How to Replace Transfer Case Fluid | YourMechanic Advice

How to Replace Transfer Case Fluid

Four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) may operate differently but the theory is still the same. 4WD vehicles are generally a part-time system. They operate as rear-wheel drive until a switch or lever is activated, allowing the transfer case to “transfer” some of the power to the front wheels. AWD is typically a permanent four-wheel drive system, always engaged. Through the use of various sensors, AWD will vary the power split front and rear automatically. Both systems still use a transfer case to split the power to the front and rear. Transfer case fluid level and condition are vital to the longevity and proper operation of your 4WD and AWD systems.

Part 1 of 2: Draining the transfer case

Materials Needed

  • Drain pan
  • Filler/extraction syringe
  • Ratchet/sockets
  • Transfer case fluid - consult your owner’s manual for the correct fluid type and quantity
  • Wrenches - open/box end
  • Wheel chocks/blocks

  • Note: Since the majority of pickup trucks and SUVs have enough ground clearance, you generally will not need to lift the vehicle. If, however, your vehicle does not have enough clearance for you to lay underneath it, follow proper jacking instructions for your vehicle. Even if you must lift your vehicle, it must be level when refilling the fluid.

Step 1: Prepare the vehicle. Make certain the vehicle has cooled for at least 2 hours as to not handle hot fluids. Set the parking brake and chock/block at least one wheel front and back.

Step 2: Drain the fluid. The drain and fill plugs are generally located facing the rear of the transfer case and vehicle.

The lower plug is the drain and the plug located higher up is the fill. Remove the fill plug, then remove the drain plug. Allow the fluid to drain as long as possible as to extract the maximum amount.

Part 2 of 2: Refilling the transfer case

Step 1: Reinstall the drain plug. Once the fluid has drained completely, reinstall the drain plug, leaving the fill plug out.

  • Tip: Some fluid bottles come with a spout top so you can squeeze the fluid out through it. If there is not enough room under your vehicle to get it into the fill plug, the filler/extraction syringe listed in the materials needed will come in handy.

Step 2: Refill the transfer case. The transfer case does not have a dipstick to check fluid level. It is basically “fill till you spill.” Using either the fluid bottle top or syringe, fill the fluid into the filler plug hole until fluid runs out of it.

Step 3: Clean up. Reinstall the fluid fill plug. Wipe any excess fluid from the transfer case. Dispose of the use fluid properly. In most cases, your local auto parts store will take used oil/fluids and recycle them free of charge.

If your four wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle is due for a transfer case service, contact YourMechanic today to arrange for a mobile technician to come to your home or office.


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Average rating from 58 customers who received a Transfer Case Fluid Replacement.

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Recent Transfer Case Fluid Replacement reviews

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YourMechanic Transfer Case Fluid Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

58

Rating Summary
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Robert

19 years of experience
760 reviews
Robert
19 years of experience
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.
Toyota Sienna - Transfer Case Fluid - Englewood, Colorado
No complaints. He came on time, Did a good job. Worked quickly. I'm satisfied.

Joel

20 years of experience
844 reviews
Joel
20 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler - 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..

Kenneth

7 years of experience
23 reviews
Kenneth
7 years of experience
GMC Envoy - Transfer Case Fluid - Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
Very professional and arrived on time. Performed all needed repairs and took vehicle for test drive to make sure everything was completed correctly. A++

David

17 years of experience
39 reviews
David
17 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Transfer Case Fluid - Littleton, Colorado
What takes my firestone a “Hey, let me give you a call when it’s ready” (10-14 hours) took him less than 3 hours for the same exact work. Not only was this amazing in his own right, but absolutely fantastic in the quality of service as well. I asked him some basic questions and he had some fantastic answers. If I could recommend anyone to do proficient work and keep his promise, it would be David. Even got some more business lined up in the future.

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