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How To How To How to Use Locking Differentials (Mechanical eLockers and Virtual Rear Locker)

Difficulty Level: Intermediate  |  Time Required: 5 Minutes  |  Tools Required: None |  Related Parts, Products, Services or Technology: None

Available Locking Differentials, also known as “lockers,” allow you to lock the wheels of an axle together, forcing them to turn at the same rate. This feature allows you to either lock only the wheels of the rear axle, or lock both the wheels of the rear axle and the wheels of the front axle.


When the axles are locked, torque is sent to the tires that have grip. This is designed to help enhance your vehicle’s traction in off-roading scenarios when each tire might experience different traction situations.


In Terrain Mode or the 4Lo transfer case setting, you can lock both the front and rear axles to enhance traction capability.

How Locking Differentials Work

Varieties of Locking Differentials include mechanical electronic locking differentials (or eLockers) and rear virtual locking differentials (or eLockers).

A virtual locker uses software to lock the two motors that power the rear wheels together, rather than a physical vehicle system. The result is the same as a mechanical locker.


This feature lets you lock wheels together on their axle, forcing them to turn at the same rate. This allows you to apply torque through both wheels even if one wheel has less traction than the other.


This can be helpful in certain off-roading situations when one wheel may be suspended in the air or on a different kind of surface than the other on the same axle.


When engaged, the front locker disengages automatically above speeds of approximately 15 mph. The rear locker is available at speeds of up to 50 mph when Terrain Mode or Off-road Mode is engaged. Consult your Owner's Manual for more information.

How to Use Locking Differentials

To engage the lockers:

  1. Press the corresponding button on the centerstack. You’ll see a rear-only button and a button that engages both front and rear lockers simultaneously.
  2. Your vehicle must be in Terrain Mode or the 4Lo transfer case setting (if equipped) to engage both the front and rear lockers. On some vehicles, such as the GMC HUMMER EV, the button must be held down for at least 5 seconds to engage both lockers.
  3. You can see the status of your lockers through your vehicle’s infotainment system.
  4. You can press the centerstack buttons again to disengage the lockers. The lockers will also disengage when you exceed the appropriate speed limit (depending on your vehicle).

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To find out if your vehicle has this feature, contact your dealer or refer to your vehicle’s equipment list. Please check your Owner’s Manual for more information about features.