Drive-by Wire Vs Drive-by Cable: A Comparative Analysis

Digital integration has become a key component in streamlining the engine performance of the latest car models. Two systems that stand out in this regard include the drive-by-wire and drive-by cable systems. 

The choice between these two modules depends on the driver’s preference for the vehicle’s power generation. Their key differences lie in the following factors;

  • Power generation
  • Working process
  • System build

Our article will compare drive-by wire and drive-by cable and their characteristics in great detail to help you understand which will serve your purpose the best.

Drive-by Wire Vs Drive-by Cable

What is a Drive-by-Wire?


A drive-by-wire is a digital feature for the latest cars. It uses a cable to connect the throttle body to the gas and accelerator pedals. Various components like motor actuators and resistors make the car more responsive. 

Having drive-by wires in your cars allows the driver to easily accelerate in any terrain and driving condition. 

It provides accessibility to the throttle valve by placing a small motor between the cable and the throttle. 

Drive-by wires also create a safer driving experience for the driver. Its sensors help prevent crashes while also protecting you from hitting the windshield. 

Therefore, it’s easier to drive in tight spaces when having this system in place. 

Those who prefer convenience will appreciate the cars that have drive-by wires. It automates a lot of the engine functions of the vehicle. Moreover, it also lets you regulate the speed and fuel intake of the car effortlessly. 

What is a Drive-By Cable?

Drive-By Cable
Drive-By Cable

Drive-by cables are perfect for older drivers and those who prefer an old-school approach to driving vehicles the old-school way. It’s present in older models and provides full control to the driver in terms of controlling the car’s power.  

A more hands-on approach is necessary to drive cars with drive-by cables. A significant skill level is required to operate its cables and levers, which are vital for the car’s essential functions. 

It’s perfect for those who want to learn to drive correctly.

Many people prefer using the drive-by cable because it provides extensive flexibility in terms of control while cruising through the streets. 

It’s also affordable. Thus, it’s perfect for those who want to purchase a vehicle on a low budget.

Drive-by Wire Vs Drive-by Cable

Below are the key factors that differentiate drive-by wires from drive-by cables. Keep on reading to understand what separates the two of them apart. 

1. Operational Nature

The drive-by-wire is an intelligent system that makes key observations while driving through its sensors. 

It adjusts the car’s speed automatically and controls the power to avoid any possible accidents by collaborating with the car’s ECU. 

Drivers do not have to issue any commands to the drive-by-wire for it to operate properly. 

It automatically executes various commands while the car is operational and limits the necessary executions to smoothly drive the car.

Meanwhile, drive-by cables are more reactive by nature. Its efficiency relies on how well the driver is familiar with the various components of the system. The faster the driver controls it, the snappier its responses will get. 

2. Working Procedure

A major factor that differentiates the drive-by-wire from the drive-by cable is how it controls the throttle. 

The former is relatively simplistic, as it automatically activates the throttle the moment the driver puts his foot down on the paddle. 

Drive-by wires conduct throttle operations based on electrical cues. Pressing the pedal transmits signals to its sensors which are interpreted with the help of the car’s ECU.

On the other hand, the drive-by cable has a more analogue approach to running the throttle. Air intake and exhalation are directly influenced by the component, which streamlines and simplifies this particular aspect to a great extent. 

3. System Build & Maintenance

Longevity is a major factor to consider for a car’s internal components as purchasing replacements can be time-consuming and expensive. In this case, the drive-by-wire outshines the drive-by-wire cable.

The drive-by-wire significantly improves the car’s engine performance. Therefore, it also extends the component’s longevity greatly in comparison to the drive-by cable. 

However, it’s also worth noting that the drive-by-wire is significantly pricier than the drive-by cable. 

Furthermore, repairing it is a complicated process and you will have to hire a professional mechanic for the process to avoid more complications. 

Lastly, the drive-by-wire system is more barebones in nature, letting the car have a more impressive fuel mileage. Therefore, opting for it is the more feasible option if you have the budget for its maintenance and occasional replacements. 

4. Risks & Environmental Factors

A significant risk of using vehicles with digital systems is the risk of cyberattacks. Drive-by wires also bear this hazard and there’s a probability of getting hacked. There are no such problems with the drive-by cables because of their manual controls. 

However, the drive-by wires are preferable to those who are environmentally conscious. Cars with this system have low carbon emissions, while those with the DWC system are more environmentally harmful, an issue with older vehicles.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

What components are connected to the drive-by cable?

The drive-by cables connect a plethora of car parts including power steering, brake-by-wire, and electronic throttle. 

What are the components of the drive-by-wire?

Drive-by wires consist of many smaller parts including the master cylinder, brake booster, steering shaft, and hydraulic lines. 

Are drive-by wires more susceptible to failure than drive-by cables?

There’s a low chance of your car experiencing mechanical failure in comparison to electrical failure. Therefore, drive-by wires have a higher possibility of failure than drive-by cables. 


Considering all their features and pitfalls, the drive-by-wire is the superior choice due to its high-tech features. Furthermore, its automated functions help provide a more hassle-free and comfortable experience while driving. 

However, people with little to no driving experience will benefit more from using the drive-by cable since it’s more simplistic in nature. 

Therefore, the best choice for a person greatly depends on their own driving skills. 

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