What is a Pin Locker?

If you’re an avid UTV or ATV rider, then you’re probably familiar with the different types of front differentials that are available on the market, from the visco-lok to the smart lock. However, have you ever come across the pin locker differential?

Essentially, a pin locker is a mechanical locking differential that utilizes a series of pins and plates to connect the two wheels when one wheel loses traction. The pin locker uses pins that engage into the side gear, providing its differential lock.

As any experienced UTV or ATV rider knows, uneven terrain or obstacles can cause wheels on one side of the vehicle to lose traction while the others maintain it, which can result in the vehicle becoming stuck or losing control. The pin locker differential prevents this problem by locking the two wheels together when one loses traction, ensuring consistent power distribution. Let’s explore this unique front-locking differential, and how it distinguishes itself from other options.


How Does a Pin Locker Work?

The pin locker differential offers a unique blend of performance and control that performs differently than the stock visco-lok and the smart lock. While it may lack the sophistication of electronically-controlled automatic modes, the pin locker allows for precise management of front differential locking action. This feature enables you to anticipate obstacles, easily lock to the front differential, and maintain momentum with ease.

Fortunately, installing a pin locker is straightforward, and it doesn’t require any gear changes since it’s specifically designed to fit into the original housing. One of the primary advantages of this type of differential is its on-demand differential locking capability. Pin lockers feature a push-button actuated, electronically shifted pin-style locker, with many designs using a multiple-pin layout for optimal strength and efficiency. When ready to utilize all four wheels, you can flip the switch on and off as necessary, giving you greater control over your vehicle’s performance in various terrains and weather conditions. With a high-quality pin locker and proper installation, your UTV and ATV will run better than ever before!


Why are Pin Lockers Important for UTV and ATV Vehicles?

While the stock visco-lok differential suffices, UTVs and ATVs operate at their optimal level when their four-wheel drive is responsive. When faced with uneven terrain or obstacles, the pin locker is able to engage when there is a difference in wheel speed between the two wheels.  When this occurs switching the pin locker on will cause the pins to engage within the internal gears in the differential and lock the two wheels together, providing equal power to both wheels and increasing traction.

Without a pin locker, solely relying on the stock visco-lok differential will not produce prompt results when needed. When the tires start to spin, the clutch pad may take up to a full rotation to secure your differential. As a result, this delay can lead to a loss of momentum, slippage, and long-term harm to the vehicle. In addition, one can argue that pin lockers can help make your side-by-side vehicle more secure and safe by preventing accidents and preventing you from getting stuck or stranded in rough terrain. Ensure the longevity and proper maintenance of your UTV or ATV vehicle by investing in the appropriate pin locker.


How to Choose the Right Pin Locker for Your UTV or ATV

If you own a UTV or ATV, then you know that having the right gear is essential. One of the most important pieces of equipment that you can invest in is a pin locker. Since the pin locker is designed to keep your UTV or ATV securely locked in place, it is important to make sure you pick the right one to do the job. However, with so many differential options on the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one. Here are our top 5 helpful tips on how to select the perfect pin locker for your UTV or ATV.


  1. Consider the Vehicle

When considering a pin locker for your ATV or UTV, it is crucial to take your vehicle’s make and model into account. Numerous pin locker options are available in the market, tailored to specific vehicle types. It is essential to verify that the chosen pin locker is compatible with your vehicle without the need for additional parts to be added or removed. Be sure to research and confirm compatibility before making a purchase.


  1. Look for Durability

Your pin locker should be made of sturdy materials that can withstand every type of adventure. Look for a locker made in the USA of durable materials, such as steel or aluminum. Additionally, consider the thickness of the pin. A thicker pin can provide additional durability and security to your vehicle and its parts. You can assess the locker’s durability by examining its weight and size. A heavy and sizable locker typically indicates a sturdier and more durable option.


  1. Consider the Size

Make sure the pin locker you choose is the right size for your UTV or ATV. If you purchase a Can-Am Defender pin locker for your Can-Am Maverick, it will not fit appropriately. Similarly, if your vehicle requires a smart lock, then replacing it with a pin locker may not be feasible since the parts have different sizes. It is essential to carefully review the specifications and compatibility of the pin locker before making a purchase.


  1. Check the Warranty

Before making a purchase, be sure to check the warranty. A good warranty on your aftermarket differential will give you peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected. Most reputable pin locker manufacturers, such as Halo Lockers, offer a warranty of at least one year against manufacturer defects.


  1. Read Reviews

Read reviews from other UTV or ATV owners who have used the pin locker you’re considering. Reviews can give you valuable insights into the pros and cons of different models. Look for a locker with consistently positive reviews and avoid those with numerous negative reviews. For unbiased reviews from fellow riders, we recommend checking out forums like Maverick Forum and Can-Am Forum.


With the right pin locker, you can simultaneously protect and upgrade your UTV or ATV and have peace of mind while you’re out exploring the great outdoors.


Buy Your Pin Locker at Halo Lockers

If you are looking to upgrade or purchase a Can-Am differential, then look no further than Halo Lockers. As the UTV division of OX Off-Road, we have over 20 years of experience manufacturing selectable lockers and off-road components. Our Can-Am differentials are the strongest on the market, solving the inherent weakness found in the stock visco-lok. We use top-quality materials and employ the best manufacturing processes right here in the USA.

Our differentials (selectable lockers) are compatible with popular Can-Am side-by-side vehicles, including the Can-Am Defender, Can-Am Maverick, and Can-Am Commander. At Halo Lockers, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding customer service, staffed by a team of knowledgeable experts. If you have any questions about selecting the right locker for your vehicle, then do not hesitate to contact us.

Learn more about Halo Locker’s locking differentials in the YouTube video below.



About Halo Lockers | OX Off-Road

Based in Odessa, Florida, Halo Lockers is the UTV division of OX Off-Road. OX ships products across the world and has been making selectable lockers and off-road-related parts for over 2 decades. Exceptional quality characterizes our UTV aftermarket products.  Our products are designed and made in the USA. When you call us to discuss upgrading your side-by-side vehicle with a new pin locker, you are going to talk with a UTV expert. Please call 727-230-7803 with any product questions or for assistance with the purchasing or pin locker installation process.