Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem What the P0121 code means P0121 is a generic OBD-II code which indicates that the Engine Control...
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...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Transfer case shift motor

Hello. C0327 is the trouble code for a malfunction with the transfer case encoder motor as you alluded. This is the electric motor that allows the transfer case to engage into 4wd mode. This code is commonly caused by water...

Q: Noisy fuel pump

It probably is but you'll want to keep a note on this because fuel pumps can go out multipe times because of this problem. If your fuel pressure regulator is bad, that's going to make the new pump burn out...

Q: Changing differential oil

Change the differential oil every 60,000 miles or so. It's not something to worry about but I'd do it around that mileage just to make sure you aren't getting any extra wear. If the oil gets dirty enough, corrosion can...