Is It OK To Drive With Hubs Locked?


Is it acceptable to drive with the hubs locked? 

This question has been asked many times by people who have hubcaps on their vehicles. 

Some say that you should never go with your hubs locked because they can cause severe damage to your tires and rims. 

Others disagree, saying that locking your hubs does not harm the tire or rim whatsoever.

In this blog post, we will explore both sides of the issue and provide some information from car experts and those in the automotive industry about what is true and what isn’t when it comes to driving with your wheels locked up.

Is It OK To Drive With Hubs Locked?

Yes, sometimes, but hubs are not designed to be used all the time. If you leave your hubs in four-wheel drive while on dry pavement at high speeds, the hubs will lock up, which causes the wheels to stop turning. This could cause your vehicle to skid out of control.

Most vehicles today come standard with 4 wheel drive, and some even offer an option for the rear-wheel-drive as well. 

They are called four-wheel drive because all four wheels are used to move the vehicle forward or backward. 

Four-wheel drive is designed for low-speed, low traction conditions like mud, off-road driving, snow, ice, and rock climbing.

Hubs should never be used on the dry pavement unless you are driving in extremely low-speed, off-road driving conditions because this can cause severe damage to your vehicle.

In some cases, your hubs can also be damaged if you have alloy wheels with locking hubs. 

For such hubs to lock up, there must be pressure on the mechanism, which prevents them from spinning freely in 4 wheel drive when traveling at high speeds.

As far as damage to your vehicle is concerned, driving with hubs locked will usually not cause any significant problems or cut into your tires. 

However, it may cause the tire to wear down at an accelerated rate which could make it unsafe, but other than that, it should not cause any hazardous situations.

Even though it is not the best idea to drive with hubs locked, locking your hubs should not cause any significant problems to your vehicle as long as you do so regularly. 

If an individual chooses to lock their hubs, it is best to be in the four-wheel drive, which locks them up instead of using a two-wheel drive where your hubs will spin freely.

What Are Hubs?

Hubs are devices on the axle which allow you to change from one gear to another. 

Two-wheel drive vehicles use a single spindle and two wheels, while four-wheel-drive vehicles use either a dual or single spindle depending on whether they have two or four wheels.

The primary purpose of hubs is to engage and disengage the four-wheel-drive system. 

When driving on dry pavement, the hubs will disengage, but they will engage four-wheel drive if you lock them up.

Today’s hubs are very complex, and it is the hub internals that prevents them from locking up on the dry pavement. 

In most cases, you have to have a special tool that will allow you to engage or disengage your four-wheel-drive system.

Hubs work by locking the ring gear of either a dual or single spindle differential, which causes it to lock up and the axle to turn at the same speed as the ring gear. 

The reason most manufacturers recommend that you do not drive with hubs locked is that it can cause damage to your hub internals if done for a long period of time such as when driving on an extended trip.

When Should I Use my Hubs?

Most vehicle owners who have four-wheel drive vehicles never bother to switch to four-wheel drive because they do not need it. 

This is not recommended because it can cause damage to the vehicle in the long run. 

You should only use your four-wheel drive system when you need it. 

So, if you live in an area with a significant amount of snow and ice, you should use your hubs every time you travel on such roads.

If you drive on gravel, mud, or dirt roads, it is always a good idea to switch to four-wheel drive. 

This is because it provides better control and traction on these surfaces. 

It would be best if you also switched to the four-wheel industry when rock climbing or rock crawling.

How Many Types of Locking Hubs are Available?

There are two types of locking hubs available on the market. 

One type locks up when you are driving down a road or highway, while the other type only locks up when someone applies pressure to them from behind.

The first one is designed for people living in areas where it snows all year long and gets extremely heavy snowfalls every winter. 

These individuals need their hubs to be locked up for safety reasons because they use their vehicles daily and need extra traction to prevent accidents.

The other type is designed for people who live in rural areas where the roads are deplorable but do not necessarily get regular snowfall all year long. 

They purchase locking hubs as an accessory to give them more traction, but it is not necessary.

What effect does using locking hubs have on my vehicle?

Some people feel that locking your hubs can cause damage to the gears and bearings of your wheels which will eventually cause them to fall apart if you use them too often.

If you have locking hubs, your four-wheel drive vehicle will work just fine for years to come if you correctly use them.

How To Tell If Your Hubs Are Locked Or Unlocked

To determine whether your hubs are locked or unlocked, you will need to shift your vehicle into the park. 

If the gear shift does not move because it is still in four-wheel-drive mode, then your hubs are locked. 

If the gear shift progresses when you shift it into park, then your hubs are unlocked.

How Often Should You Use 4WD Locking Hubs?

It is recommended to use your locking hubs once a month if you live in an area where there are frequent snowfalls. This will ensure that your hubs are locked up and prevent damage from occurring.

Hubs are used to give you better control over your vehicle when driving on low traction roads. You don’t need to use your hubs every time. If there is little or no snow, it is probably unnecessary to use them.

The noise made by locking hubs can be heard when engaged and disengaged.

What are the Effects of Using Locking Hubs?

Some individuals feel that using locking hubs can cause damage to the gear system inside your four-wheel drive automobile. 

However, this is not true, and if your hubs are used correctly, then they will not cause any damage to your gear system.

Most of the hub-locks on today’s trucks use a crucial mechanism to lock and unlock the hubs instead of utilizing a push-button found on older models of automobiles. 

This key can be lost or misplaced, and if that happens, you will have to have your hubs removed from your four-wheel-drive vehicle to get a replacement.

Why you Should Know if your Hubs are Locked or Unlocked

A locking hub is only beneficial if it is locked. 

If the hubs are not locked up, then you will have no benefit from them being there because they will spin all day long while your vehicle is in motion. 

The reason is that they need to be locked in to provide extra traction on frozen or muddy roads so that you can get better control of your vehicle and prevent it from slipping or sliding while you are driving.

How to Fix Wrongly Positioned Hubs

Some people who drive four-wheel-drive vehicles have discovered that their hubs are in a different position than what they should be. 

Suppose the front wheels of your vehicle are turned so far towards the left or right that it is affecting your steering capabilities. 

In that case, you will need to get them fixed immediately by removing the hub entirely and having a new one installed.

The most common reason why the hubs will not lock is that they are in the wrong position. 

You will need to pull over and put your shifter into a four-wheel drive to fix this problem. 

Once you have done this, turn your front wheels in one direction and the rear ones opposite. 

This should move your hub to a different position, allowing you to lock it back up again.

Using your locking hubs is not an everyday task, and you should only use them when the roads are slippery or if you live in a rural area where there isn’t much traffic on the road to push snow out of the way as people drive by. 

If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you must know how to use your hubs properly to prevent damage to your gear system.

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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