Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Often Does My Car Need New Transfer Case Fluid?

How Often Does My Car Need New Transfer Case Fluid?

transfer case

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.

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

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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.


More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...

Related questions

Q: 05 ram 4x4 Vibration in the floor during acceleration, and a vibration in​ steering at cruising speed that goes away when letting off the gas.

Hi there. This sounds like the tires on the front are out of balance and the ball joints are worn and need replaced. A out of balance wheel will cause the vehicle to vibrate and may change location to the...

Q: Input turbine sensor location? Forgot to change transmission fluid at 80000. Should I change transmisión fluid first?

This is a generic code for the input speed sensor located on your transmission. This code may be triggered for many reasons such as a defective input speed sensor, a faulty output speed sensor, a damaged, worn, or broken reluctor...

Q: Front differential not working properly

Hi there, thanks for writing in. If the tires can be stopped and the driveshaft continues to spin, then there is an actuator assembly issue in the front differential. If the driveshaft stops spinning, then the problem may be in...