Signs of a Bad Transfer Case

Signs of a Bad Transfer Case

Many of us Vancouverites, despite the fact that we live in a very urban area, thoroughly enjoy our SUVs, trucks, and of course, Jeeps. The multi-functional capabilities of a vehicle that can go most places other vehicles can’t, is a lifeline here in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Throughout the Lower Mainland, while we work hard during the week, many of us like to escape the city by spending the weekends and holidays in the mountains, or out by a rural lake where there are hardly any people.

And because British Columbia is such a mountainous province with some of the most unpredictable weather in the country, owning a vehicle that is 4WD capable is not only a blessing, but also a necessity for many.

This is where many of us learn for the first time what exactly a transfer case is, what it does, and what happens when it fails on our vehicle.

Why Vancouver Residents Love Owning 4×4’s So Much

While owning a 4×4 can make balancing work and play much easier in Metro Vancouver, it can also bring more difficulties in the repair department. After all, the more features you have on a vehicle, the more moving parts and components go right along with that.

This blog post is all about discerning a failing transfer case, what to do if you have one, and where you can scrap your vehicle for MORE cash if replacing your transfer case simply isn’t a viable option.

We are a professional scrap car buying company that services Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. With over 30 years of experience in this industry, we have seen it all. We know which vehicles are likely to have issue, and we address them throughout many of our blogs.

Cash for scrap cars with bad transfer cases

This helps our customers to make a more informed decision about selling, scrapping, or repairing their vehicle.

What is a Transfer Case On a Vehicle?

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Knowing what signs to look out for when your transfer case is potentially failing is critical in getting an early diagnosis and saving yourself a laundry list of extra repairs by not addressing the issue soon enough.

However, for those of you who aren’t exactly automotive savvy, you may be asking yourself, “what is a transfer case on a vehicle anyways?”. Well, that’s a great question, with a helpful answer provided right here by More Cash For Scrap.

Basically, a transfer case is the component that connects to your vehicle’s transmission, which then allows you to manipulate or split the power, if you will, between your front and rear axles. To simplify it even further, it’s the part that makes your 4WD turn on or off at your command.

Owning a 4×4 or 4WD vehicle doesn’t mean that your vehicle is always driving with all four wheels. It simply means that you have the option to do so. Thanks to the wonders of technology, many newer 4WD vehicles can be shifted between 2WD and 4WD with simply the push of a button.

What are the First Signs & Symptoms of a Bad Transfer Case?

Much like any sort of mechanical defect, malfunction, or failure on a vehicle, they almost always show signs and symptoms leading up the ultimate failure of whatever component is deficient.

However, knowing exactly what to look and listen for can be paramount to an early diagnosis. Thus, helping reduce the overall cost of repairs on your vehicle. Because the longer an issue goes unknown or untreated on a vehicle, the higher the repair bill usually becomes.

In fact, a bad transfer case is one of the reasons that many people choose to scrap their older vehicles with More Cash For Scrap.

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Replacing a bad transfer case can cost thousands of dollars, and when the vehicle isn’t even worth that, the replacement really isn’t practical or even realistic. If you have a 4WD vehicle that is starting to show signs of a bad transfer case, give our dedicated team of scrap car removal specialists a call. We’ll get the details of your vehicle over the phone, then make you an instant cash offer on it. And we always pay MORE cash for scrap cars than the other guys!

Signs & Symptoms that Your Transfer Case is Bad

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To help make pre-diagnosing your vehicle’s issues easier (as we recognize that some of us are still novices when it comes to auto maintenance), we have compiled a list of the most commonly reported symptoms by consumers of a failing or malfunctioning transfer case.

Keep and eye and an ear out for any of the following issues to help ensure you get your vehicle fixed in a timely manner, or to help decide if you should even fix it at all. Many people choose to scrap their car, truck, SUV, or van after finding out that the transfer case is toast because of the expense involved with replacing it.

1. Strange Sounds When Shifting In & Out of 4WD

New sounds that you never noticed before, or unusual noises that came on either gradually, or even suddenly and from out of nowhere are a key indicator that something isn’t operating the way that it should.

If you’ve noticed new or even worsening sounds while driving in 4WD, or while shifting in and out of 4WD, you should have your vehicle checked out by your mechanic. A licensed professional like the good people at Burnaby Transmission will help discern what exactly is malfunctioning on your vehicle’s transfer case, and whether or not it needs replacing.

Shifting Difficulty Transfer Case

Knowing whether or not it needs replacing or servicing is paramount in deciding if you are going to fix it, or scrap it with a scrap car removal company like More Cash For Scrap.

2. Difficulty Switching from 2WD to 4WD, or Vice Versa

Struggling to get your vehicle in or out of 4WD mode is another definitive sign that something is wrong with your transfer case.

If you were previously able to engage and disengage in and out of 4WD easily, but now notice that it’s getting more difficult than it was before, that could be a sign that your transfer case needs attention from a professional mechanic.

3. Your Vehicle Kicks Out of 4WD on Its Own

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There’s no bigger sign that your transfer case is failing than when you’re in 4WD and then suddenly are not.

