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How Can I Tell I My Manual Locking Hubs Need to Be Replaced? 

Manual locking hubs have been around for at least 60 years. Originally invented by Warn Industries, manual locking hubs offer decreased driveline wear, increased fuel economy and smoother vehicle operation. Manual locking hubs, as the name implies, must be locked and unlocked by hand. When unlocked, they disconnect the front wheels from the rest of the vehicles’ driveline. This allows the front wheels to “freewheel” without resistance. When locked, they reconnect the front wheels, ensuring that the vehicle operates as a true four-wheel drive.


  1. Locate the locking hubs on your vehicle. They are located at the center of the front wheels.
  2. Inspect the hubs for any signs of oil seepage. If any is found, the internal hub gasket should be replaced.
  3. Turn the hubs manually, back and forth, from the “locked” to the “unlocked” position. The hubs should turn freely throughout their range. If they seem to bind or grab, an internal cleaning is warranted.
  4. Have a friend operate the vehicle, slowly, with the hubs locked. Stand beside the vehicle and listen for any grinding noises from the hubs. Do this with both hubs. A locking hub that has failed will often make a grinding noise as it slips in and out of position.
  5. Operate the vehicle with the hubs locked and four-wheel drive engaged. If the four-wheel drive is not working and the front drive-line is turning, the problem lies in the manual locking hubs.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best way to keep the locking hubs working properly is to use them. At least once a month, lock the hubs and drive a short distance on a soft surface, such as gravel or grass. This keeps the entire assembly lubed and functioning properly.
  • Never operate the vehicle with one hub locked and the other unlocked. This can cause the vehicle to handle erratically and can damage the driveline.




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