Traveling to interesting places with mysterious nature surrounding you is a wonderful experience. An inclination to adventures like this is almost akin to our human nature.
However, we will surely not go a thousand miles on foot or a bicycle! We do want to enjoy our quality time with nature in the rough uneven terrains without compromising our safety and basic conveniences.
A jeep helps out a lot in scenarios like this. They take us through the rugged roads for such adventurous trips like a pro!
But there is one kind of situation when even jeeps feel helpless. That is when it finds its tires being stuck in a pool of mud, snow or ice. Even the popular jeep models like that of JK suffer from this issue.
The most efficient way to solve this problem is to invest in a differential locker. It manipulates the tire set on an axle to move in unison.
Want to know more about them, how they work and the best lockers for Jeep JK? Keep reading! We will let you know all that and more!
Need a Quick Decision? Here's My Top 5 Jeep Lockers picks:
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Why Are Lockers Important For Your Jeep?
Before we dive right into lockers and jeeps, let’s get to know them individually first!
We all are familiar with the adventurous vehicle called jeep. These are usually used by people who have an inclination towards risky rides and tricky terrains. Jeeps are the best option to ride in such areas since they provide the drivers with a height advantage, as well as better visibility.
One of the most widely used jeep brands across the world is the Jeep JK.
Jeep JK represents the new generation of popular Jeep Wrangler vehicles. It was introduced in 2006 and has been in production till last year.
There is no proper acronym set for the term “JK”. It’s just done to maintain the tradition of marking each edition of Jeep Wrangler with a pair of letters. For instance, the previous generation of Jeep JK was Jeep TJ.
Jeep itself is a renowned brand of iconic vehicles. With the tagline of “Do Anything”, it has represented freedom, passion and an adventurous spirit for more than 75 years!
A common issue with running jeeps is losing traction control. Such situations lead to the continuous spinning of wheels without ever moving forward.
Each set of wheels in a Jeep JK - front and back - has a differential gear which is responsible for the wheels’ speed. In the normal state, the car has an open differential whose power reaches only one wheel.
Regardless of the traction, each wheel gets the same torque. This often causes one wheel to stay stationary and the other to spin continuously. If your jeep gets caught in mud, this open differential can turn into a nightmare keeping you stuck forever!
A locking differential or locker can resolve this issue. You may call it a certain kind of traction device which ensures that both wheels on an axle are receiving the same speed in the same direction.
Our Top 10 Best Lockers For Jeep JK Reviews
1. USA Standard Gear SL D30-27 Spartan Locker
This Spartan locker is one of the most popular items made by USA Standard Gear. It provides an affordable solution to the common problem of traction. Not having enough control over traction will cause your vehicle wheels to spin as soon as you take off.
USA Standard Gear is well-known for coming up with products aimed at off-road usage. This locker too makes an off-road experience a thousand times better by providing improved traction within minutes.
Typically, one might think that investing in a proper traction control system will cost him a fortune. However, this Spartan locker solves that issue by ensuring reliable traction at quite a reasonable price.
Another great aspect of this locker is its incredibly simple installation process. This revolutionary drop-in process utilizes the spring and pin design which makes it a breeze.
Every user has expressed full satisfaction with the fast and easy installation which comes with a pictorial instruction booklet. The whole process takes less than a couple of hours!
Once you have the locker installed, it can take you a while to get used to the new driving style. You may hear a loud popping sound every time you make a sharper turn on the road. Besides, steering forward may prove to be a little more difficult than before.
However, the overall improvements it brings in the torque amount surpasses all these minor drawbacks. It's the best lunchbox locker in market.
2. Sylvan Reinforced Automotive Climb Master Second Edition Differential Locker
Anyone passionate about their vehicle and how its internal system works knows about Sylvan. This brand is known for its high-tech components built to ensure better automotive experiences.
If you have to repeatedly explore areas where both the ways are uphill, this kind of locker will come in handy. It makes the entire ordeal easier for both the operator and the transmission.
With this locker’s help, other tricky parts of your vehicle will also get to breathe some relief. The Sylvian differential locker helps by taking some of their burdens off while driving uphill.
