How to lock the differential of your Jeep Wrangler JK (2023)

if you have oneJeep WranglerJK, then you know that one of the most important maintenance tasks is to regularly check and adjust your differential. The differential is responsible for distributing power to the wheels, and if not properly adjusted, it can lead to premature tire and suspension wear. One way to help prolong the life of your differential is to lock it regularly. The differential lock prevents the wheels from spinning at different speeds, which can cause excessive wear. To lock the diff, you will first need to find the lock pin. The lock pin is located on the side of the differential. Once you have located the locking pin, you will need to insert a small piece of metal into the hole in the center of the pin. Once the metal is in place, you will need to turn the locking pin clockwise until it is tight. You will know the locking pin is tight when you can no longer turn it with your fingers. Now that the locking pin is in place, you can reinstall the differential cover. Make sure the cap is on tight and secure before you hit the road. Following these steps can help extend the life of your Jeep Wrangler JK's differential.

Do Jeep Wranglers have a locking differential?

How to lock the differential of your Jeep Wrangler JK (1)

in mostJeep Wranglers, the differential lock is activated by a switch on the panel. Once the switch is turned on, the locking differential will remain engaged until the switch is turned off again. There are some Jeep Wranglers that have an automatic locking differential, which will engage the locking differential when the vehicle shifts to four-wheel drive.

There are some perplexing questions about the locking differential. What does this have to do with it? Does a Jeep have a locking differential? If so, why? The vast majority of people don't. All Jeeps have front and rear shared power.rear axleswhen using the 4 wheel drive system. In this short video you will learn how to use the differential lock in your Jeep.

Each Jeep model has a different trail rating, but each has a different rating. The trail rating is determined by terrain testing that the model can complete in a reasonable amount of time. Some jeeps are designed with front wheel drive but are still classified as trail. The vehicle is designed for weekend use and not for outdoor adventures. When using a differential, the distance from the center of the axle to the tire has an impact on its resistance. TOtire differentialsends energy to the path closest to the least resistant when it hits a piece of sand. If the differential is used, you will notice that the difficulty of going from A to B is also affected.

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A locked differential allows you to push both tires at the same time, regardless of road resistance, similar to how you push a single axle by pushing both tires at the same time. It can be helpful to climb a ravine or get stuck in the mud when using this setting. Jeeps, in addition to having an automatic setting, can even be equipped with one that automatically unlocks therear differentialat a specific speed, such as 27 miles per hour.

What Jeep Wrangler has lockers?

In addition, the Rubicon includes electronic lockers for the front andrear axles, which physically lock the wheels together.

How do I know if my Jeep has a differential lock?

How to lock the differential of your Jeep Wrangler JK (2)

To engage the differential lock in a Jeep, first place the vehicle in neutral. Then apply the brakes and hold them down. Then shift to a low gear. Finally, press the keydifferential lock buttonThe button light will come on to indicate that the differential lock is engaged.

When driving with locked diffs, you can turn by positively engaging both tires on one axle, rather than one slipping and the other staying put. OnlyJeep Wrangler RubiconIt comes equipped with the locking differentials which are located in the cabinet. The lockers can be installed in any of many different models, so you may choose a more expensive model to install. The Jeep Lockers, which can be used to get out of difficult situations such as mud, sand and uneven terrain, facilitate direct passage. If you intend to go off-road, you must have your Jeep's Jeep lockers installed. In 2WD mode, power is transmitted to the rear axle of the Jeep only.

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How does a locking differential work?

How to lock the differential of your Jeep Wrangler JK (3)

When the differential is locked, locking differentials (also known as "lockers") provide 100% of the available torque to the drive wheel. A locking differential works similarly to an open differential in corners, allowing the wheels to spin at different speeds depending on the position of the differential.

A locking differential, also known as a locker, is a type of differential that differs from astandard automotive differential. Under certain conditions, a wheel cannot be differentiated in its speed from another wheel on the same axis. Cabinets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including automatic and selectable. Automatically lock and unlock using automated lockers that do not require the user to enter any information directly from the driver. When the speed of a wheel is different from that of the driveshaft, an autolock uses an internal governor to determine the difference or responds to torque input from the driveshaft. The differential can be locked and unlocked in the locker chosen by the driver. Some locking differentials have been known to make a clicking or knocking noise when the vehicle is cornering.

