A four wheel drive vehicle with manual hubs.

Should You Convert To Manual Hubs?

Should you convert to manual hubs? They might not ne as convenient, but they have many benefits for overlanders. Have a look.

If you’re an avid overlander you’ve likely considered making the switch from an automatic locking hub to manual locking hubs for your vehicle. Manual locking hubs offer a host of advantages over automatic locking hubs, including improved fuel economy, easier maintenance and better control on the trails. However, there are also certain drawbacks to consider as well. We’ll cover the pros and cons of switching to manual locking hubs and provide a few tips to help you make the best decision for your particular situation.

One of the biggest benefits to switching to manual locking hubs is improved fuel economy. Manual locking hubs are lighter than their automatic counterparts and they allow you to disengage the front axle while the vehicle is in two wheel drive mode. This saves fuel by reducing the amount of power being sent to the non engaged axle and keeps it from spinning needlessly on the highway. Depending on what type of axle your vehicle has you may also experience an increase in power due to the improved airflow caused by the manual locking hubs.

In addition to improved fuel economy manual locking hubs also make maintenance much easier. With automatic hubs you have to remove the center axle strut to access the locking hub internals for servicing. This can be time consuming  and it’s not always easy to get to. With manual locking hubs the internals are exposed and easy to access so you can perform necessary maintenance and repairs in a fraction of the time.

On the trail, manual locking hubs also provide an advantage. With automatic locking hubs you often have to wait a moment while the hubs engage before you can start off roading. This can be an annoying delay and it can also be a safety hazard if you’re trying to get out of an emergency situation. With manual locking hubs you can engage the hubs instantly so you’re ready to go as soon as you put the transmission in gear.

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Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to manual locking hubs. One is the fact that they require more user interaction. Some folks prefer the convenience of an automatic locking hub which will engage when you shift from two wheel drive to four wheel drive. With manual locking hubs you have to remember to engage them every time you want to go into four wheel drive.

Another disadvantage of manual locking hubs is their cost. Manual locking hubs tend to be more expensive than their automatic counterparts and you may also have to pay for installation if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

Ultimately, whether you decide to switch to manual locking hubs depends on your preferences and your overland style. If you prefer convenience and don’t mind spending a bit more money then automatic locking hubs may be the better choice. If you want to save money while also having more control on the trails then manual locking hubs might be the better choice. And if you’re as serious about off roading as you are about fuel economy and maintenance then manual locking hubs are definitely the way to go.

No matter what you choose there are a few tips to keep in mind when converting to manual locking hubs. First, be sure to choose a high quality set of manual locking hubs that is specifically designed for your type of axle and vehicle. Also be sure to read the instructions that come with the hubs and follow them carefully. And finally, if you’re not comfortable installing the hubs yourself be sure to take your vehicle to an experienced professional who can do the job for you.

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James is a computer generated character. A fictitious dad of three, he enjoys camping in the great outdoors and the idea of off roading.

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