How to Choose the Right Air Locker for Your Jeep

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Filed under Automotive, Editorial

On a rocky terrain, steep ridge, or mud-laden track, you need traction, the resistance between the ground and the vehicle’s tire to maintain control, and air lockers improve stability and traction in rough terrains. Let’s explore air lockers, the difference between them and e-lockers, and how to choose the right one.

What Are Air Lockers?

Air lockers are differential lockers commonly used in off-road vehicles like jeeps, which use compressed air to disengage and engage the locking mechanism. A differential system enables the wheels on an axle to turn at different speeds.

You can activate or deactivate them using a switch or control box while driving and switch between open or locked differential depending on the driving conditions. You can opt for an ARB air locker for high-quality locking differentials. Installing them on the jeep’s rear and front will increase its capability.

Air Lockers vs E-lockers

Both achieve the same goal but follow different methods and procedures. E-lockers or electronic locking differentials use an electronic switch to control magnet sets to pull two roller cams apart, which uses pins to push into the side gear to lock the differential. On the other hand, Air lockers use pneumatic pressure through compressed air onboard to lock the gears in place. You can activate it through a switch on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Air lockers are more instantaneous because you don’t need to convert signals to action, while e-lockers can take a few seconds to engage. They also have no operating speed limitations. You may need to keep on-board air compressors to activate Air lockers, but they also help inflate air beds and tires and clean car components, such as air filters and door seals.

How to Choose the Right Air Locker

Consider these factors to choose the right air locker for your jeep.

1.   Your Specific Needs

You can install air lockers in various ways depending on the make and model of your vehicle. For example, they can work with aftermarket accessories like big tires or large front bumpers. You can also use them to replace the factory air conditioning system. Consider the type of off-road terrain; some are better suited for mud and sand, and others for rock crawling.

2.   Vehicle Compatibility and Performance

Air lockers are often designed to fit your vehicle’s specific model, including the shape and size of the air filter housing. Always consult your store clerk before purchasing.

The performance of air lockers is tied to their shape and size: the bigger they are, the more the air will move through the filter housing, improving overall performance. However, fuel consumption and wear and tear on components such as clamps and engine seals will also increase.

3.   Warranty and Price

Your air lockers should have a warranty for installation or manufacturing defects. Prices can vary according to cheap mass-market products or premium high-end brands that offer higher quality and (often) a lifetime warranty. Consider your budget before deciding.

4.   Ease of Installation and Brand Reputation

Air lockers can be challenging to install, but you can opt for hard-mount systems that are easy to install as you can bolt them on without needing to drill into the frame. It is vital to consider brand reputation as each brand has its unique advantages. Check product reviews beforehand to be aware of any problems with the product or customer service.


Choosing the right air locker is crucial for enhancing your off-road adventures. Consider your jeep’s specific needs, compatibility, and the reputation of different brands. Prioritize factors like ease of installation, warranty coverage, and overall performance to make an informed decision. With careful consideration and attention to detail, you can equip your jeep with the ideal air locker, ensuring a smoother and more capable off-road experience.


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