What Does PDL Mean On A Truck? Important Facts You Need To Know!

This is a question we get asked a lot – what does PDL mean on a truck?

Basically, a PDL or power divider lock is typical in many trucks. When your tractor unit comes with a configuration of either 6×4 or an 8×4 dimension, there are usually two axles, which are drive axles. There are also some fixed units and others may come with a power divider that allows drivers to determine where they will send their engine’s power.

Moreover, the power divider is useful when driving off-road or in snowy weather. It also comes in handy when one of the axles is likely to wheelspin.

Find out more about the power divider and why it matters in your vehicle.

what does pdl mean on a truck

What Does PDL Mean On A Truck

When it comes to a tandem drive axle set, both of these axles are basically driven by your engine all the time. Moreover, separate axles are able to travel at varying speeds. This happens during cornering or if one of your axles ends up losing traction. The former leads to a small difference while the latter involves a most likely larger difference.

If one of the axles lifts off of the ground, every power goes through this particular axle, which also causes the wheel to spin. Therefore, there is zero power entering your axle that is currently on the ground. Additionally, it is possible to beach the tractor unit with your tandem drive.

When only one axle is not on the ground, it spins unless you activate your power divider. This is why your power divider works as a differential lock between your two axles. Hence, both of the axles are able to run at a similar speed – this is even possible when there is traction loss. 

But each axle has a differential, which means the wheels on both ends can run at varied speeds to assist with the cornering process.

You need to make sure that your power divider engages when you drive downhill or uphill. By doing so, this minimizes the chances of engine damage. This is because it helps to minimize inadvertent wheelspin as you head off uphill and the engine brake compression lock up is activated as you go downhill.

You need to engage your power divider when the road condition is slippery, which is also the case when you drive off-road. You can definitely use the power divider no matter what speed you are in.

When you want to engage your power divider, there are a few things to keep in mind. However, we do not advise engaging your power divider as your wheels spin and when there is no traction.

First, be sure that you are traveling in a straight line on the road and under 60 kilometers per hour speed. Release your accelerator pedal and press your power divider switch. Step on your accelerator pedal and drive normally.

Now, if you wish to disengage your power divider, you still need to drive in a straight path and lift your accelerator off. Press your power divider switch and then your accelerator.

Cross locks are often used when you need additional traction or when you are off-roading. To do this, simply stop your vehicle completely and press your power divider, as well as the cross lock switch. Move slowly until you reach a spot where there should be ample traction, so you can bypass having to use your cross lock.

In case you would want to disengage your cross lock, put your truck on a complete stop and switch the cross lock off. You may leave your power divider engaged when need be. Move slowly and this should disengage your cross lock.

Read More: Semi Truck Catalytic Converter Location: 9 Things To Know

Bottom Line

We hope this answered your question on what a PDL means on a truck. As you can see, there are a few important functions that your PDL does to your vehicle. It is important to know the right situations that would require engaging and disengaging your power divider to get maximum benefits out of it.

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