A car transfer case is the place where power in a four-wheel-drive car is transferred to the back wheels. The majority of cars have front-wheel drive, but a transfer case is needed to send power to the back wheels. The case itself is the place where the prop shaft connects to both the back wheels and the engine.
When you have the option to switch between two-wheel and four-wheel drive, you could put even more stress on the transfer case because it is turning on and off. There are a few tips below that will help you keep your transfer cases in good shape.
How Does the Transfer Case Work?
The transfer case accepts the prop shaft, and the prop shaft delivers power from the engine. However, the transfer case needs to help turn the back wheels when you are in four-wheel drive. This means that the transfer case is both helping the car move and helping the four-wheel-drive system stay aligned.
Most of the parts of your car do not have multiple jobs to do, and that is why transfer cases can be so delicate. The transfer case is affected by how fast you go, any bumps in the road, any misalignment by the prop shaft, and the length of service.
The transfer case must be oiled regularly, and it must have a fluid inside the casing to ensure that you do not allow the gears to grind on one another. Plus, the case needs to be enclosed so that debris from the road cannot damage the gears inside the case.
What Is the Most Common Transfer Case Problems?
The most common problems are grinding in the gears, a bad sound coming from the car when you change gears, or reduced performance. You may notice smoke coming from the back of the vehicle that might come from a bad transfer case. Plus, you might hear a constant whirring noise that is caused by a lack of alignment inside the casing.
Plus, the transfer case might be cracked or damaged so that fluid is leaking out. Debris could get inside the case, and that could cause even worse performance. The transfer case may run out of fluid, or the gears may be damaged when you run over a really large bump in the road. Plus, the back wheels might fall out of alignment over time. Stress on the case could cause damage to the wheels, or the back wheels may not perform the way that they should.
Can You Replace Your Transfer Case?
Yes, you can replace a bad transfer case, but you should ask your mechanic if it can be repaired for a fair price. There are times when you bring the transfer case back to normal with a simple repair, but the repairs may be so extensive that you need to replace the transfer case.
You can buy aftermarket parts for the car, or you could get a factory transfer case for the car. Ask your mechanic what the most economical option is. This is a complex repair, and you need to ask the mechanic how long it will take them to get the job done.
Plus, you should try not to drive with a bad transfer case even though you cannot get the repair done. If you can take your car out of four-wheel-drive, you should do so. If the car is always in all-wheel-drive, you should leave the car with your mechanic until they can complete the repair.
How Do You Extend the Life of Your Transfer Case?
You can extend the life of your transfer case by making sure that it gets the necessary milestone services that are laid out in the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual lets you know when you need to have the transfer case serviced, and the manual explains what needs to be done to the device on your car.
Most people come in for a milestone at 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles. Once you get over 100,000 miles, you need to be a bit more careful with your transfer case. You should continue the milestone services every 30,000 miles, and you should make sure that you bring the car in for service any time you think the performance has been compromised.
As the car gets older, you need to be careful with things like transfer case fluid and shifting very hard. Plus, any off-road driving that you do should be kept to a minimum because bumps in the road could cause even more damage to your transfer case.
How Can You Prevent Damage to Your Transfer Case?
You can prevent damage to your car transfer case by using the following tips:
- Take the car out of four-wheel drive whenever you can. There is no need to drive with four wheels if conditions are perfect. If you have all-wheel drive, you need to make sure that you do not use the programmed traction control settings unless you absolutely need them
- Ask your mechanic to check the transfer box even when they are doing an oil change. You could repair tiny problems with the transfer case before they get out of hand.
- Go in for the milestone services that are prescribed in the owner’s manual
- Try to shift gears as gently as possible
- If you have an automatic transmission, you need to make sure that you do not use too much power on the highway
- You should try to keep off-road driving to minimum
- If you are driving off-road often, you need to have the transfer box checked more often than not
The tips listed above will ensure that your transfer case stays in good condition. There are a lot of drivers who assume that the transfer case can withstand all off-road driving. This is not true. The transfer case can only withstand so much punishment before the interior mechanisms start breaking.
You should try to shift gently because you do not want to put more stress on the transfer box when you change speeds. Plus, you need to make sure that you do not overuse power on the highway. You could burn out your transfer box when you do not even need the back wheels.
Lastly, you should turn off four-wheel-drive whenever possible. You do not want to use this system too much, and you do not want to force the transfer case to do work that is not needed. There are a lot of people who feel like four-wheel-drive is a novelty, but it is not a novelty that you can use every day without wearing out the transfer case.
The tips above will help you manage any four-wheel-drive vehicle. The transfer case in the car gives you power in the back wheels, but that does not mean that the transfer case is indestructible. You need to be careful with the car when you are driving on normal roads or highway, and you should try to keep your off-road driving to a minimum. Take your car in for regular oil changes where the mechanic can check the transfer case, and make sure that you have your 30k/60k/90k milestone services done to keep the gears and fluid in the transfer case in good condition.