Does My Silverado Have A Locking Differential? How to know for sure?

One of the main reasons people buy a Chevy Silverado is because it has good off-road performance. While it runs smoothly on regular roads, it also does a great job holding itself up on bumpy terrains. 

The fact that you can make any kind of adjustment you want to the vehicle is also a big advantage. The Chevy Silverado responds quite well to modifications. The changes can be made without having to spend too much money as well. 

Besides the usual changes to the wheels, and fenders, people also like to add locking differentials to the vehicle. This is because the locking differential adds more power to the vehicle when it runs off-road. 

But you might be wondering, does my Silverado have a locking differential? There is no point in adding one if the vehicle already has one installed. 

A great way to check if the Chevy Silverado has a locking differential is to open the dash. If you see the g80 code on the dash, the Silverado model has a locking differential. Not all Chevy Silverado’s come with the differential lock. Only two models do.  

There are other things that you need to know about the Chevy Silverado locking differential as well. So keep on reading to learn more. 

Does Silverado Have A Locking Differential?

Not all Chevy Silverado models come with the locking differential factory built. The only Chevy Silverado model that comes with this part preinstalled is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2. Another car made by GMC, the Sierra 1500 AT4X also comes with the differential lock. The feature is available in trucks that are packaged with the Z71 off-road bundle. 

General motor vehicles do not have the traditional electronic locking differential. If you open the dash, you will see a g80 code on top. This means that the vehicles come with an automatic locking differential named the G80. 

General Motors has designed the differential to be capable of locking the movement of the right and left wheels. Therefore, the movement is synced and identical. This feature is automatically initiated once the vehicle can recognize that one of the wheels is spinning slower than the other. 

If your Chevy Silverado does not come with locking differentials, don’t worry you can just add them later on. The vehicle responds to modifications quite well. If you want to learn more about different kinds of modifications on the Chevy Silverado, you can check out my writing on Chevy Silverado 285/60r20 compatibility and Chevy Silverado GMC Canyon wheel compatibility

Why Don’t Car Companies Put Differential Lock In Their Vehicles? 

Factory-build locking differentials are quite rare. You will rarely see them built in, even in 4×4 vehicles

One of the main reasons why people do this is because most truck buyers swap them out for more powerful ones anyway. Besides changing the differential, they also change the axles.  By eliminating the locking differential as a whole, they can reduce manufacturing costs and make a profit. 

Sometimes this also helps them sell the vehicle at a lower cost which makes the truck more affordable and therefore more attractive to customers. 

People often prefer heavy-duty and more powerful sir-powered lockers instead of the electronic ones that the factory offers. 

If you want to add differentials to your Chevy Silverado, or if you want to upgrade your current one, you can take a look at more powerful options such as the Yukon Dura Grip Limited Slip Positraction Unit. If you have the money, you can also take a look at the Yukon Gear & Axle (YGLGM8.5-3-30) 30-Spline Grizzly Locker. 

What Is A Locking Differential, And How Important Is It? 

Before learning about a locking differential, we must know what a differential is. So, a differential is a part in the axle which enables two wheels of the vehicle to run at two different speeds. 

This can sometimes disrupt the smoothness of the truck. So, to lock both wheels at the same speed, you need a locking differential. This makes sure the wheels do not spin out of control and ruggedly when running off-road. It also helps with traction to push the vehicle forward by feeding the unit more power. 

Most of the trucks that you get in America come with some sort of differential locking method. Very rarely does a truck come with the locking differential pre-installed. But you can make adjustments by adding a separate one later on to most of the models. Nowadays, you get an electronic locking differential on most 4×4 trucks. This helps you to lock the wheels at the push of a button. 

The main reason why you should invest in a locking differential is that it performs well on slippery roads. The grip and control of the vehicle increase significantly. 

Another reason why they are crucial is that they stop your car from spinning in circles if it slips on snow or a wet road. Wheel Spinning can also be prevented. So it is an integral part of the vehicle’s overall safety. The preciseness that you get from the front locking differential is incomparable. 

In general, trucks just perform a lot better when they have a locking differential. All off-roaders swear by this addition to any 4×4 vehicle. Just take a look at this video about GMC 1500 Sierra AT4Xand you will know just what I am talking about. This car has locking differentials, so you can see the difference in speed and movement. 

Which Trucks Come With A Factory Build Locking Differential? 

Although you cannot get front and rear differentials on all chevy Silverado models, you can get them on a few ones. I’ve discussed that above. Here are some other vehicles that come with different kinds of locking differential. 

1. Automatic Locking Differential 

Land rovers come with automatic locking differential technology. This automatically locks the wheels to be coherent once the vehicle gets stuck. Other examples of vehicles with electronic locking include Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, and also the Ram 1500. 

Before adding electronic locking on their trucks, General Motors also used similar technology. 

2. Rear Locking Differential 

A lot of SUVs and trucks nowadays come with the rear differential locking option. Some of the vehicles include the jeep Mojave, Tundra TRD Pro, Ram 1500 TRX, Toyota TRD, and also the Ford Raptor. 

Front-locking differentials come in handy for low-speed rock climbing with vehicles. 

3. Front Differential Lockers 

Elite vehicles such as the Rubicon, G wagon, ZR2, and AT4X come with front differentials. This is why these vehicles tend to be so expensive. 

4. Front And Back Differential Lockers

A few very elite vehicles come with this feature. These include Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the heavy-duty Dodge Ram Power Wagon, 

5. Lockers 

Lockers are added to only a few of the capable off-road trucks. That is why you will find this amazing feature in vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon, Jeep’s top-trim Wrangler, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevrolet Silverado. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Which Chevy Silverado Models Have Both Front And Rear Locking Differentials? 

Locking differentials are one of the most popular upgrades for the Chevy Silverado. Only a few Chevy Silverado models come with the locking differentials pre-installed. 
The light-duty full-sized Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra is the only model that comes with front and rear locking differentials. 

2. Do You Need Locking Differentials For Vehicles That Run In Sand? 

If you are talking about desert racing, then no, you do not necessarily need a locking differential. You can add rear ones if you please, but front ones are not necessary. 
You need to focus on suspension, and gear for desert racing. This is one of the main reasons why you will see that popular trucks such as the Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Ford F-150 Raptor, and the Ram 1500 TRX don’t have any built-in front lockers. 

3. What Is An Alternative To Front And Rear Locking Differentials? 

There have been a lot of alternatives to the front and rear locking differentials in the past years. A lot of engineers have been trying to find ways in which the part can be replaced. The closest that they have come is the limited-slip differential. This can stop one wheel from spinning faster than the other. This does not work as well as the locking differential, but will surely get the work done. 

An example of this is how you can add Torsen limited slips on a ford raptor. 

4. Does The Chevrolet Colorado Come With Locking Differentials? 

The Chevrolet Colorado comes with lockers only. This vehicle is a great buy for people who love to drive off-road. Depending on your need, you can later add front and rear locking differentials. 

Final Words 

A locking differential can be very beneficial for 4×4. Besides making your vehicle smoother, it can also increase safety.

I don’t think I have to tell you any more about the benefits of adding a locking differential. Unfortunately, not all Chevy Silverado models come with the locking differential feature. If you’re still wondering, does my Silverado have a locking differential? Try and check the dash. If it has the g80 code, the vehicle has locking differentials.

If not, you can just add them separately!

Hi, this is Johnny Norris grew up in a car-oriented family. I love helping people by solving different problems they face in their Chevy car. Following my suggestions, how-to guides, you can save up on a lot of money that would have been spent on paying a professional.