What Is a Locking Rear Differential for a Toyota?


As if Toyota trucks weren't legendary enough for their reliability and "fear nothing" personality, Toyota now offers an optional locking rear differential for Tacomas and 4runners. These factory locking differentials and the many aftermarket units like them can help to make your Toy a more tenacious and versatile machine than ever before.


  • All locking differentials act to split power evenly between drive wheels on either side of the truck. This can yield much better performance in traction-limited environments such as mud, sand and leaves.

Manual Types

  • Locking differentials can be actuated by either air or electricity. Aftermarket units are usually air-actuated, but Toyota prefers electrons.

Automatic Types

  • Automatic lockers use a ratcheting principle to allow the tires to turn independently, and are cheaper than air lockers. These types are not recommended for the front axle.

Factory Applications

  • Toyota began offering locking differentials on third-generation 4Runners and Tacomas with an 8" rear axle.

Aftermarket Diffs

  • The most highly regarded aftermarket differential for Toyotas is the ARB air-locker, but Lock-Rite and Detroit automatic lockers are also very popular.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Eric Castro
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