What is a transfer case fluid inspection?

For a vehicle to have four- or all-wheel drive, it needs to have a transfer case. The transfer case takes power from the transmission and divides it among the wheels.
If there is fluid leaking from the transfer case, then the components within it are exposed to more heat and friction than normal. Over time, the parts within a transfer case will wear faster or even break suddenly.
If the transfer case is incapable of operating, your vehicle will not be able to move. That’s why transfer case fluid inspections are so important. Along with ensuring that there are sufficient fluid levels in the transfer case, the seals will need to be checked for excessive wear.

How to get your transfer case fluid inspected

Because of the importance of the transfer case, it’s best to take your vehicle to a trusted professional for a transfer case fluid inspection. Once your vehicle is with the mechanic, they’ll check your fluid levels and where likely leaks may be.
Some possible areas for leaks are:
  • Input seal at the transmission
  • Front and rear output shaft seals
  • Speed sensor gasket seal—if your vehicle is equipped with a speed sensor
  • Transfer case gasket
  • Vent hose—while possible, it is unlikely to experience leaks here
If dealt with promptly, the only repairs that will be needed will be a fluid top-up and maybe a seal replacement. If left to leak, expect a hefty bill when the transfer case itself needs to be replaced.

When do I need to get my transfer case fluid inspected?

You should take your vehicle in for a transfer case fluid inspection as soon as you suspect there is a problem. Because of the importance of the transfer case, you run the risk of being stranded if the internal components finally break.
Repairs will also be far cheaper if handled quickly. A rule of thumb for maintenance is that the longer you wait, the more you pay.

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