People who drive 4×4 Jeeps often wonder if it is worth their time and effort to put lock out hubs on their Jeep. The answer is yes, unless you live somewhere that you never take the Jeep out of four wheel drive.
For those who don’t know lock out hubs will help your Jeep when you put the car into two-wheel drive by allowing the front wheels to turn without turning the front differential or the front driveshaft. Normally, when you put the Jeep into 2WD the front wheels will turn the front half shafts and the differential and the driveshaft as well.
Many of the newer Jeep 4×4 already come with automatic lock out hubs that will engage automatically when the four-wheel drive is activated from inside. However; most of the older jeeps that people use to go 4x4ing in don’t have auto locking hubs. Jeep owners who are interested installing manual locking hubs can easily find them at their favorite auto parts shop or on-line.
The trick if you do not have automatic locking hubs on your Jeep and you have to install manual ones is to remember to disengage them before you get out into the rougher terrains. If you get out there and forget to switch the car back to 4WD then if you stuck you won’t be able to get the car out of 2WD.
The benefits of having locking hubs installed on your Jeep are up for debate. Some people suggest that your vehicle gets better fuel economy, lower tire wear and less overall vibration which leads to a smoother ride. Though as far as we can tell there are no real studies to back any of this up, but it would make sense that if the wheels are running more efficiently that the Jeep would get better fuel mileage.
Jeep lock out hubs run anywhere from around $80 all the way up to near $200. If you do very little city driving in your Jeep 4×4 then there really isn’t a reason to install these lock out type ups, but if you use your 4×4 as a commuter car during the week and only go off-road on the weekends then lock out hubs are a must.