GIFs visualizing AWD, 4WD, ABS, horsepower, torque and other Car buzzwords

Horsepower, traction control, torque, AWD, 4WD these terms are easier said than understood. All this cars jargon might seem unsettling but you may get a good grasp of what they really mean with these visual GIFs to upgrade your info on cars.


ABS or Anti-lock braking system is a car safety feature which kicks in when the driver pushes hard on the pedal preventing the wheels from locking up or skidding uncontrollably. It using a system of gradual braking, which can apply or release the brakes 15 times a second. This pulsating brake reduces the chance of skidding or wheel locking during a sudden panic brake.

ABS - Anti Lock Braking System
Courtesy: Youtube video link

Traction Control

Traction control eliminates wheel spin or loss of wheel grip when accelerating from rest or when climbing steep slopes. It helps to keep the vehicle in control on slippery surfaces.

Traction Control OFF

Traction Control ON

Traction Control OFF Traction Control ON

Courtesy: Youtube video link

Electronic Stability Control (ESC or ESP)

When cruising at high speeds a sudden sharp steer can cause the vehicle to spin out of lane or in the worst case turn over. Stability control helps by applying brakes instantly or reducing the engine power to the wheel under stress  to avoid the vehicle from steering out.

Electronic Stability Control - ESC, ESP
Courtesy: Youtube video link

Cruise Control

Cruise control is a system which controls the speed of the vehicle automatically without the need for the driver to keep his foot on the pedal. It is useful when driving long distances on a freeway.

Cruise Control
Courtesy: Youtube video link


4 wheel drive or 4×4 are type of vehicles which deliver power to all their 4 wheels. In 4WD the power is delivered equally to all the wheels, this results in increased power but poor handling around corners. In All wheel drive or AWD the power is delivered to all wheels but through a differential which allows to variate the power delivered to each wheel. This provides better handling and control over the vehicle.

The GIF demonstrates how AWD acts around corners, AUDI R8 AWD while a Porche 911 rear wheel drive.



Torque is the turning force which the engines produces. The greater the torque, the greater the force it produces. Heavy load hauling vehicles such as trucks have high torque values, since they need force to get the heavy load moving.

Torque truck


Putting in easy terms, Horsepower is the rate at which Torque is delivered. The greater the horsepower, the faster the car.

The corvette stingray delivers 590 hp but only 558 lb ft of torque.

A MACK MP8 truck has 505 hp with 1860 lb ft of torque.

horsepower hotwheels

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