When to use the front locker?


Jeep Newb
Had my first trail ride yesterday and decided to play with the e-lockers to see what they could do. Started with the rear locked and it easily handled everything. But I also engaged the front one time just for kicks. I learned real quick, it's about impossible to turn with all 4 locked. So when can you actually use the front locker, if you can't maneuver your rig hardly? Is it literally just for straight steep crawls and you turn it off once at the top?

The NotARubicon

Jeep Owner
I only use my front when I'm in a shituation where one of the front wheels is, or likely will, start spinning and i'm not moving, or about to be not moving (aka, stuck) .. so, if i'm climbing over some large, off-camber rocks, or having trouble getting up a steep ledge, or maybe the wheels are buried in the sand..
Use of the front locker is rare, even though I do hardcore/extreme trails often.


Jeep Owner
I wish I had the technical knowledge to properly answer your question. I will assure you full lock front and rear will get you through and over obstacles that rear only won't, in my experience, 90% of the time when used when rear only fails. It's the 10% when not advisable that I am ignorant. As to steering when at full lock, you are correct. Powering up a steep with a turn required at top, or in between, can be dangerous if trees or rocks are tight. One of my last upgrades was hydro-assist steering. This totally eliminates the problem, nearly. Basically, the driver steers normally with no undue pressure................edit...this can lead to more bent parts.
Last edited:


Staff member
I'm in a shituation .
I see what you did there lol!

I honestly only use my front locker in super tough situations and after I am lined up. I do wish I had an atlas so that I could have front wheel only. There are times I feel like I could do better with front only and locked. Very seldom but there are times.


Jeep Newb
I have ARB's front and back with an ARB Twin and an SPod.
I can lock and release in a flash without problem or delay.
Get to the top of a climb, hit front off, turn, hit front on, no problem.
AND the front will pull you thought a lot more stuff than just the rear will.

El Sanchimoto

Jeep Owner
I typically engage/disengage both at the same time when I use them and I use them when doing ascents or descents on particularly difficult or loose terrain, when I'm navigating through a rock garden, when recovering another vehicle, or I am fully stuck. They key point though is that I try to use them for as little as necessary and at as low of speed as possible.

As you've noticed steering is difficult because the inside wheel wants to turn at a slower rate than the outside wheel which will cause your wheels to "skip". If you're on sand/gravel or loose dirt this will help minimize the wheels skipping but you should try to avoid tight maneuvers while fully locked if possible.

This of course is all just my experience and doesn't mean I'm correct, yours/others experience may vary.


Jeep Owner
For me personally, I only turn on my lockers (both front and rear) when I am rock crawling (mostly all I do) or doing a steep, slick, climb where i need all the traction my rig can muster. For the most part, I leave my lockers off. When I get to an obstacle i deem needs lockers, push my lil fancy button and turn them on, climb the obstacle and immediately click them off. As you wheel more, you will learn the capabilities of your rig and when you need to use the lockers and not. Front lockers are great for helping pull the rig over ledges and boulders. Attempt to climb things without the lockers on, if you notice traction is going to the wrong tire, turn them on and watch the magic happen.


Jeep Newb
I had an auburn limited slip in the rear of my TJ that worked well along with a Spartan lunch box locker in the front. I had a Teraflex 2 low kit in the transfer case so I would run in 2 low on a lot of trails. I was crossing a ditch once where it was teetering between 1 front and one rear and couldn't figure out why my front locker was not grabbing until I realized it was still in 2wd. The auto locker sucked in the snow because you couldn't turn under throttle.


Jeep Newb
I have gears ready to go in the JK waiting on purchase of an Eaton E-locker for the rear, at this point I am debating if I really need a front locker.