The national cost for a transfer case service with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $80 and $165 with an average of $100.

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What is a transfer case service and how is it done?

A transfer case is part of the drivetrain of a four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle. The transfer case allows rotational power to be transmitted from the transmission to both the front and rear axles simultaneously. It also allows the front axle to be engaged and disengaged for application in specific conditions. The transfer case can be gear driven or chain driven. Moving parts inside the transfer case are lubricated and cooled by a type of oil, often gear oil or transmission fluid.

Transfer case service can range from a simple drain and fill of the fluid inside to a more extensive inspection or repair.


How is a a Transfer Case Service done?

Repairs to a transfer case depend a good deal on the specific vehicle and problem. These repairs are far more involved than a simple transfer case service that includes merely replacing the fluid.

For that procedure, a technician will drain the old fluid in a similar way to draining old engine oil. A drain plug is unscrewed from the bottom of the transfer case and the fluid is collected for disposal. After the plug has been reinstalled, the technician will add fluid, usually with a pump, into a hole nearer the top of the transfer case. Once the fluid has reached its maximum level, when it begins to seep out of the upper hole, the technician plugs the hole and the service is complete.

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National average cost of a a Transfer Case Service
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How do I know if my transfer case needs to be serviced?

Most (but not all) vehicles that feature four-wheel or all-wheel drive come equipped with a transfer case. If your vehicle has a transfer case, it will be located next to the transmission and have two drive shafts extending toward the front and rear axles. The oil inside the transfer case needs to be serviced regularly as part of routine vehicle maintenance. But it might need more attention if you notice any of the following signs of a bad transfer case:

Strange noises from below your vehicle while driving

Burning oil smell

Difficulty shifting gears

You are unable to shift in or out of four-wheel drive

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Other questions customers ask

What happens if you don't change your transfer case fluid?
The fluid inside a transfer case works to both lubricate and cool the moving parts. If you don't change it, eventually the fluid becomes contaminated and breaks down at a chemical level. Once this happens, the fluid will no longer protect the moving parts from wear as it should, and it will cause premature wear of the internal components and cause leaks.
What happens when your transfer case goes out?
Depending on which component fails first inside the transfer case, the vehicle's four-wheel drive may no longer function or may refuse to remain engaged while in-use. You may also see a warning light on the dash, indicating a malfunctioning 4x4 system. If it's an all-wheel drive transfer case, you may also notice "wheel hop" or skidding on tight turns across pavement.
Is it hard to replace a transfer case?
Replacing a transfer case is not so complex as a full engine or transmission overhaul, but it does involve disconnecting the driveshafts, shift linkage, and wiring. It also requires that a component that weighs up to two hundred pounds be removed and installed. And the transfer case must accurately align to the transmission. Repairing or rebuilding the transfer case is even more involved than replacement.

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