Differential and Axle Lock Indicator Symbols

Differential Lock Indicator4WD Lock IndicatorThese are all Differential Lock Indicator symbols, the first being Center Differential Lock indicators. The option to lock the differential may be available in an all-wheel drive vehicle. Turn it on only if you become stuck in mud or snow, or if you are driving on a loose surface off road at low speeds. A symbol featuring all four wheels will appear on the instrument panel when the lock is in use.

They will look like a line drawing or stick figure with an X or the word LOCK in it. What else do you need to know? Read on…


Any traction control feature in the vehicle will be deactivated by this action as well, so that the traction of all four wheels can be used.

AWD Lock IndicatorAll Wheel Lock IndicatorIf this system is accidentally engaged, your vehicle will hitch and buck and feel like it is going to tear itself apart at normal speeds. Come to a stop and look for the symbol on your dash or console and disengage the system. Drive forward or backward a few feet to complete the disengagement.

The indicator may turn up as a text symbol, like this All Wheel Drive (AWD) Lock Indicator on the right. It means the same as the images above.

Electronic Rear Differential LockRear Differential Lock IndicatorThese are Rear Differential Lock indicators. The version on the left features a large closed circle between the two rear (bottom) wheels. The version to the right uses an X in place of the closed circle and is an Electronic Rear Differential Lock indicator. Both versions indicate that the two rear wheels have been locked to rotate together. Like the center lock options above, a button or dial on the dashboard or center console has been engaged locking the wheels and can be turned off.

If the vehicle is equipped with an Information Display and a CHECK DIFFERENTIAL or DIFFERENTIAL MALFUNCTION message is shown, contact your dealer. If the vehicle hitches and bucks like a bronco at speeds above 20 MPH and the Lock cannot be disengaged, reduce speed and go straight to your dealer or service center, or have the vehicle towed.

Front Axle LockRear Axle LockThere are now options to lock either or both of the front and rear axles electronically from some manufacturers. These padlock images are Front and Rear Axle Lock Indicator symbols. To activate the system, pressing an axle lock switch once locks the rear axle, while a second press locks the front axle. The indicators will be lit. The indicators will flash prior to being fully locked or unlocked. The axle locks will disengage if the vehicle is taken out of 4L (Low) range, or the ignition switch is turned off.



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