The ability to drive a vehicle can be affected by locked differentials in some situations. Unlike an open differential, they are capable of greatly increasing torque loads on the semi-axles. Driving habits, vehicle weight and tire size can influence locker behavior.

The purpose of this torque distribution system is to ensure that one wheel does not gain an advantage over the other, so the car can stay on the road and avoid skidding. Becoming increasingly popular as a means of improving handling, locking differentials can be a good investment if you want to keep your car in good condition and avoid accidents.

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What Jeep Wranglers have a locking differential?

The Jeep Wrangler has been a popular choice for off-road enthusiasts since it was first introduced in the 1980s. Although most Wranglers come with an open differential, some models are available with a locking differential. This feature allows both wheels to spin at the same speed, providing more traction on slippery or uneven surfaces. It is important to note that a locking differential should only be used when necessary, as it can cause increased wear on the drivetrain.

Only factory-built Rubicons have lockers. I think early Rubicon cabinets were air powered, but later ones were electric. Cherokee Wranglers may have been an earlier version with a range select option. Would diff cabinets actually work? There is no relationship between a transfer case and a differential. EITHERdifferential locksthey have a lock that connects the left wheel to the right, directing power to the wheel with drive at the other end. When the open (non-locking) differentials are in operation, the driver side front and passenger side rear wheels are the only wheels pulling and the wheel with the least traction will spin.

In 4WD, each driveshaft has equal power and the transfer case locks the two driveshafts together. Because it's a halftime element, it appears when you select it... halftime. A type of clutch known as a trak-loc or trac-lock was available from Jeep.

Jeep axle lock button

Ojeep axleThe lock button is a small round button located on the side of the Jeep's axle. When the button is pressed, it locks the shaft in place, preventing it from moving. This is a useful feature when the Jeep is being driven over uneven or rough terrain, as it prevents the axle from being damaged or shifted.

How to Disable Axle Lock on Jeep

Assuming you have a Jeep Wrangler, to disengage the axle lock, first set the parking brake. Then put the transmission in neutral. Then start the engine and let it idle for one minute. Finally, turn thespindle lock buttonto the "off" position.

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Differential lock applies power regardless of the amount of resistance to each wheel on an axle. In addition to automatic andselectable differential locks, there are two types of differential locks. To activate or deactivate the lockers you can press a button. If you press the off button, the locker will remain active until you turn it off. Only when necessary will it be used; it is not intended to be used for the entire duration of the tour. Your axles, steering and drivetrain will work harder while you play, the harder you play. You should do this, but it's worth it.

spindle lock

An axle lock is a device used to secure the axle of a vehicle. This can be done by locking the axle to the vehicle frame or by locking the axle to the wheels. This is done to prevent the axle from spinning, which could cause the vehicle to lose control.

A driveshaft lockup, in simple terms, is a device that applies maximum power to both sides of the driveshaft. Posi-Trac is a slang term that refers to positive traction on both sides. Mostoriginal equipment axle locking devicesThey are based on limited slip differentials. There are axle lock mechanisms that allow you to unlock the inside of the axle during a turn, such as the Detroit Locker. The original manufacturer of heavy duty trucks and performance vehicles makes an option to lock the axle. If the axle lock is not open, the vehicle will jerk and the inner tire will squeal.

rear locker

A rear locker is a storage compartment typically found in the rear of a vehicle. It is often used to store items that are not needed on a regular basis, such as seasonal gear or extra luggage.

If you are using uneven ground, you will need traction with lockers. A truck's tires spin at different speeds depending on their position on the road. In general, the inside tire travels a shorter distance than the outside tire when cornering. This problem can be solved or reduced by locking the differentials, which provide maximum traction for each tire. Automatic lockers are the most common type of locker on the road today. The tires lock together when torque is applied because an internal mechanism locks them together. The automatic locker door unlocks in the absence of torque.


