is no need to install the propeller shaft when your buses have an RWD configuration. A propeller shaft is needed in FWD and AWD to transfer the power to the rear wheels.
These shafts run across the length of the vehicle to transfer power and take up more space. The absence of a proper shaft also decreases ground clearance and improves fuel economy.
The ride becomes more stable and comfortable because of the reduction of ground clearance. In addition, the absence of a propeller shaft in the RWD configuration also provides more space inside the passenger cabin. The interior cabin becomes larger because of the free-up space.
Make buses faster
Rear-wheel drive is present in most buses to make their acceleration better. Your vehicle moves faster when you accelerate them slightly because of the increased power from the engine.
Its engine provides power to the rear wheel, which provides pushing force instead of pulling and allows equal weight distribution on all wheels.
Wheels spin faster, even on slippery and wet road surfaces. In addition, torque and engine power are transferred directly to the back wheels, which provide better acceleration and control.
The acceleration improves because fewer drivetrain losses reduce the power transferred to the rear wheels.
Brakes work better
Rear-wheel drive in buses provides better stopping conditions instead of front-wheel drive. It increases the working efficiency of the braking components, including brakes, rotors, and pads.
It increases the stopping distance and decreases the collision risk on the road. The working efficiency of the braking system increases because of the even distribution of weight on four tires.
You can apply brakes quickly under heavy loads without the chance of skidding tires. Even weight distribution provides better traction and stability to the tires, which offers better stopping conditions.
What are the disadvantages of rear-wheel drive in buses?
Rear-wheel drive in buses is difficult to handle rather than a fun experience during driving. It decreases your vehicle’s interior and cargo space because its parts are underneath the trunk area.
It provides pushing forces rather than pulling, slightly affecting the stability and control on wet and snowy roads.
The fuel economy of these larger and heavier vehicles is less, increasing your fuel cost. RWD exerts more pressure on the drivetrain components and increases fuel consumption.
Sometimes, it also affects the comfortability of the ride during accelerating and decelerating because of not absorbing the vibrations from the road.
These have more complex parts that are difficult to maintain and consume more time. The maintenance cost also decreases because of the complexity of the drivetrain components and the pressure on the rear axle.