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Home » Expert Advice » WARN Manual Locking Hubs Are Built to Last

WARN Manual Locking Hubs Are Built to Last

The strains and stress of off-road driving can wear down an automatic locking hub quickly. It’s no surprise, then, that OE automatic locking hubs are notoriously prone to failure on 4x4 vehicles. Once they give out, off-road drivers tend to replace those automatic locking hubs with a more durable manual locking hub. WARN hubs are particularly popular, because they are made with the same focus on quality that goes into each and every WARN winch.

Purpose of locking hubs

Locking hubs, also known as free-wheeling hubs, disengage the front wheels from the driveshaft for two-wheel driving. The benefits of using locking hubs include better fuel efficiency, reduced wear on axle parts, and improved ride quality. In theory, the disengaged parts are no longer transferring power, so frictional losses decline and fuel economy improves. Reduced wear results for the same reason. Whether these benefits are significant, or even noticeable, is up for debate. What many off-roaders do agree on is that disconnecting the locking hubs for two-wheel driving reduces vibration and noise.

Manual locking hubs vs. automatic locking hubs

Automatic locking hubs engage automatically when you switch into 4WD. Manual locking hubs have to be engaged by hand, from the outside of the vehicle. This can be inconvenient, particularly if the weather is bad or you’ve already driven into messy terrain. Many drivers will plan ahead and drive the vehicle in 2WD with the hubs engaged if they expect to need 4WD shortly.

WARN hubs

WARN produces a premium manual hub kit and a standard manual hub kit, as well as locking hub service kits and locking hub spindle nuts. Both the premium and standard WARN hubs can replace factory automatic locking hubs. Additional parts may be required to complete the conversion.

WARN premium manual hubs are designed with several features that ensure reliable and long-lasting performance. The all-metal construction and zinc-aluminum alloy can withstand almost any harsh, off-road environment. Seals on the cap and the dial keep debris out of the hub, while the chrome-plated finish defends against corrosion. These WARN hubs are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

The standard version of WARN hubs are quality OEM hub replacements. These hubs feature a precision-cast hub body, a 4140 steel clutch ring, and inner drive gear.

Parts for WARN hubs

WARN locking hub service kits contain the O-rings, bolts, and other small parts needed to rebuild a locking hub. You can also purchase a set of WARN locking hub spindle nuts, which are used to replace old spindle nuts or to install a new set of locking hubs.