Not only does it reduce the strain for the vehicle, but the locker also manipulates this strain in the operator’s favor! All the traction generated this way ultimately gives a boost to the fuel mileage. In the long run, your vehicle has to suffer from a lot less wear and tear because of this locker.
For anyone with an experience regarding car components, installing the Sylvian locker should be a breeze. Just like our previous locker, this one also comes with a very easy installation process which should take no more than three hours.
Moreover, it does not require any high maintenance approach! No matter how bad the weather gets in your driving area - scorching hot or trembling cold - this locker can handle the pressure. So if you have been searching for a locker to go off-road in such adverse climates, the Sylvan locker can be your hero!
3. Yukon Gear & Axle (YGLD30-4-27) Grizzly locker
If your Jeep JK has a Dana 44 rear axle with 30 splines, this differential locker from Yukon Gear & Axle can provide the best performance.
It can guarantee maximum traction with its proprietary internal design awaiting a petition. This design will keep the possibility of any common lock failure to the minimum. As a result, both the traction amount and the performance level reaches the maximum point.
The locker flaunts an extremely sturdy construction made with 8620 alloy steel. This material guarantees a long-lasting shelf-life making the investment even more worthy. Along with strength and durability, the steel locker also manages to provide a powerful performance during every ride.
Since it is an automatic locker, you don’t have to worry about turning it on or off by yourself. It ensures 100% locking power in any situation. Whenever your vehicle needs an open differential, it can disengage itself within a second to let you have a flawless turn.
Although it is built to go with any Jeep JK vehicle, we would recommend looking for an alternative if your JK has been manufactured after 2012. The reason behind is the holes of this locker which support the ring gears of previous Jeep JK models. Other than that, it fits any vehicle with Dana 44 rear axle having 30 splines.
One of the best aspects of this locker is that you can get some support from the brand if you face any collateral damage. Yukon provides a considerable amount of financial support to help the ones suffering from such damages for a particular period.
4. Yukon Gear YDGGM8.5-3-30-1 Dura Grip Slip Positraction
Another option for Yukon fans is this locker developed for any vehicle with an axle of 30 splines. Anyone who has used their products before knows how durable they are. Well, this locker is no different!
Some customers have used it for years and still get to enjoy the smooth differential functions while driving. Such durability also helps to extend the shelf-life of other related vehicle parts like the axle.
This locker boasts high quality since it is designed to deal with all kinds of adverse situations with expertise. Its design contains a positraction made of four springs. This enables you to use the vehicle off-road as often as you want.
Dura Grip makes it possible for your wheels to achieve the greatest twisting force possible. So even if they have caught themselves inside the mud, the vehicle can always recover from that sticky situation.
One of its high-quality components is the internal material itself - forged 4320 steel. This alloy made primarily of nickel and chromium is where the locker gets its strength from. Together, these elements keep it hard and tough under all situations.
Although the locker will come fully assembled by American workers, you can still build it your way if you want. Installing it is also pretty easy and should not take more than two hours. If you have any vehicle other than JK Jeep, you can use this model for them too, as long as the vehicle as 30 spline axels.
5. Detroit Locker 913A481 Trutrac Differential
Anybody who has researched a little on the best lockers for Jeep JK knows how in-demand Detroit TruTrac lockers are. It is a 100% automatic locker, which means you never have to worry about switching it on and off while driving.
This line of Detroit auto lockers has also proved to be incredibly reliable and durable over the course of time. These lockers have been in the market for years without losing its appeal to the customers.
One of the reasons behind such long-standing popularity is its inherent helical-gear technology. This enables the locker to perform smoothly without producing much sound. It also displays expertise in carrying out high torque movements on road.
In order to fit this locker into your car’s rear differential, you have to make sure that its axle has 30 splines. So if you have another favorite vehicle in addition to the Jeep JK, you can use this locker for it too.
Another advantage of investing in the Detroit Locker is its lightweight construction. If you don’t want to put more load on your jeep, this TruTac locker weighing only about 26 lbs will be a great solution.
The only drawback of this locker is that Installing it may prove to be quite challenging. It can take you a week to properly get it working following the given instructions. So getting help from a professional or a nearby differential shop might be a good idea.
