How to Tell If You Need a New Transfer Case

Transfer Cases If you own a vehicle that boasts either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, you have what is called a transfer case in it. Your transfer case, which is located right near your transmission, is responsible for taking the power that is generated by your vehicle’s engine and distributing it to all four of your vehicle’s wheels. It’s the part of your car that allows you to get more traction when you’re driving on a slippery surface, off-roading, or going up or down a steep hill.

There are many types of transfer cases found in four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles. Some are gear-driven, while others are chain-driven. Some are standalone parts, while others are integrated into the design of a vehicle’s transmission. There are also some transfer cases that need to be shifted manually and others that are either shifted electronically or shifted without any effort on the part of a driver.

Regardless of what kind of transfer case you have in your vehicle at the moment, it’s essential for it to be in good working condition at all times. If it isn’t, there is a chance that you could do extensive damage to it and potentially even do damage to your transmission and other parts located in the vicinity of it. It’s why you should look and listen out for any signs of trouble with your transfer case. Here are some of the ways you can tell you might need a new transfer case.

You’re hearing strange sounds emanating from underneath your vehicle.

If you hear sounds coming from underneath your vehicle, they could be coming from almost anywhere. But many times, it could be your transfer case that’s to blame for them. When your transfer case is on its way out, it’ll often start to make grinding or clicking sounds. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle checked out and to consider replacing your transfer case if that turns out to be the cause of the strange sounds coming from your car.

You’re noticing that the gears in your transmission aren’t shifting smoothly.

Transfer Cases Regardless of whether you have a manual or an automatic transmission, the gears in it should shift smoothly while you’re driving your vehicle. If they don’t, it could indicate a serious issue with one of the many parts in your transmission. You could also need to address a problem with your transmission fluid. But your transfer case may also make it hard to shift gears in your vehicle. It’s worth getting your vehicle looked at to see if your transfer case could be going bad.

You’re finding that your vehicle won’t stay in four-wheel drive.

When you put your vehicle into four-wheel drive, you expect for it to stay in four-wheel drive until you decide that you don’t need it in four-wheel drive anymore. But when your transfer case needs to be replaced, it’ll often throw a wrench into your plans. It’ll randomly result in your vehicle’s four-wheel drive feature disengaging and leave you struggling to keep your vehicle in four-wheel drive when you need it to be. This is yet another clear-cut sign that you need to have your transfer case inspected and possibly replaced.

You’re seeing fluid leak under your car in the area of your transfer case.

There are a bunch of different types of fluid that can leak underneath your vehicle. From motor oil and transmission fluid to coolant and power steering fluid, it’s not all that uncommon to see one or all of these fluids dripping from the bottom of a vehicle at some point in time. Any leak should be a cause for concern, but a leak from your transfer case should be especially concerning. You should consider having your vehicle towed so that a mechanic can evaluate it and find out why it’s leaking. You may need to have a new transfer case put in to stop the leaking.

You’re having a tough time figuring out why your check engine light is on.

Check Engine LightWhen you’re driving a vehicle around with a bad transfer case, your engine computer will usually pick up on the high internal temperatures that the transfer case is producing. This will cause either your vehicle’s check engine light or your vehicle’s service 4WD light to pop on. It’s important for you to find out why one of these lights has come on sooner rather than later. A new transfer case might be just what you need to make a warning light go off.

Have you spotted any of these signs that show you might need a new transfer case installed in your vehicle? SCS Gearbox would be more than happy to provide you with the transfer case you need for your performance vehicle. Check out our transfer case calculator and call us at 419-483-7278 or fill out a contact form to hear more about the transfer cases that we can offer to you.

7 Responses to “How to Tell If You Need a New Transfer Case”

  1. shawn

    i had my toyota truck in 4 wheel drive and it seemed like got stuck in reverse and got it out now i have to put in 4 low and i have one gear i can drive in the rest just grind and seems like it grinding when its in neutral and grind in 2h and 4h

  2. Chris Pederson

    My dad’s 4×4 started having issues with the transmission shifting in them. I’ll talk to him about getting a new transfer case. I don’t want my kids to ride on them and end up getting hurt.


    I have a 05 v8 Touareg vw and the rear half of my awd is not work but drive shaft prop turns but suv will not move unless i put in low range and lock in center differental

  4. Monica Dennis

    Had my transfer case go on my 2014 Jeep Cherokee North just about 100,000 km on it. Warning light 4 wheel drive overheated, temporarily disabled

  5. Richard lee MellottI

    I have A 1999 Dodge 4x4SLT the rear casing is cracked and will not hold any fluid anyway all and all I am going to replace it with transfercase from 1998 jeep grand cherokee Limited with the fact I’m going to change the yoke and hopefully spline I’m hoping for a 32 spline for extra low gear I am not a mechanic this will be a first for me . Any ideas hints or advice


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