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Locking Hub

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Locking Hub Products

Like other four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles, you'll find a Locking Hub on each of your front wheels. These hubs, which are also called free wheeling hubs, allow you to shift from 4WD to two-wheel drive (2WD). So during those times when your ride requires less friction, you can simply disconnect your front axles from your wheels using these locking hubs. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive, your truck may have automatic or locking hubs. Automatic hubs engage the moment you shift your transfer case from 4WD to 2WD, or back again. While manual or locking hubs will require you to pull over and get out of your truck to manually twist the dial found on each free wheeling hub. Though they require more effort to engage, what's great about locking hubs is that they're less prone to failure compared to their automatic counterparts. Aside from enabling your ride to shift from 2WD to 4WD, locking hubs offer a slew of other benefits. Some of these purported benefits include an increase in fuel efficiency, quieter vehicle operation, and less wear and vibration in wheel assemblies. Because of these incredible benefits, vehicle owners are encouraged to keep their locking hubs in excellent shape. So if you feel like your truck is in need of a new Locking Hub, then we recommend replacing your worn hub immediately. You can find topnotch replacement free wheeling hubs at the Auto Parts Warehouse catalog. Get the best deals on high-quality auto parts when you get your new hub from our site today!

Buying Guides

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How to Choose the Right Locking Hubs

What do locking hubs do?

Located in the middle of your two front wheels, the locking hubs are what allow you to use your vehicle's 4-wheel drive capability. When the locking hubs are engaged, you engine will power all four wheels of your vehicle. When they are disengaged, only the rear wheels will pull. By engaging and disengaging the locking hubs, you are able to shift from rear-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive as needed.

When should locking hubs be replaced?

Locking hubs are subjected to much wear and tear, especially if you do a lot of off-road driving. Some signs that your locking hubs need replacing are:

  • Four-wheel drive is not engaging - One or both of your front wheels may not pull
  • Grinding noises while driving
  • Unable to disengage the four-wheel drive - the hubs may make loud popping noises in this case

What kind of locking hubs should be used?

You will find that only a select number of locking hubs are compatible with your particular vehicle. However, there are generally two types of locking hubs: manual and automatic.

Manual locking hubs require you to stop, get out of your vehicle, and manually turn the dial on each hub from "free" to "lock" (one should never drive with one hub locked and the other unlocked - this could lead to difficult handling and damage to your vehicle). You will then need to get back inside and shift to "neutral" before engaging the 4-wheel drive. Despite the inconvenience, manual locking hubs are ideal if you expect to do a lot of heavy-duty driving.

Automatic locking hubs allow you to activate 4-wheel drive from inside your vehicle while driving - removing the need to stop and get out of your vehicle. However, in most cases, your vehicle will have to move a short distance before the hubs can engage or disengage. This becomes a problem if your vehicle gets stuck before you are able to switch to 4-wheel drive.

On the whole, we recommend manual locking hubs for intense off-road driving and automatic hubs for casual and comfortable driving. However, see if your vehicle has a backup system that allows you to manually engage 4-wheel drive when your automatic hubs fail.

What other factors are considered in choosing locking hubs?

  • Compatibility - Make sure that the locking hubs you will order have the right specifications for your vehicle. Your owner's manual should have all the specs you need in finding replacement parts.
  • Installation - It is possible for you to save money by replacing the locking hubs yourself. After ensuring that the replacement parts you ordered are compatible with your vehicle, see to it that they come with an installation manual and all components you need for the job.

Repair Guides

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Replacing Your Locking Hubs

The locking hubs fitted on your front wheels are what allow you to use your vehicle's 4-wheel drive ability. However, your locking hubs are subjected to a lot of stress, especially during intense off-road trips. When they get too worn out or when they breakdown completely, you will need to replace them immediately. Fortunately, replacing your locking hubs can be easy when you have the right tools and basic mechanical skills.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Here's what you'll need:

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug Wrench
  • Assortment of wrenches (depending on your vehicle)
  • Snap ring pliers
  • New locking hubs
  • Work gloves and other personal protective equipment

Safety Tips:

  • Make sure your vehicle is on a level surface - it might roll or lean when jacked up.
  • Never on just the floor jack to hold up your vehicle. Be sure your jack stands are properly placed.
  • We recommend working after your vehicle's engine has cooled down.
  • This is a general guide. Refer to your owner's manual for any specifications.
  • Place your vehicle in "Park" or "Neutral" before you begin.

Step 1: Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels (without removing them).

Step 2: Use the floor jack to raise the front of your vehicle. Set up the jack stands.

Step 3: Fully remove the lug nuts and the front wheel at the driver's side of the vehicle.

Step 4: With the appropriate wrench, remove the hub cover.

Step 5: Locate the two snap ring holes and use the snap ring pliers to pull out the snap rings.

Step 6: Remove the six nuts that attach the hub body to the axle. Pull out the locking hub.

Step 7: Install the new locking hub assembly. Use the snap ring pliers to fasten the snap rings into place.

Step 8: Restore the hub cover and the wheel by reversing the removal procedure.

Step 9: Repeat Steps 3 to 8 on the passenger side.

Step 10: Remove the jack stands and lower your vehicle. Tighten the lug nuts.

The whole procedure shouldn't take more than an hour for an experienced DIYer. Now you can get back to enjoying the full power of 4-wheel driving!

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