6. OMOTOR JK Hood Catch Latch Set Kit
OMOTOR came into the automotive market in the same year as Jeep JK. they have also flourished as a brand side by side since then.
Its hood catch latch set is very different from all the locker options we have discussed so far. Instead of helping the differential to perform better, this one is made for keeping the hood secure. So you need to use it externally as opposed to the internal fitting of other lockers.
It is intended to help out those of you who are struggling with hoods that constantly flutter. In addition to being an annoyance, this tendency also creates a distraction for the driver. As a result, there are more chances of road accidents with a fluttering hood like that.
In order to improve the situation and eliminate the fluttering, you can invest in these hood locking pieces from OMOTOR. These are made from chrome and aluminum which provides the required strength. Additionally, they also last for a long time.
If you are someone for whom style is an important factor, this locker set will be a positive investment. It enhances the car’s aesthetic by introducing some sleek shine to its vibrant surface.
Its convenient design allows easy and fast operation. Only push the quick-release pin and the hoods will open up instantly! You will find the pin on the steel lanyard. Such a setup prevents misplacing the latches.
This particular set comes with two pieces of locking hood catch. Unfortunately, there is no instruction manual included in its package. However, you don't need to worry much about that since the installation process is quite easy and straightforward.
7. Omix-ADA 16503.69 Tru-Lok Axle Locker Sensor
Sometimes we need to look for only a replacement locker sensor instead of investing in a whole new one. If you have detected an anomaly with your locker installation process, you can rely on a locker sensor like this to fix the problem.
This particular locker sensor from Omix-ADA only works for Rubicon models of the Jeep Wrangler JK series. So unless your vehicle is this model, you can go right past this one.
If you do own a Rubicon manufactured between 2007 and 2018, the locker sensor can be of great help.
You can use it on both 4 door and 2 door variations of Rubicon. Besides, it works well for both front and rear axles.
As a result, once you do get your hands on it, you will get to utilize it for either position. Ideally, you should need two of these for one vehicle. Just make sure that the axle is of the Dana 44 model.
Remember that this part is never provided with the vehicle itself. You need to purchase the locker sensor separately.
Installing it is not that difficult for anybody who is habituated with practical car mechanics. In the case of installing this particular locker sensor, you will just need to make use of all your current hardware components for the process.
In the usual scenario, the installation process should be done within an hour. However, in some cases, it may take up to 2 hours. But the total installation time should not exceed that unless some unforeseen complication occurs all of a sudden.
The locker sensor is made from a combination of metal and rubber. It is guaranteed to be non-hazardous. So you don't have to worry about causing an accident and hurting your loved ones while using this locker sensor.
8. Aussie Locker XD-13027 Locker
Now back to our differential lockers! This one from Aussie Locker comes with the claim of 100% precision in automatic locking. It is a popular choice for jeep-lovers all around the world. The people with an affection for off-road adventures will have the most fun with it.
Typically, a posi or LSD model can provide up to 40-60% traction. Since the locker goes through a manufacturing process like no other, it can provide 100% traction successfully for years. The durable construction instills confidence among users and supports the vehicle for a long time without any degradation.
It has proved to be one of the most reliable lockers over the years for Jeep JK owners. Since it performs automatically, you can drive smoothly without having the responsibility of turning it on and off.
There are some restrictions when it comes to installing this locker. It only works for jeeps which have an open differential. If your vehicle has posi, limited slip carriers or the D30A differential, you cannot install this locker in it.
Otherwise, the installation process can become difficult only if the car has ring gears. Such design components tend to block the locker and create issues. One way to resolve this situation is by removing the carrier.
If your jeep does not have this issue, then installing it should be quite easy. If you have a moderate amount of experience regarding car components, you can carry out the installation process by yourself.
9. Powertrax 2210-LR Lock-Right Locker
If you have been looking for the one locker which provides maximum durability, here is your winner! This locker from Powertrax is the most trusted one in terms of longevity.
You can drive your jeep anywhere on a daily basis with this locker leaving all worries behind. That is because it comes with a specialized No-Slip Traction System. Its latest upgrade enables the vehicle to add more traction without producing too much noise.
