How to Change Transfer Case Fluid

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Changing the transfer case fluid on your four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive can solve many problems. Transfer case abnormal noises and operation may be caused by a lack of oil, and changing the old fluid---especially contaminated fluid---is a good preventative measure. This is the general procedure to change the fluid in your vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack and 2 jack stands Wrench set Ratchet and socket set Shop rag Small funnel Transfer case oil
  • Park your car in a safe place and make sure you have enough space to work around it.

  • Raise the vehicle using a floor jack and safely support it on two jack stands. If you have a four-wheel drive model, the transfer case is located center-left of the car. Lift the left side and position the jack stands near the front and rear wheels. If you have an all-wheel drive model, the transfer case is an integral part of the transmission. Lift the front of the vehicle.

  • Working from underneath the vehicle, locate the drain plug at the bottom of the transfer case and place a drain pan underneath. Using a wrench or ratchet, remove the drain plug. After all the transfer case fluid has been drained, reinstall the drain plug. Do not over-tighten the plug to avoid damaging the threads. Remove the drain pan from underneath the vehicle.

  • Locate the filler plug on the side of the transfer case. Clean the filler plug and the area around it using a shop rag; this avoids contaminating the new transfer case fluid. Using a wrench or ratchet and socket, remove the filler plug. Add the new fluid to the case using a small funnel. Add oil until it reaches the bottom of the filler hole, then reinstall the filler plug but do not over tighten it.

  • Lower the vehicle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use only the transfer case fluid recommended for your car by the vehicle manufacturer. You may find this information in your car owner's manual or vehicle service manual. You can buy one at most auto parts stores or consult one for free at most public libraries.

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  • Photo Credit Photo courtesy of CZmarlin at Wikipedia.org.
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