Symptoms of Transfer Case Problems


There are a few things that you can see and hear that can indicate a transfer case problem.  Transfer case repair can be expensive.  Replacement can be even more so.  It is best not to ignore the symptoms of transfer case issues.

The function of a transfer case is to direct the power coming from the transmission to the rear wheels all the time, and the front wheels when the driver decides they need the extra traction.  When the transfer case is not engaged, the internal parts that turn the front wheels don’t move.

Bad Transfer Case Symptoms

Transfer Case Won’t Engage or Shift

One of the most typical problems with a transfer case is failure to engage.  When this occurs it can indicate a problem with the transfer case.  It can also be caused by a few other things.  We’ll cover these all right here.

Speed–  You could be carrying too much speed for the transfer case to engage.  Try stopping the vehicle and choosing which range you would like.

Fluid–  Without adequate and proper lubrication, the transfer case will burn up.  Try draining and refilling it to see if that’ll alleviate the problem.

Linkage Issues–  If you’ve been doing some serious off roading, it is possible that something has compromised the linkage to the transfer case. If this has happened, you’ll need to repair or replace it in order to get your transfer case up and running again.

Worn Out–  Everything wears out.  It may very well be that your transfer case has worn/damaged components.  If this is the case you are going to need to take it into a shop or repair it.

Stuck in Gear–  This can happen when you have been on a surface with great traction, such as the road, with four-wheel drive engaged.  Try shifting it on a paved road and see if that’ll solve the problem.

Noisy When Transfer Case Engaged

Often our ears are the sense that helps us diagnose signs of any vehicular problem.  A grinding noise can be indicative of a failing transfer case.  It’ll sound a lot like the sound that you would hear if you can’t find a gear in a manual vehicle.

A grinding sound can certainly mean more than one problem, but with an automatic transmission in a four wheel drive truck, it’s a reasonable bet that the sound will be coming from the transfer case.

If this seems like the case.  It may very well be low on lubricant.  Please check and fill as soon as possible.  Leaving your transfer case without lubricant is a sure recipe for disaster.  Please see below.


Leaking Lubricant

One of the most common symptoms of transfer case problems is leaking fluid.  The parts are packed into it so tightly that they have been known to wear a hole right through it.

Clearly, without any fluid in there, the problem will go from bad to worse.  Without lubrication, the parts in the transfer case will quickly burn up.  It’s important to repair the leak and keep the transfer case filled.  It would be smart to take it in and have someone repair it if this is the case.


Trouble Shifting

A sure sign that the transfer case is failing is when there is difficulty shifting with it engaged.  If you feel that your transfer case is having difficulty shifting gears, you should probably take your vehicle in for to be diagnosed and see if a reputable transmission shop can’t fix it for you before it stops working all the way.