As a result, it is a great option for Jeep JK owners who are sensitive to sound. They will not have to deal with the sudden burst of sound during turns again.
This technology also brings the best of both worlds together. You will get to enjoy the automatic smooth driving of limited-slip differentials and the superior traction of locking ones. Such a combination is sure to boost up your overall performance!
It is easy to install this locker into the differential without getting into any complicated process. The straight-forward installation requires only the basic tools. It does not affect other internal vehicle settings like rings and pinions. You can install it on the rear or the front axle as long as it is Dana 30 with 27 splines.
The locker is primarily made of supreme quality hardened steel. You can use it for going off-road or on-road on rough terrains. It is ideal for such extreme environments.
Regardless of where it is used, the locker stays intact for years and provides top-notch performance with 100% traction. That is why professionals like racers and hot-rodders seem to like the Powertrax Lock-Right locker so much. For the same reason, it is counted among the best lockers for Jeep TJ.
10. Dana Spicer 2005193 E-Locker Magnet Solenoid Assembly
The brand of Dana is the most well-known for its axles. They are considered to be the industry-standard axles or the most common ones used for reference. However, Dana also manufactures an impressive range of other automotive parts as well under the Dana Spicer brand name.
This particular locker stands out from the rest of our choices here since it is an electronic locker or e-locker. The most attractive aspect of such lockers is the freedom and security it brings in your life.
It incorporates the advanced differential technology of the next generation aftermarket trends. Utilizing electromagnetic concepts, it can transform the differential into a spool. This kind of locker basically functions as an open differential until you push the button for gaining more traction.
So this keeps the control of traction entirely in your hands! If you are one of those people who prefer to keep everything under control including the traction amount, this e-locker will be the one for you. You decide what it does when it does. This enables the locker to guarantee impeccable precision as well.
Besides, it also gives you the freedom of installing it on either axle - front or rear. Just make sure that it is a Dana 44 with 32 splines.
Dana Spicer electric lockers for Jeep JK have proved to be exceptionally durable for many. So for those who want a strong, modern and long-lasting option, this can easily be among the good lockers for Jeep JK.
Things To Consider Before Buying Lockers For Jeep JK
It can be tricky to set your mind on a particular model of Wrangler lockers. Being a popular vehicle choice for years, there are plenty of locker options already in the market for you to choose from. But how exactly to make that choice?
This is where we come in.
Here are some of the most significant factors you need to keep in mind before buying a Jeep JK locker. Get more information on each aspect for every locker you have liked so far and then reach an insightful reliable decision.
1. Automatic or Selectable
Differential lockers for jeeps can be of many types. However, the two most major categories in this regard are automatic and selectable.
As the name implies, automatic lockers are the ones which engage and disengage the lock by themselves. In general, they stay engaged since the vehicle is powered.
However, when your jeep faces a sharp corner or similarly complicated terrain, this locker automatically disengages itself making room for a smooth and safe turn.
Such lockers are usually preferred to the alternative since they take the pressure off from your shoulders regarding proper turns. They are also much easier and faster to install. You can find automatic lockers at a comparatively lower price point than the other option.
Although if you are someone who wants to have control over each aspect of your jeep driving, this may not be for you. Automatic lockers also tend to cause loud noises while disengaging themselves. They can affect your on-road experience when disengaged.
Selectable lockers rely on your operation to engage and disengage themselves from the differential. So you are in full control of how, when and where your vehicle behaves in terms of locking differential.
For those of you who prefer off road lockers, this type is a great option. Even when they are disengaged, these lockers don’t have a negative effect on the on-road experience.
They usually cost higher since these locks include an additional mechanism for manual locking and unlocking. Besides, you may need professional help in installing them since they come with a more complicated mechanism.
The most dangerous drawback of selectable lockers is human error. If you are ever absent-minded while driving around a sharp corner and forget to disengage the locker, it can lead to serious accidents.
As a result, you have to be paying constant attention to your surrounding area and the road ahead while operating with a selectable locker.
2. Ease of Installation
Get to know how long it should take to install your chosen locker. As we have mentioned earlier, automatic lockers are usually easier to install.
