If you are a car enthusiast you might have come across the term diff lock. This is actually a modification that is done to the standard automotive differential, and the main purpose of this lock is to restrict each one of the two wheels on the axle to the exact rotational speed irrespective of the traction that is available on each wheel. The unlocked differential is a good feature for vehicles that travel on hard surfaces such as roads, but it causes some problems to drivers, and that is why people prefer using a diff lock instead.
Why Choose 4×4 Diff Locks
Before you decide to install a diff lock, you should understand how it works and the main purpose of this lock. It has three main functions, namely:
- Trying to aim the power of the engine at the wheels.
- Acting as the last gear reduction in the car, thus slowing down the rotation speed of the transmission one last time before it hits the wheels.
- Transmitting the power to the wheels, all the while allowing it to rotate at varied speeds.
If the four wheels on the 4×4 car are able to run at different speeds then you will be able to take the corners more efficiently. All the powered axles in any 4WD will have 4×4 diff locks and these will be able to directly power the wheel which is the easiest to rotate. The 4×4 diff locks provide different powers to each of the wheels based on their own needs. Most cars will have only one differential but the 4×4 vehicles will have about three differentials – the front, rear and center. The differential lock or 4×4 diff lock will be able to secure this differential correctly in place, so that all the wheels will be able to move on the axle at the same speed. This will push equal power to the wheels which is very important when you are driving on a difficult terrain.
Using 4×4 Diff Locks
4×4 diff locks should not be initially engaged when driving on the road unless the weather conditions are extreme in terms of snow and ice where you will need additional traction. You should use the 4×4 diff lock when you are driving off road, for driving on any difficult terrain such as dirt, mud, gravel and snow. Before you use these locks, you should know about the different types that are available so that you can make the right choice.
- Automatic 4×4 diff locks will be able to engage automatically the moment traction is lost. The diff lock will then be able to release when the traction is regained. Some of the automatic diff locks will only be able to disengage when one wheel is required to be spinning at a faster rate than the others.
- Manual 4×4 diff locks will put the driver of the car in control thus enabling him to decide when, and, if additional traction is actually required. There are many types of manual diff locks available in the market, and most of them will work using a switch that is fixed on the gearstick or on the dashboard. These will work with an electromagnet or compressed air, or are cable operated.
When the differential is locked, the vehicle will be able to run in a straight line thus making corners difficult. This is why it is important not to put your car under stress as it can cause serious damage to the car’s axles. Each person will have a different opinion about the type of 4×4 diff locks that they should use so look through your options to find the 4×4 diff locks that will be able to take you on the tracks that you want.