There's a reason why more vehicles than ever on the road today are equipped with four-wheel drive — stability. You will be aware of this if you own a car or truck with this configuration and will know that it has enhanced traction through all conditions with a better quality of ride. In order to provide these benefits to the vehicle owner, the manufacturer has to design and build a complicated transmission system, and there are many different parts that may need your attention as time goes by. One area, in particular, will need additional focus and that is the transfer case, but why is this and what problems should you be aware of?
How it Works
In a conventional, two-wheel-drive car, all of the power created by the engine is sent to the appropriate axle. However, in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, this power has to be managed and split between the front and rear axles, which is the job of the transfer case. Typically, this device will be mounted next to the main transmission and will have a driveshaft to the front and to the rear.
Within the transfer case, you will find a number of different gears which, when engaged, permit the driver to choose between low or high range, four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive. The latter is the simplest configuration as the transfer case will simply allow all the power to go to the rear axle, as it would if the car were a conventional, two-wheel-drive vehicle.
The transfer case is subject to a considerable amount of wear and tear during its life, and this can result in a number of problems. For example, you might find it difficult to select the appropriate mode, as the linkage between the gear stick and the transfer case may become loose. You may also find that the case is short of lubrication or that the lubricant within is old and ineffective. Separately, you may also find that the gears or associated mountings are in need of adjustment, but this is a complex job and will need to be addressed by a competent mechanic.
Some owners report that they cannot move from high into low gear if they have been driving the vehicle for quite a long time. This is due to a build-up of torque within the transfer case, and if you should come across this problem, you simply need to stop the vehicle for a couple of minutes before selecting the appropriate mode.
Time for Repair
If you are encountering an increasing number of problems with your transmission and find it difficult to select the appropriate gear in a range of situations, then it's time for a complete overhaul. Take the vehicle to a mechanic who provides transmission repairs for their advice.