However, there are some high-end models which come with either a complicated mechanism or an incomprehensible instruction book. Such situations make it harder for the users to install the locker by themselves.
So if you are caught in such a scenario, seek the help of a professional or a differential shop around you to properly install the locker.
Generally, the lockers which are the easiest to install take somewhere between less than an hour to a couple of hours. The moderately difficult ones take up to 4 hours while the most complicated ones can take a few days.
Therefore, make up your mind on how long of an installation process are you okay with before purchasing a locker.
The most popular locker manufacturers have relied on many innovative technologies to guarantee the best possible precision.
This precision refers to the amount of control your locker has on identifying when to engage and disengage.
A locker with weak precision can easily mess up your whole day by unlocking or locking at the wrong time. That is why the brands put in so much time and effort into making this precision mechanism as perfect as possible.
We have included the quality of precision on almost every locker presented here. So you can decide which ones stand out among the best lockers for Jeep JK.
A healthy ride on Jeep JK off-road is all about getting the right amount of traction.
The word “traction” literally translates to grip. So in the case of vehicles, traction control refers to how much grip your car wheels can have on the road.
Traction control systems help a vehicle to utilize all the grip available on its current road for ensuring a safe and efficient ride. This becomes crucial while riding on a slippery or muddy path where the amount of friction is negligible.
Without a proper traction control in place, your vehicle will fail to accelerate effectively on such surfaces. This will cause them to spin without going forward at all since they will keep slipping on the surface.
So now there are many differential lockers made for Jeep JK vehicles which prevent that from happening. You will often find lockers with an estimated efficiency of the traction they provide. It usually ranges between 40% to 100% of traction.
5. Axle Fitting
Make sure you know the axle type and spline number of your current Jeep JK. Many of the differential lockers are meant to be used only a certain model of axle with a specific number of splines. Usually, Dana axles with 27-37 splines are the perfect fit for such differential lockers.
Lockers with sturdy construction are encouraged more since they perform better and last longer.
Steel is the number one contender for the best material to build a differential locker. It guarantees high durability which means you don’t have to spend on these again and again. A good locker with high-quality construction can last for years without compromising your safety.
7. Noise Level
Automatic lockers usually create a loud bang whenever it disengages around a corner. This can cause some people to worry at first. However, as time goes by, getting used to this sound will prove to be easier. It should take about a week for someone to not react anymore to the noise.
Although if it does seem to persist as an issue, you can always go for other kinds of lockers. There are some lockers which operate almost quietly leaving no room for sudden bursts of noise.
If you are living over a busy schedule with not much room to spare time, invest in a locker that needs no maintenance! There are a number of differential lockers in the market now which are low maintenance or absolutely free of it.
Combining automatic function and maintenance-free features, you can get yourself a stress-free experience every time you ride on that jeep.
How to install lockers on your jeep?
Remember that installing a differential locker on your jeep is not a beginner’s task. You must be experienced from low to intermediate level for doing this properly.
So if you don’t have the required experience or are just not up for it, feel free to contact a professional.
At first, arrange all the items you would need to install the locker. If the locker does not come fully assembled, it will definitely have a kit containing all these items.
- 1Take out the critical parts of your vehicle relevant to this process. Such parts include axle, rotors, brakes and tires. Read the manual provided by Jeep to do this part flawlessly.
- 2Get rid of the oil. Then remove the carrier. Clean any part if you deem necessary.
- 3Check if your kit has bearings and shims. If not, purchase them beforehand. Now install them following the manual.
- 4Set up the gear and check if the pattern is correct. Now torque bearing caps as necessary. We recommend up to 45 ft-lbs.
- 5Now get the axles, rotors, brakes and tires installed respectively.
- 6Install the short fitting part of the cable into the cover.
- 7Let 2-3 threads stay out of piston and then put the cable through outside the spring.
- 8Pass the cable from the rear end of brake line and then take it far from the exhaust. Keeping it behind lines, take it inside the grommet hole.
- 9Take out the grommet and drill it to cut outward from the hole’s center.
- 10Install the differential cover, its bolts and torque these bolts to about 30 ft-lbs.
