TechTalk Volvo AWD

Published on May 2nd, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Volvo All Wheel Drive Systems Explained

In case you want to take your Volvo SUV off road this coming week.

When the name Volvo is mentioned, it is always followed by the word safety. Yes, Volvo Cars are famous for their safety features and Volvo engineers from the start of business have been bringing innovate safety features for moving objects with the idea of sharing vehicle safety with the rest of the automotive world.


It started with the simple seat belt. Yes, Volvo engineer, Nils Bohlin invented the 3-point safety belt for Volvo which became the most effective lifesaver in traffic for sixty-one years now and Volvo released the patent to the automotive world for free. 

Volvo Seat Belt

Staying On The Road

Volvo’s All Wheel Drive (AWD) systems provide enhanced performance in slippery road conditions and bad weather. The AWD system gives you more precise handling when traveling on wet or icy tarmac. When you’re on dry tarmac, the Volvo system switches to the front wheels for the best fuel efficiency and stability. 

There are several different variations of Volvo AWD systems. The first one used was called the GKN Viscous Coupler. The next five variations are all generations of the Haldex AWD system. Modern Volvos from 2009 on typically have fourth and fifth-generation Haldex AWD systems. As these are the most current, let’s take a look at how they work.

Volvo V90 off road

AWD From Haldex

The Haldex Fourth Generation AWD system is almost the same as the third-generation system, except that it gets rid of the mechanical, hydraulic pump. The third generation was the first pro-active Volvo AWD system, and the fourth generation is the same. As soon as you start the engine, an electric pump gives advance pressure to the transfer clutch in the AWD system.

Once the computer responsible for traction control senses slippage from the wheels, the clutch immediately engages and throws torque to the rear wheels. Since the clutch already has pressure behind it, this is an instant response. That’s why Volvo markets the AWD system as Instant Traction.

The fifth generation of the Haldex AWD system offers a more straightforward construction and tighter component integration. Previous generations of the AWD system used mechanical or electronic pump sets to control the pressure. The fifth-generation only uses a hydraulic pump controlled by a computer, which eliminates the need for the accumulators and solenoids.

Volvo V80 off road

If you would like to learn more about Volvo AWD systems and how they work visit the many Volvo cars showroom nationwide and test drive a Volvo with a sales person.

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