What Does A Transfer Case Do In Your Truck?

Without a transfer case, your favorite 4x4 truck would be a two by four. More than any part of a truck, a transfer case illustrates a truck as a four-wheel drive. But what is a transfer case mean to you? And how does it work?

In the real sense, the transfer case is designed to split engine power and transfers it to all the four wheels through the rear and front axles. The transfer cases have been there for as long as the automobile. It was not long after individuals started to drive horses with no carriages but got stuck.

The tow truck looked similar to a pair of horses wrangled by someone who just mocked the horseless transportation. Those who were using the horseless transportation got tired of the mocking rubber tires and things like pavements and finally invented the transfer cases.

Just like the truck itself, the transfer cases have greatly changed since their invention days. That is enough history for you. Let me give you more details on the transfer cases.

Details On The Transfer Cases

The transfer case is attached to the car’s transmission and connects the front, and the rear drives axles of a four by 4-wheel truck. The transfer case is known to have various operating modes which are controlled by the driver.

Purpose Of A Transfer Case

The transfer case connects force from the transmission between the rear and the front axles. The transfer case is of different designs; however, it can offer an equal amount of force to both the front as well as the rear axles. It can also cause a proportional force to the rear and front axles based on the amount of slippage or traction at the wheels.

In general, the transfer cases usually consist of different ranges and modes of operation. Every car owner should always check their car’s owner’s manual to get familiar with all the details of the different driving modes.

Maintenance Tips or Suggestions of the Transfer Case

The transfer case should always be checked each and every time you are changing its oil so as it can have enough lubricant. It is also great to take a look at the owner’s manual for your car so as to find out your transfer case’s maintenance interval.

Most of the transfer cases need periodic changes of fluid or oil to maintain high performance and functionality. One should always use the lubricant or fluid that is specified by the manufacturer. However, transfer cases are mainly trouble-free; hence, they can develop issues over time.

Some of the common issues include: difficulty in switching to various modes, four-wheel-drive is only operating in some modes, or luck of four-wheel-drive operation.

These issues do not necessary mean that the transfer case is completely damaged. The problem may be at the engagement controls of the transfer case since various cars today use vacuum or electronic controls to perform the driver’s commands.

In the case where your truck is showing some signs of the transfer case issues, have your car’s system checked and analyzed by a qualified service professional.

Why Is Transfer Case Fluid Important?

Via Amazon.com

Transfer case fluid can either be traditional or synthetic gear oil. However, like many cars, some vehicles require particular types of transfer case fluids. The fluid gets rid of the heat as well as lubricates the internal areas of the transfer case, maintaining its gear turning smoothly and cool.

After some time, the transfer case fluid gets contaminated because of the carbon build up that results from the cooling of the hot drivetrain components. This may result in poor car’s performance, and the car may shudder when turning as well as emitting whining sounds.

If the fluid becomes contaminated or runs low, it can result in the failure of the differential. To get rid of this issue, it is advisable that transfer case fluid is often replaced, normally every thirty thousand miles, especially in trucks that use or tow four-wheel drive often.

Via Trucktrend.com

When your car is in four-wheel drive or is used for towing frequently, the transfer case fluid often cycled in the system. This process needs a lot of torque; hence, it requires more heat to transfer.

Hence, while it may be so tempting to wait until 30,000 miles or more to change your transfer case’s fluid, waiting could mean a minimal efficient use of the truck’s drivetrain system. Having the transfer case replaced often will minimize the chances of any drive ability related problems. The transfer case fluid change can be done faster, and for fewer funds than a differential replacement.


A transfer case can do much to your four by four truck regarding performance and functionality. However, for your car to perform properly, you have to ensure that your transfer case is well maintained be regularly changing the transfer case fluid to function well. Why wait? Always replace your transfer case’s fluid to avoid some of the vehicle’s problems.

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