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How Much does a Transfer Case Fluid Replacement Cost?
The transfer case on any four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car enables power to transfer between the front and rear wheels.
The transfer case is fluid-filled to lubricate and cool the moving parts inside. During normal, everyday driving, the transfer case fluid deteriorates as it does its job and eventually needs to be changed.
Transfer case fluid replacement is part of routine maintenance and should be performed according to your manufacturer’s service schedule, and the interval varies wildly from 40,000km to 100,000km and beyond.
The service is inexpensive with parts and labour ranging from $75 to $200 on traditional designs; high-performance and specialty models may be more.
Heavy off-road use or towing can break down your transfer case fluid faster, meaning shorter intervals.
Transfer Case Fluid Replacement
What is Transfer Case Fluid?
Your transfer case is filled with an oil that serves several purposes, and it’s known as transfer case fluid.
It keeps internal transfer case components cool, well-lubricated, corrosion-free, prevents wear and tear.
When your car is in motion, the chain and gears inside the transfer case splash fluid all around, keeping the inside of the entire transfer case covered in transfer case fluid.
Transfer case fluid can be either synthetic or mineral-based gear oil, weighted heavier than engine oil.
While your car is driving, the fluid is exposed to heat and friction, which begin to break down the fluid and it loses its lubricating properties.
When the fluid has become dark or gritty, around the time of its service interval, it will need to be changed.
Symptoms that your Transfer Case Fluid Replacement is Required
- The transfer case fluid is dark and discoloured
- The transfer case fluid level is low
- Repairs have been completed on the transfer case
- There’s a rattle or grinding noise from underneath your car
How is Transfer Case Fluid Replaced?
- The technician lifts the car in the air on a hoist or jacks
- The skid plate is removed, if equipped
- The transfer case oil drain plug is removed and the oil fully drained
- The drain plug is inserted, then the fill plug is removed and clean fluid added
- The fluid level is checked, then the fill plug tightened
- The skid plate is refitted and the car lowered
- The technician road tests the car to ensure proper working order
Tips to Remember
- Only the exact manufacturer-specified fluid should be used – using the incorrect fluid will cause premature failure.
- The transfer case fluid level should be checked during every oil change interval.
How Important is Transfer Case Fluid Replacement?
Like poor engine oil maintenance, transfer case problems will eventually occur if transfer case fluid replacement is neglected.
Driving your car with neglected transfer case maintenance can lead to a breakdown and possible loss of control. Have your transfer case fluid replacement performed in a timely manner.
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