- 11After assembling the shifter, thread the piston into the cable’s rod end leaving ⅝ inch space.
- 12Put the spring through the swivel fitting on shifter. Now thread this fitting and stop when it can touch shift rod.
- 13Make some repeated shifts into lock and unlock. Make sure the screws on swivel fitting and the lock nut are tight. Now install the shifter.
Watch The Video on Youtube: How To Install A Lunchbox Locker
Electric lockers vs Air lockers
Electric lockers or e-lockers use electromagnets to do their job. It has two roller cams which are kept separate with a magnetic pull. This separation helps to keep the differential pins locked up. You will be able to lock or unlock them with the push of a button inside the vehicle.
Jeep JK air lockers, on the other hand, utilizes pneumatic pressure to lock up an open differential and converts it into a spool. It can function either as a typical differential or as a locker for front and rear axles simultaneously! Both wheels on an axle get to perform with the same exact traction with air lockers.
Air lockers need an on-board air compressor to operate. This is their source of getting the required air pressure. Similar to e-locker, air lockers can also be operated from a switch on the vehicle.
Air lockers are faster to disengage than e-lockers and can be turned on regardless of the jeep speed. As a result, they can react to any emergency situation faster.
Electric ones do not operate with an external power source. Using it carelessly can lead to the damage of internal automotive parts. That is why you must pay attention while working with these lockers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Locker
How Do I Know If I Have A Locker?
Answer: First, take out the entire axle - front or back. Now give the tires a spin. If both the tires are spinning in the same direction, your Jeep JK already has a locker. However, if they are spinning in opposite directions simultaneously, it does not have a locker yet.
When Should You Use A Locker?
Answer: It is not necessary to keep your locker engaged all the time you drive. You only need to switch it on (if the locker is not automatic) at specific moments.
For instance, when you are climbing up a steep land or moving along a rocky trail on the vehicle, you need the support of all four wheels to keep going without losing the grip.
The most common use of a locker is to get you out of muggy days like getting stuck in mud. Locker gives more traction to the tires and stops them from spinning forever in the mud. Similarly, it can get you out of all slippery surfaces like snow and ice.
What Does A Locking Differential Do?
Answer: The main purpose of a locking differential is to make sure that both the tires attached to its axle are moving at the same speed. An open differential does not permit that, thus keeping you trapped on slippery roads. A locking differential changes the situation by generating the necessary traction.
Can Damaged Lockers Be Repaired?
Answer: Of course! Just like any other automotive component, you can replace or repair your current locker. However, it will require taking out the associated axle shafts and carrier.
You will know the locker is not working anymore when it stops engaging or disengaging. If you cannot repair or replace it yourself, check out the nearest mechanics shop or contact Jeep’s customer care.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Locker?
Answer: Like most other services, the installation cost for a locker ultimately varies from place to place. However, a general range to keep in mind is a few hundred bucks.
It can be $300 to $350 for installing one locker for an axle at a minimum. If you know your way around a car, try installing it yourself to save a few bucks.
Does Locking Rear Differential Help In Snow?
Answer: A locking differential, in general, will help you to get out of any slippery surface. Since snow is very slippery, locking the rear (or front) differential will definitely help.
It locks both wheels of the rear axle to turn at the same speed. As a result, the traction generated increases and moves the vehicle out of the slippery place.
Should I Have Traction Control On Or Off?
Answer: You don’t need to turn the traction control off unless you are stuck in a very slippery surface like snow, ice or mud. It is generally a good idea to keep traction control on. This way, your vehicle will get to use reduced engine power and use brakes on only those wheels which are failing to move forward.
Jeep JK is undoubtedly one of the most popular vehicles ever. If you have invested in this amazing jeep, you definitely would not want to get stuck in it for some slippery surface.
Both safety and convenience are crucial factors in driving. A differential locker can guarantee you both! Make your adventures even more fun with at least one of them on your jeep. Get rid of the stress while planning the next adventure with a smile!
Mud, ice and other such elements are part of our nature. There is no way to avoid them all the time. So browse through the best lockers for Jeep JK today in order to make smooth rides every time!