Spool Lockers is a full-time, always-on locker with all the features you need. There are no moving parts, it's a very strong one-piece design and you don't have to worry about it turning off or not coming on. The Reel Locker is primarily designed for custom rigs/buggies that have very little road ability and (ideally) don't require extreme care. The ARB Air Locker engages and locks both drive axles as part of its total lockout design, resulting in maximum traction. The Spartan Locker is a hanging locker that is installed directly to the conveyor assembly at the factory instead of being replaced. Skid-resistant lockers are a safer option for highway use, but provide traction in wet, muddy, or snowy conditions. Built-in cabinets provide traction for a low monthly fee without the need for professional installation.

The Dura Grip Locker internal clutch restricts torque transfer to the tire with the most traction while delivering a high level of aggressive performance. This locker, like the Spartan, is an automatic locker. Installation of wall cabinets is simple and does not require professional assistance. A Toyota electric locker is a selectable locker that replaces the third member of the vehicle. The cabinet is engaged or disengaged using a shift yoke and collar coupled to an electric motor and worm drive assembly.


What does the axle lock button do on my Jeep? ›

The system locks the left and right portions of the rear axle together to form a solid driving axle, resulting in increased rear wheel traction in certain conditions. Press and hold the electronic differential lock button for 2 seconds to activate the system. Note: The lock button is on the center console.

What is locking limited slip differential Jeep Wrangler? ›

A Jeep Wrangler locker or locking differential, is designed to “lock” both wheels of the same axle together so they both move at the same speed with the same amount of force. Without a locker it would be difficult to do any rock crawling due to there would almost never be an even amount of traction.

What is Jeep brake lock differential? ›

In addition to controlling how fast the driven wheels are spinning, there is a feature of brake traction control that controls wheel speed side to side across a driven axle and is called BLD, or “brake lock differential.” BLD does not care how fast the wheels are turning, just that they are turning at the same speed.

How do you manually lock a differential? ›

To lock the differential, you turn on a switch manually, and the two output pistons, which would normally be controlling the two wheels separately, are locked together so however fast one wheel goes, the other wheel rotates at the same speed.

Can you lock your diff while driving? ›

First, a diff lock should not be engaged for on road driving, unless weather conditions such as snow or ice mean that extra traction is required. Use your locking differential when you want to go off road, for driving on difficult terrain, such as dirt, gravel, mud or snow.

Should you drive with axle lock on? ›

Use the lock position only when you approach conditions where one or both wheels of an axle may slip. The valve locks the differential and causes it to act as a “through drive,” transmitting power equally to both axles. Avoid unnecessary use of differential lock since it will result in tire wear and axle strain.

What is the benefit of differential lock? ›

Locking differentials (generically referred to as “lockers”) can lock the axles together to provide 100% of available torque to the wheel with traction. During turns, a locking differential operates like an open differential - the wheels can rotate at different speeds.

Is traction control the same as diff lock? ›

To answer your question, no, a vehicle with only a centre diff-lock will not be able to drive the same terrain as one with traction control as well.

Which is better limited slip or locking differential? ›

Lockers produce 100% lock-up where all the power is directed to both tires all the time when the unit is engaged. Lockers are tougher. Limited slips direct torque to both tires and when slippage occurs the unit directs torque to the tire with the best traction.

What happens if you leave diff lock on? ›

This can result in the vehicle failing to deliver enough torque to the drive wheels to keep the vehicle moving forward, at which point it will be stuck. The diff lock forces all wheels to spin at the same speed, regardless of traction.

When should I use my diff lock? ›

Use your locking differential when you want to go off road, for driving on difficult terrain, such as dirt, gravel, mud or snow. You will only need to engage your locking differential when you need extra traction, so you may only use it for a few moments on each off-road adventure.

Why would you want to lock the rear differential? ›

A locking rear differential, once engaged, does not allow both wheels to spin freely. By ensuring that both wheels spin at the same rate, and applying unequal torque to each tire on the axle, the risk of losing traction or spinning out decreases dramatically.

