Locking Differentials

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Do not use off-road locking differentials while driving on high-traction surfaces, such as asphalt. Using locking differentials in inappropriate situations can cause significant damage to the vehicle. Damage to the vehicle due to improper use of locking differentials is not covered by the warranty.

Open Differentials

Most passenger vehicles are equipped with open differentials on the drive axles. When a vehicle with open differentials turns on a corner or paved road, the wheels on the outside of the curve rotate more quickly than the wheels on the inside of the curve to prevent wheel hop and reduce vehicle instability. However, in low-traction scenarios (such as off-roading or driving in snow), additional torque can get directed towards the wheel(s) with less traction, which may lead to the vehicle getting stuck.

Locking Differentials

Cybertruck is equipped with locking differentials for increased traction during certain low traction and off-road conditions.

Locking differentials lock both wheels of an axle together, which forces the wheels to rotate at the same speed. This distributes the torque across the same axle based on the available traction in each wheel. When one of the locked wheels has significantly reduced traction (on sand, ice, etc.) more torque is applied to the wheel with greater traction. This distribution of torque helps the vehicle continue moving in low traction environments.

Dual Motor Variants: are equipped with mechanical front and rear locking differentials.

Tri-Motor (Cyberbeast) Variants: are equipped with a mechanical front locking differential, and a virtual rear locking differential to provide sufficient torque in each rear wheel. The rear locking differential automatically engages in certain drive modes and speeds, and cannot be manually engaged or disengaged.

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Loading Cybertruck to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and engaging the locking differentials may result in damage to the drivetrain (see Vehicle Loading).
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Do not expect the locking differentials to provide sufficient traction if the vehicle does not have appropriate tires for the conditions, or Cybertruck is in a situation where all four wheels are spinning.

Engaging Locking Differentials On Road

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Your vehicle's turning radius increases when locking differentials are engaged. It is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and drive carefully.

Engaging locking differentials while driving on roads is intended for specific situations where you temporarily need extra grip on loose or uneven terrain, such as getting un-stuck from a snow bank. Do not engage locking differentials unless it is needed for the road conditions. Navigate to Controls > Dynamics > Engage Rear Locking Differential. When enabled, Slippery Surface also enables (see Slippery Surfaces). Engage Rear Locking Differential should not be used for regular driving on slick surfaces.

When you engage locking differentials while driving on roads, your speed is limited to 35 mph (56 km/h). The stability control icon may appear momentarily while the locking differentials disengage (see Vehicle Status).

Informational PurposesAn informational icon, calling your attention
This option is not available on Tri-Motor (Cyberbeast) vehicles.

Engaging Locking Differentials Off Road

Before you engage locking differentials, consider your driving situation (such as the terrain, weather, etc.). The rear locking differentials are ideal for off-roading uphill or on level surfaces. Front locking differentials are typically used when you need more traction at the front of the vehicle, like rock crawling. To engage:
  1. Access the Off-Road app.
  2. Select the locking differentials you want to enable.
    For dual motor variants:
    • All On
    • Rear Only
    • Off
    For Tri-Motor (Cyberbeast) variants:
    • Front Only
    • Off

Or touch the associated locking differential icon in the vehicle status area and select which locking differential(s) you want to engage:

Gray: Locking differential is disengaged.
Blinking orange: Locking differential is engaging or disengaging.
Solid orange: Locking differential is engaged.
Orange question mark (?): Unknown locker position.
Red exclamation point (!): System fault or locking differential unavailable (see Troubleshooting).

You may need to drive a short distance to engage once enabled.

Once the locking differentials are fully engaged, the vehicle may slightly rock side to side when turning at low speeds. This is normal behavior when the touchscreen indicates a fully engaged locker (solid orange icon).

The locking differentials may cancel or delay engaging in various cases. If the locking differentials are unable to engage, a chime sounds and a message displays on the touchscreen. See Troubleshooting for more information.

Warning IconA warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Driving with locked differentials may reduce vehicle responsiveness to steering. Always monitor your vehicle's behavior and the surroundings. Failure to do so may result in damage or serious injury.

Disengaging Locking Differentials

To disengage, touch the differential icon on the touchscreen and select Off. You may need to drive a short distance to disengage. The locking differentials also automatically attempt to disengage whenever the vehicle shifts out of Drive, or when a different drive mode is selected.

When you disengage the locking differentials, the icon may blink orange before disappearing from the touchscreen. Ensure the locking differentials are disengaged before you drive on paved roads or at speeds higher than 35 mph (56 km/h). Check the vehicle wheels are not skipping when turning.


Behavior Action(s)
Locking differential(s) are not engaging. Creep forward.
Wait for excessive wheel slip to reduce.
Turn the steering wheel to completely to the left and right, and back again, several times while stationary.
Locking differential takes a long time to disengage. Creep forward.
Turn the steering wheel to the left and right while creeping forward.
Check tires on the axle for uneven wear.
Popping sound while engaging/disengaging. This is normal. The noise while engaging/disengaging can occur while the mechanism is engaging or releasing.
Solid orange with an exclamation point appears. Try shifting into Park, then shift into Drive and try again.
Use the mobile app to schedule a service appointment.
Locking differentials cancel or delay engagement. The vehicle doesn't detect a difference in wheel spin between two wheels on the same axle. Continue driving and wait before trying to re-engage.
The vehicle detects a very high difference in wheel spin between two wheels on the same axle. Continue driving and wait before trying to re-engage.