What Happens When A Transfer Case Goes Bad?

What Happens When A Transfer Case Goes Bad?

Transfer cases are known for their high durability and long lifespan. So, most of the time, you can enjoy a smooth and comfortable riding experience.

But, this is not always true as they can get damaged. Moreover, driving with a broken transfer case can cause further damage to your vehicle.

Gear Shifting Issues When a Transfer Case Goes Bad

But what exactly happens when a transfer case goes bad? Before finding the answer to the above question, you will need to understand the role of the transfer case. In simple words, it works as a transfer unit for the engine’s power.

It distributes the engine’s power evenly to the wheels on both four-wheel and two-wheel systems.

If your transfer case works perfectly, switching between 4WD and the 2WD systems will go smoothly.

But, if you’re dealing with a broken transfer case, you will experience some serious issues while driving. In a situation like that, you will need to identify the symptoms of a bad transfer case.

So, in the next section, we will describe what happens when a transfer case goes bad.

Consequences Of A Bad Transfer Case

Here are some common things that happen when a transfer case goes bad.

Issues With Shifting Gears

If your vehicle deals with a bad transfer case, it will be challenging to shift gears. And this is the most common and earliest problem that you can detect.

Still, when you are experiencing issues while shifting gears, a bad transfer case might not be the only reason. But, it is always better to check the transfer case for damages or leaks.

Another thing to remember is that, with different models, the transfer case controlling system might vary significantly.

There is a good chance that your transfer case is working perfectly, and the issue lies with the controlling system. With different controlling systems, the gear shifting system might vary too.

So, read the vehicle’s manual first. Anyway, if you are experiencing shifting issues, it is always good to check your transfer case.

Issues With Four-Wheel Drive

If your vehicle’s transfer case goes bad, it will affect the four-wheel-drive system. It is vital to identify these issues early.

Warning Lights Related To Four-Wheel Drive Transfer Case

For any vehicle, a warning light system is crucial. Usually, these warning lights will display on the dashboard.

Under any circumstance, you shouldn’t ignore the warning lights. Many people ignore them, and this might end up terribly.

When it comes to 4WD system warning lights, a message will display on your dashboard saying “Service 4-Wheel Drive”. Sometimes this 4WD drive issue might be coming from the 4WD drive system.

But this often happens when your vehicle’s transfer case goes bad. So, check the transfer case immediately.

If you cannot inspect the transfer case yourself, always reach for professional help.

Disengaging And Engaging Issues On Four-Wheel Drive Transfer Case

If your vehicle keeps disengaging and engaging from the 4WD system, you might have some problems related to the transfer case.

What Happens When a Transfer Case Goes Bad

Disengaging and engaging the 4WD system will occur regularly when your vehicle’s transfer case goes bad.

We highly recommend checking the transfer case immediately in such a situation. Driving with a bad transfer case is never a good idea!

Greasy Puddles Underneath Your Vehicle

At least once a month, you should look under your vehicle to check for potential issues. It is a good habit that most of us don’t take seriously.

When you have leakages in the transfer case, those leaked fluids can form a greasy puddle underneath your vehicle. In that situation, you will need to sort that particular leakage immediately.

Also, don’t forget to check under the axle assembly or the transmission. Sometimes these greasy puddles will come from both of these parts.

Another thing you should remember is modern vehicles takes a long time to show any leak.

Weird Humming, Grinding And Growling Noises

It might signal a severe issue whenever you hear a humming or grinding noise from your vehicle. These noises can be the cause of a bad transfer case.

If you did not take care of the issue timely, it might lead to a broken transfer case. The transfer case might be making these noises because of low fluids levels, mechanical problems, or other issues.

Fixing the problem by yourself can be a difficult task. In most cases, replacing the front portion and the chain will fix the problem.

To execute this kind of task, you will need pretty good mechanical skills.

Bad Transfer Case Can Damage Vehicle’s Transmission

We mentioned earlier in the article that you should never ignore or drive with a bad transfer case.

It could destroy your axle shaft, gearbox, and disc brakes. Unfortunately, replacing these items will cost you a lot of money and time.

What Are The Causes For A Bad Transfer Case?

If your vehicle shows bad transfer case symptoms, it might result from many factors. Here are some of the reasons for a bad transfer case.

Low Fluid Levels

Low fluid levels can occur due to leakage in the transfer case. So, make sure to check the transfer case regularly.

Delayed Maintenance

To keep your vehicle in top condition, you will have to maintain it according to the service intervals. You can start this process by changing transfer case fluid at regular intervals.

Wear And Tear

With time your vehicle will show some symptoms of a bad transfer case.

Wrap Up

We hope that with this article, you were able to find the answer to the ‘what happens when a transfer case goes bad’ question.

To sum up, a bad transfer case will cause trouble to your transmission, four-wheel-drive system, and overall performance of the vehicle. Sometimes it might lead to costly repairs.

Remember, you can avoid these causes if you act quickly and wisely. So, whenever you recognize a potential symptom, take the necessary action immediately before the transfer case goes bad!