How to Change Transfer Case Fluid

by Dan Ferrell
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Photo courtesy of CZmarlin at

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.

Step 1

Park your car in a safe place and make sure you have enough space to work around it.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

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