Can you engage diff lock while moving? ›

Some vehicle manufacturers will allow the differential locks to be engaged while moving but only if the vehicle does not exceed 40kph and there is no wheel spin. Let up momentarily on the accelerator pedal to relieve torque on the gearing and allow the sliding clutch to fully engage.

Is 4WD the same as locking differential? ›

While 4WD can split power evenly front-to-rear, it can't apportion it side-to-side, across an axle. This means that in 4WD, torque is still traveling to the wheel with the least grip on each axle. To fix that, you need a locking differential, which forces both wheels on an axle to rotate at the same speed.

Are diff lockers worth it? ›

These units provide 100% lock and will disengage completely so, driving would be exactly the same as driving a vehicle with open differentials but having that on-demand locking option is great! These are the most expensive kind of lockers but they are worth every penny.

Does diff lock use more fuel? ›

Diff locks whether they be mechanical, air or electric do not do damage to your truck nor do they increase fuel consumption and if they did the amount would be so minimal it would be impossible to notice it.

Does diff lock help in mud? ›

As the name suggests, a diff-lock locks the axle so that the two wheels turn at the same speeds. Here's an example of when this is useful: you're driving in muddy conditions and one wheel starts to spin in deep mud while the other wheel is on firm ground.

How fast can you go with diff lock on? ›

How fast can you drive when the differential lock is engaged on the vehicle? When using the differential lock, your speed should not exceed 25 mph.

Can you drive in 4WD lock all the time? ›

This system is part of the Trail Rated package. In either case, there is little reason to leave the system in the 4WD LOCK position in normal conditions. You will be causing wear on more components and burning more fuel.

When should I turn on my 4WD lock? ›

Because the front and rear axles need to spin at different speeds on the road, you should activate 4WD only when your tires leave the pavement. That might be turning onto a dirt road or entering consistently snowy conditions, where the road surface is completely covered.

What are the pros and cons of diff lockers? ›

  • CONS. • More expensive. • Ongoing maintenance (air lines/wiring)
  • PROS. • Driver doesn't need to lock/unlock diff. • Cheaper alternative. • Purely mechanical (no air lines or wires)
  • CONS. • Driver has no control on lock options. • Noisier than selectable lockers. • Can affect vehicle's drive characteristics.
Dec 29, 2019

Does diff lock help in snow? ›

Locking your differential can help maintain power to each wheel evenly, allowing the tire with traction to keep moving you forward. When you are driving on a road that is covered by snow regardless of the depth or if the road is icy and slippery, limiting the slip is always the best option for you and your vehicle.

How does locked differential increase car performance? ›

Locked differentials are on the opposite side of the spectrum versus open diffs. The purpose is for wheel speed to remain constant between the two wheels, and the major benefit here is that torque will go to the wheel with traction, up to 100 per cent at a single wheel.

Can you switch from 2H to 4H while driving? ›

You can move the control from 2H to 4A or 4H at a stop or while driving.

Should I drive in 2H or 4H? ›

Four-wheel drive vehicles generally have three settings: 2H, 4L, and 4H. 2H is ideal for normal, everyday driving. Use 2H for dry, flat, paved roads. 4L is best suited for a time when you need maximum traction and power.

Can you lock the diff on AWD? ›

Centre diff locks are only applicable to all wheel drive (AWD) or constant 4WD vehicles or vehicles that have the capability of delivering that sort of drive.

What are the symptoms of a bad limited slip differential? ›

When your differentials go bad or conk it, you will feel and perhaps hear a noticeable grinding of the gears, especially during change. In addition to a whining noise, you will hear a low humming that gradually gets worse.

Can you feel a limited slip differential? ›

There are different types of limited-slip diff available, and which one a car uses will depend on the drive system it uses. On rear-wheel-drive and 4WD cars, a 2-way LSD might be used. This means that the LSD will have an effect when applying power and also when slowing down, meaning a consistent feel to the car.

Do both wheels spin with limited slip? ›

In a limited slip differential, most famously GM's Positraction, both wheels should spin during hard acceleration. For little off the line chirps, the wheel with the least amount of traction will be the one burning out.

