Common Car Misconceptions

April 6th, 2023 by

Woman shrugging her shoulders in a car, confused about something

We understand that buying a car is a big deal! Considering price, size, style, fuel efficiency, reliability, and more can feel a bit overwhelming. That’s why at Landers Toyota in Little Rock, Arkansas, our goal is to make the process as simple as possible.

Part of simplifying the vehicle buying process is breaking down common car jargon. You want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting — words that often seem interchangeable can actually refer to very different features! Some of these misconceptions are trivial, but some are vital to understanding the safety and capability of your vehicle. Before you commit to a car, be sure you know the difference between the following terms!

Boy gazing out of the moonroof of a 2023 Toyota Highlander from Landers Toyota in Little Rock, AR

Sunroof vs Moonroof

These two features have an interesting history. The “sunroof” came first, referring to an opaque panel that could be propped open or removed to let in air and sunlight. This panel was traditionally made of canvas or metal, designed to match the interior of the vehicle. The original sunroof did not include any glass — it was either completely closed (letting in no light) or completely open to the elements.

Then, in 1973, Lincoln introduced a glass roof with a sliding sunshade, with marketing executive John Atkinson coining the term “moonroof.” This means that any glass roof, whether it opens or is static, is technically a moonroof. These terms are used interchangeably because almost no vehicles are made with a traditional sunroof anymore.

Enjoy Your Sunroof or Moonroof at These Arkansas Parks

A white 2023 Toyota Tundra driving off-road on rocky terrain

AWD vs 4WD

This one is an important distinction! AWD (all-wheel drive) is designed to be used on-road. It uses an internal system to monitor and adjust how much engine torque the front and rear axles receive. Full-time AWD delivers some amount of power to both axles at all times, while part-time AWD delivers all of the engine torque to either the front or rear. Either way, this system automatically adjusts torque and responds to slippage in real-time. 

Shop Vehicles with AWD

On the other hand, 4WD (4-wheel drive, 4×4, etc.) is designed to be used off-road. This feature locks the front and rear axles, delivering an equal amount of power to all four wheels at the same time. This means if one wheel slips, the others continue forward at the same speed. Almost every vehicle requires that the driver engage and disengage 4WD — there is no automatic system. 

Shop Vehicles with 4WD

2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid at the Certified Pre-owned section of Landers Toyota in Little Rock, Arkansas

Used vs Certified Pre-Owned

Outside of car buying, these words are synonyms. However, on the lot, there is a big difference! “Used” (or just “pre-owned”) refers to any vehicle that has been owned by another driver, whether it’s last year’s model or was made in 1989. “Certified pre-owned,” or CPO as we like to call it, refers to a vehicle that is used, but has undergone a significant inspection and reconditioning process. Certified pre-owned vehicles are held to higher standards, are guaranteed to come with important paperwork, and are backed by excellent warranties. While a used vehicle can still be very high quality, you get a little more peace of mind when you buy certified pre-owned.

Learn More About Our Certified Pre-Owned Program

Have more questions about a specific feature? Need help deciding which car is right for you? Don’t hesitate to stop by or call Landers Toyota in Little Rock, Arkansas. Our top-notch team is always happy to help!

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Posted in Car Tips