Diff Lock & Axle Lock


Differential Locks: Great for Uneven Terrain

Differentials allow wheels to turn at different speeds. Why? The classic example is a car
turning a corner. The inner wheel doesn’t have to travel as far as the outer wheel. If the engine
sends the same power to both wheels, then that inner wheel is going to have to keep turning at
the same speed as the outer wheel, even though it isn’t moving as far. It’s going to have to spin
even though it isn’t moving much. That’s a waste of power. It would be far better to send more
of the available power to the wheel that’s encountering less resistance, in other words, the one
that’s actually turning and moving the car in the desired direction. That’s exactly what the
differential does.


But a differential isn’t always great on an uneven surface. Consider a bumpy road. From
time to time, one of your wheels is going to be in the air. Since that’s the wheel that’s
encountering the least resistance, it will get more of the power allocated by the transmission,
and the wheel that’s spinning in the air isn’t going to keep you moving. The same thing happens
when you’re stuck on ice. The wheel that’s slipping will get more of the power when you want it
to go to the wheel that’s digging in.


A differential lock ensures you get the best traction possible. It forces the rear wheels to turn
in tandem regardless of resistance to keep you moving in the right direction and give you
optimal handling. In vehicles equipped with 4-wheel drive, an axel lock applies the same
principle to the front wheels. This allows all four wheels to find traction and keep you moving
forward. The axel lock is often activated by button or switch, so you can engage or disengage it
without getting out of the vehicle. 4wd-low (best when you need maximum traction) will
typically engage automatically without the axle lock, but for the 4wd high (better for slippery
conditions) you will need to manually engage the axle lock.


Differential locks are popular but are currently rare. Many mini truck buyers ask for diff
lock vehicles, and we do our very best to source them. Unfortunately, diff locks are uncommon
on older vehicles in the age range that can be imported. When we can locate them, they often
have very high mileage, are rusty or torn out seats, or have mechanical issues. Unfortunately,
these vehicles won’t pass our rigorous quality control process. Finding a clean vehicle with a
diff lock that’s in good condition is not impossible, but it is very rare. So be ready to pay a little
more for these vehicles.

 

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