Signs That Locking Hubs Are Bad

by Jen Davis

The hubs on your vehicle are a part of its four-wheel drive system. Hubs are either locked manually or automatically lock when you engage the four-wheel drive, depending on the type of four-wheel drive system in the vehicle. If your locking hubs are bad, it will affect the entire four-wheel drive system. There are several signs that your vehicle will exhibit if the hubs have broken or gone bad.

Not Properly Engaging

If you have a broken hub, your four-wheel drive will not be able to engage properly. When your hubs lock in, your front tires will turn on their own without the aid of your back tires. If you have a broken hub or hubs, one or both of your front wheels will not pull, even after you have engaged the four-wheel drive.


You may hear a grinding or slipping noise when the hub fails to properly engage. Often it is actually the good hub that starts making the noise after the other one does not kick in.

Not Disengaging

On rare occasions, a vehicle's automatic locking hubs may fail to disengage. The vehicle will continue to behave as if it is in four-wheel drive and you may hear loud popping noises coming from the hub. Some vehicles must be backed 6 feet or more to fully disengage the four-wheel drive--always try backing your vehicle to disengage it before you assume there is a problem.

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