Is it better to drive with or without traction control? ›

Traction control can be the difference between staying on the road and crashing your car due to skidding when the roads are wet or icy. So, it's best to leave your traction control on whenever you face hazardous road conditions.

When should you not use traction control? ›

Turn off Traction Control if stuck in mud or snow and need to rock the car Or when using tire chains .

What are the types of locking differentials? ›

Locking Differentials are available in both Automatic and Selectable types. Automatic lockers lock and unlock automatically with no direct input from the driver. This type of locking differential forces both wheels to turn at the same speed when torque is applied.

What differential is best for street strip? ›

For street/strip applications a locking differential is preferred. However, there are likewise a trio of options in this category. The most rugged is the fabled “Detroit Locker.” It features a positive engagement mechanism and can transfer 100% of the torque equally between two wheels.

Is limited slip diff good in rain? ›

Limited slip differentials can be dangerous in slippery conditions like a rain soaked road.

Does a limited slip differential make you slower? ›

With that said, a car without a limited slip diff will almost always be slower than a car with one. This is because you can get back on the power much sooner and more aggressively with a limited slip diff , which will let you shave a lot of time.

Can you lock rear diff in 2WD? ›

One possible additional option for 2WD truck owners is an effective locking system for the differential. A number of 2WD and 4WD pickups have limited-slip differentials that lock up the axle when a wheel starts to slip. When the axle is locked, full power is delivered to both wheels.

Should I lock my diff on sand? ›

Having a rear differential lock, like the one in the Ford Everest 4WD, can be handy if you're on a section of sand that's very bumpy and is likely to cause your 4WD's wheels to lift off the ground. An engaged rear differential lock will ensure there's no loss of forward momentum…

How often do you need to change rear differential fluid? ›

Do I Need a Differential Fluid Flush? On average, vehicles need new differential fluid every 40,000-60,000 miles. However, every car has different requirements, so it is important to check your owner's manual for recommendations specific to your vehicle.

Does Jeep Wrangler have locking differentials? ›

A Jeep Wrangler locker or locking differential, is designed to “lock” both wheels of the same axle together so they both move at the same speed with the same amount of force. Without a locker it would be difficult to do any rock crawling due to there would almost never be an even amount of traction.

Can rear differential cause transmission problems? ›

When the differential doesn't perform well, it creates metal-on-metal friction that wears down surfaces. The resulting heat weakens gears and can cause component failure and transmission problems. A bad differential makes the car harder to control turning corners, and that can be dangerous.

What position should my differential lock be? ›

Differential lock is controlled by a lever or push-pull control valve on the instrument panel. This feature can be in only two positions—lock or unlock— as indicated. Periodically, the valve should be operated to make sure it moves freely; normally the valve should be kept in the unlock position.

Can u lock or unlock your differential? ›

Selectable lockers allow the driver to lock and unlock the differential at will from the driver's seat. This can be accomplished in many ways. Compressed air (pneumatics). Cable-operated mechanism as is employed on the "Ox Locker".

Is traction control same as diff lock? ›

To answer your question, no, a vehicle with only a centre diff-lock will not be able to drive the same terrain as one with traction control as well.

What is better front or rear diff lock? ›

The rear differential is usually stronger

The rear differential will take the fitment of a diff locker better as it has no CV's, and is designed to push the vehicle around full time in 2WD.

Is locking differential worth it? ›

These units provide 100% lock and will disengage completely so, driving would be exactly the same as driving a vehicle with open differentials but having that on-demand locking option is great! These are the most expensive kind of lockers but they are worth every penny.

What is the disadvantage of open differential? ›

  • Open differentials don't work well on uneven or slippery surfaces because the engine torque is transmitted to the wheel with the least resistance (a.k.a. “traction”).
  • If the tire is off the ground or on ice, it spins freely and the vehicle is unable to move.

What is a full locking differential? ›

Locking differentials (generically referred to as “lockers”) can lock the axles together to provide 100% of available torque to the wheel with traction. During turns, a locking differential operates like an open differential - the wheels can rotate at different speeds.


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5. Brake Lock Differential (BLD) Demonstration - Jeep
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