How Often Does My Car Need New Transfer Case Fluid?

A transfer case is a part of a drivetrain system. Its primary function is to engage the axles of multi-axle vehicles. Positioned underneath the vehicle, a transfer case is made of an aluminum or steel housing and contains a complex system of chains, belts, or gears. The transfer case works by splitting the engine torque from the transmission, delivering it to output shafts that connect to drive shafts leading to the front and rear axles. Most transfer cases can mechanically lock the front and rear drive shafts together, so each axle gets an equal amount of engine torque.

Why is transfer case fluid important?

Transfer case fluid is either synthetic or traditional gear oil, but like many vehicles, certain vehicles need certain types of transfer case fluids. It removes heat and lubricates the internal parts in the transfer case, keeping its gears cool and turning smoothly.

Over time transfer case fluid becomes contaminated due to carbon build up from cooling hot drivetrain components. This may affect a vehicle's performance, causing the vehicle to shudder when turning or emit whining sounds. If the fluid runs low or becomes contaminated, it can lead to failure of the differential. To avoid this issue, it is recommended that the transfer case fluid be changed periodically, normally every 30,000 miles, especially in vehicles that tow or use four-wheel drive often. When a vehicle is used for towing or is in four-wheel drive frequently, the transfer case fluid is cycled through the system more often. These actions require more torque, which means more heat to transfer. So, while it may be tempting to wait until 70,000 miles (or more) to change the transfer case fluid, waiting could mean less efficient use of the vehicle’s drivetrain system.

Having the transfer case fluid changed regularly will reduce the chance of any drivability related concerns. Transfer case fluid replacement can be done far quicker, and for less money, than a differential replacement.


Next Step

Schedule Transfer Case Fluid Replacement

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Transfer Case Fluid Replacement. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Transfer Case Fluid Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(78)

Rating Summary
75
2
1
0
0
75
2
1
0
0

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Dodge Journey V6-3.6L - Transfer Case Fluid - Denver, Colorado
Robert was awesome. I was unable to make my appointment so I arranged with Robert to get the parts and keys from my brother. He was obviously very knowledgeable in what he was doing as the work completed was done in about half the time that was estimated. By far the best mechanic experience I have ever had. Robert kept me up to date along the way and and was more than willing to work with my brother since I could not be there. I also requested that Robert didn't fill the transmission since my car has a silicone gasket. Robert was understanding of this and went as far as to let me know how much fluid he recovered so I could fill it myself once the silicone was cured. Most shops will suck out the ATF Fluid and replace what they pulled out. Robert did the full service on the transmission including dropping the pan and replacing the filter. I verified all the work once I got home and everything looked great. I am truly impressed with the service received from Robert and Your Mechanic. I will be having more work done through them in the near future.
Ford Escape - Transfer Case Fluid - Louisville, Colorado
I've used Robert several times now, and he always exhibits a positive, 'can do' attitude and gets the job done. He's also very knowledgeable, friendly, and provides great advice.

Joel

21 years of experience
987 reviews
Joel
21 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler L4-2.5L - Transfer Case Fluid - Jacksonville, Florida
Joel promptly arrived at the appointed time. He was tasked with performing 5 maintenace services. He promptly completed the five tasks. In addition, he diagnosed another issue that I was going to achedule an inspection for, saving me the cost of the inspection. I had a good experience using Joel.
Cadillac Escalade EXT - Transfer Case Fluid - Jacksonville, Florida
Joel performed serpentine belt replacement, front differential service, engine cooling system flush, brake fluid flush and transmission fluid flush. He works efficiently, consistently and is very professional in communicating the completed tasks and whatever else needs to be done. I will certainly seek Joel for future maintenance on my vehicles. Make him YourMechanic..

Ronald

41 years of experience
301 reviews
Ronald
41 years of experience
Acura MDX V6-3.5L - Transfer Case Fluid - Spring, Texas
Ronald arrived on time. He was quick and efficient. Transfer case, transmission fluid, and oil and filters completed!!

Ediee

5 years of experience
47 reviews
Ediee
5 years of experience
Ram 1500 V8-5.7L - Transfer Case Fluid - Las Vegas, Nevada
Eddie is a very well experienced mechanic. Great customer service skills. Looking forward for him to work on my other vehicles.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How to Check and Add Fluid to an Automatic Transmission Car
Checking and keeping your transmission filled with a good level of fluid will help give you a seamless experience when driving.
How to Replace a Washer Fluid Level Switch
The washer fluid level switch fails when the Windshield Fluid Warning Light stays illuminated or there are unusual noises coming from the washer pump.
How to Replace Transfer Case Fluid
Transfer case fluid lubricates the gears of your four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle. Dirty case fluid affects performance.

Related questions

Fuel not reaching engine.
The fuel pump and filter may be getting to the injectors but if the injectors are not opened then it would not start unless you sprayed starting fluid into the intake. The injector not opening means the crankshaft sensor is...
Does the Transmission and Differential take the same fluid on a Acura TSX?
Hello, I would not recommend to use transmission fluid for the differential. Yes, Acura did use a transmission fluid for the rear differential originally called Z1 but a new fluid (DW1) was formulated and Z1 production ceased. However the fluid...
Grinding/scraping noise coming from back of car
Hello, thank you for writing in. If the sound is not coming from the differential, but is coming from that area, you will want to check the driveline and the axles. Look for anything that is rubbing, has a worn...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com