Today we’re going to talk about transfer case service. Not a super sexy topic, but very important nonetheless. 🙂 Now, you may not know much about transfer cases, but if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you’ve got one. It makes sure you have power available for both the front and rear axles and the right time and in the right proportion. For example, if you have a rear-wheel drive SUV, power goes to the rear wheels until you need four-wheel drive.
That’s where the transfer case steps in and transfers some of the power to the front wheels as well. You might use a shift lever to go into four-wheel drive or it could be a button on the dash or it might even go into four-wheel drive automatically, depending on your vehicle. The transfer case is serviced by periodically draining its fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid. We also check for leaks and damage. Transfer case fluid cools and lubricates the gears, chains, bearings, shafts and other parts. Over time, the additives in the fluid wear out and it doesn’t protect as well. Also, little bits of metal and clutch material wear off and contaminate the fluid. It’s important to note there os no filter in the transfer case, so if the contamination is allowed to stay for too long, it will further accelerate wear. Your owner’s manual may not have a recommended interval for when you should change your transfer case fluid, so ask your Elite Service Advisor what he recommends. There are several things that affect how often you should change the fluid. So tell your Service Advisor how much you use four-wheel drive. If you drive in wet environments, like crossing streams or through mud and snow, or even hours on desert dirt and dust, that kind of stuff really shortens the drain interval. Transfer case parts will eventually wear out and you’ll have to make repairs, but properly servicing your transfer case will keep that day as far in the future as possible, and easy on the wallet!
In a feature column in the Wall Street Journal racing pioneer Denise McCluggage relates, “Of all the automobiles I’ve owned over my lifetime, I never imagined that for 20 years I would live with a car like the Suzuki Sidekick, or that I would love it so much.” Throughout the years McCluggage has owned an Alfa Romeo, a Porsche, a Jaguar, an MG, and a Ferrari.
Let’s talk about making your tires last longer with regular tire rotation and wheel balancing. Let’s start with tire rotation. In normal driving, your front tires wear more on the shoulders, because they handle much of the cornering forces in turns. Front-wheel drive vehicles have even more force on the front tires. We rotate the tires so that all the tires do some duty on the front end, as well as getting a little break on the back end.