Do I need a locking differential in my vehicle?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs on Tuesday, July 27th, 2021 at 9:29 am
close up on differential

Locking Differentials: What They Do and When You Need Them

Here at CrossPointe Motor Cars in Winchester, VA, we like to make sure that you are informed. Whether that means showing you exactly what a used car will cost upfront or how to change your oil, it doesn’t matter. We want you to have access to the information that helps you make the best choices for your situation. With that in mind:

Do you need a locking differential in your vehicle? If you spend any time driving in rural areas or in bad conditions, the answer is yes. Let us show you why.



muddy truck close-up

Locking Differential Pros

Locking differentials provide one huge advantage over differentials that can’t lock: lots of traction. A locking differential, when turned on, forces both the left and right wheel on the same axle to rotate at the same speed. For harsh conditions, such as heavy-duty off-roading or driving in deep snow, having both wheels spin at the same speed maximizes traction and stops you from getting stuck.

Locking Differential Cons

The problem with locking differentials is it forces the wheels to spin at the same speeds. That’s a good thing in a straight line when not all of your wheels are touching the ground at the same time. However, this property makes turning difficult and hard to control, as well as causing tire wear and tear.

Get the Good Without the Bad

With a manually locking differential, the fix is simple. Turn on the locking differential when you need it, then turn it off once you don’t. Nowadays, though, that process has been automated. Every dynamic AWD or 4WD system has an automatic lock that toggles the differential lock as needed. Some vehicles, like trucks and heavy-duty SUVs, may still have a manual override for the differential in case you need to make sure that the lock stays engaged.


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Save Money Buying Used Vehicles in Winchester, VA

If you’re in the market for a AWD or 4WD vehicle, then CrossPointe has what you need. Make sure to check out our Used Specials page to see which vehicles are on sale. And don’t forget to use our value your trade-in tool to get a market-value quote for your vehicle.

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