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
Icon-warranty_badge-02

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.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...


Related questions

Q: How changing differential and transfer case affects fuel economy

Well, they could, but only to a small amount. If you go and put the whole synthetic, it would have a little bit less friction, but not all that much.

Q: Water under passenger seat and mildew problem

If the A/C evaporator drain is clogged or partly clogged, then the water condensation from the normal A/C operation cannot drain out of the evaporator case and has to go somewhere. The place it usually goes is out of is...

Q: Transmission damage

If you have a manual transmission this shouldn't matter - both the transmission and rear differential take 75W-90 gear oil. If however, you have an automatic transmission, filling the front differential with CVT transmission fluid could be a real issue....