Is It Time For A Repair Or Replacement: Here Are Top Signs Of A Bad Transfer Case

Photo of author

By John Wick

How often do you get your car’s transfer case serviced? Routine servicing that primarily entails draining and replacing fluid can help extend the transfer case’s lifespan. It also provides the chance to check for leaks and damages, facilitating prompt repairs or replacement. If you keep driving your car with a bad transfer case, you can get it destroyed beyond repair and, even worse, cause damage to the driveshaft, transmission, and axles. With this in mind, besides the routine transfer case servicing, you need to listen to your car and determine if you need to visit the auto shop for repairs or replacement. Among the top tells that your transfer case needs some attention include:

Strange noises

Noise under the vehicle or from the transfer case is arguably the most straightforward sign that you need to visit a repair shop soon. The common odd sounds to pay attention to include:

  • Chattering
  • Clicking, and
  • Grinding

Burning smell

A faulty transfer case could lead to low fluid levels. This causes excess friction, hence the burning smell. A burning smell is distinct enough, meaning you can hardly miss it. Don’t assume it I due to long drives; it could indicate a bad transfer case. Visit the auto shop for a thorough diagnosis, ensuring the damage doesn’t extend, causing more problems.

Check engine light

General rule; never ignore the check engine light. Your car is running well, but that light indicates a developing problem. The service 4WD light could be triggered by high temperatures from a faulty transfer case. Your dashboard is a rich information pool beyond the fuel gauge. Visit your mechanic and let them find the source of the check engine light.

Fluid leak

If you notice a fluid leak on the ground, it could be due to a faulty transfer case. It might not be safe to drive your car with leaks. Call the mechanic and see if it is safe or have the car towed. Towing is safer since you can avoid further damage.

Problems shifting

If your transfer case doesn’t shift, you already have a big problem at hand. Before then, you might experience shifting problems such as the car randomly engaging/disengaging four-wheel drive. The car could fail to keep the four-wheel engaged when you set it. In other instances, it might engage when you don’t need it. Such malfunctions indicate mechanical problems, which could be due to a faulty transfer case. Leaving the problem unattended could escalate. You might experience difficulty shifting the gears, whether on auto or manual transmission.

Transfer cases are invaluable, more so when navigating demanding terrains. It distributes power from the engine to the front and rear wheels, providing much-needed traction to handle challenging situations. Getting through snowy, icy, muddy, rainy roads, driving off-road or steep inclines, among other situations, is easier with in-shape transfer cases.

When you notice any sign that the transfer case might be faulty, don’t let it slide. It could cost you a lot more since pushing it further could result in significant damages, requiring replacement and repair to other parts.