For instance, if you switch into 4WD to navigate the slippery snow-covered hills in North Vancouver during a winter commute, but suddenly notice that you don’t have the traction or overall control you did a moment ago, your transfer case may be malfunctioning.

If this has, or does happen to you, be sure to get your vehicle checked out promptly. It could be a minor problem with a simple fix, or it could be your transfer case on its way out.

4. Difficulty or Struggling to Shift Between Gears

This is not only a common indicator that your transfer case is going on an automatic vehicle, but it is also a great way to tell if your transfer case is on its way out on a manual vehicle too.

Though standard transmission vehicles are much less common than they once were, there are still many Jeep and other 4×4 owners who prefer driving stick shift because it offers them a better level of control when off-roading.

However, if you are finding it difficult to shift between any gears, it could mean that your transfer case needs attention. Though this isn’t the only indicator, so be sure to consider if any of the other signs and symptoms are popping up as well before addressing it with your mechanic, because this can also be a sign of clutch problems.

5.Leaking Fluid Under Your Transfer Case


This one is pretty straight forward, but if you are noticing a new or worsening leak underneath your transfer case, it could be a sign that it needs service or replacing. Usually, if there is a leak, you’ll already be experiencing some of the other issues listed about.

Why Do Transfer Cases Need Replacing?

Much like anything, vehicle parts aren’t built to last forever. Although a transfer case is usually designed to withstand its fair share of beating, as it is a 4WD component, things happen, and parts fail.

Here are the most common reasons that a transfer case fails or malfunctions:

  • Damage from forceful impact
  • Overheating
  • Rust or corrosion for extreme water exposure, road salt, or ice & snow
  • Worn out parts like gaskets, bearings, or seals
  • Low transfer case fluid or pressure caused by leaks or poor maintenance
  • Over-stressing the transfer case itself

You might think that because you own a Jeep, or any other kind of 4×4 vehicle that you can push the limits of your car, truck, or SUV without worrying about causing damage as easily as you would with a car. However, when you drive on rugged terrain, you expose your vehicle to more aggressive punishment that it is typically intended for, so drive cautiously.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Transfer Case on a Car?

Much like any repair, every vehicle will have a different price when replacing or repairing certain components. Although they do all tend to be in the same vicinity pricewise from vehicle to vehicle, the cost differs based off of the age of your car, the type of vehicle you are driving, and things like the availability of parts, the cost of labour, etc.

If your transfer case is bad and needs replacing, you are looking at a minimum of roughly $3000 to replace it. The high cost is mostly due to the fact that the transfer case itself typically costs around $2,500 for a car. However, if you are needing a transfer case for a truck or SUV, depending on the brand, you could be looking at up to $8,000 or $9,000.

cars for cash

Larger trucks with a higher towing capacity usually cost more to replace the transfer case because the part itself is larger, and it has certain specifications. As a professional scrap car removal company in the Lower Mainland, we purchase a lot of older scrap trucks that needed the transfer case replaced, but it wasn’t worth the price for the owner.

Cash for Scrap Cars in Metro Vancouver & the Fraser Valley

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When it comes to paying MORE cash for scrap cars in the Lower Mainland, no one does it better than More Cash For Scrap. This is because we have been buying scrap cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans longer than any other scrap car removal company in Metro Vancouver.

If you are sitting at a crossroads of what to do with a vehicle that is in need of major repairs, give our team of scrap car removal specialists a quick call. They can answer any questions you might have about our process, and even make you an instant cash offer over the phone so that you know what your vehicle is worth.

Simply provide us with the make, model, year, condition, and location of your vehicle. If there is a specific repair that needs to be done on it, let us know that too. Then, we will present you with an instant cash offer either as we are speaking to you, or through a text message.

What Types of Vehicles Do We Buy?

From complete junkers to running vehicles that are just in need of some repairs. We buy junk vehicles in any condition, and for any reason. Plus, we always pay MORE cash for scrap cars than any other local scrap car removal company in the Lower Mainland.

We Are Always Looking to Buy:

  • Vehicles with collision damage
  • ICBC write-offs
  • Scrap cars with mechanical issues
  • Vehicles with electrical problems
  • Vehicles with mould, mildew, rust, or corrosion
  • Junkers with fire, flood, or anything other kind of damage
  • Vehicles with or without the catalytic converter
  • Vehicles that have been sitting too long
  • Project cars that were never restored
  • Vehicles missing portions and parts
  • Vehicles with REALLY high kilometres

You might be surprised how much your scrap car, truck, SUV, or van is worth. We know and appreciate the true value in every car we scrap, which is why we can always offer MORE cash for scrap cars than the other guys!

How Much Cash Can I Get for My Scrap Car?

Every vehicle has a different value because each junk car that we buy is being scrapped for a uniquely different reason. This is why we take the time to properly qualify your vehicle’s value, then make you a transparent offer over the phone.

Our scrap car buyers will explain to you what your vehicle is worth, and why, so that if you have been shopping around to various scrap car removal companies in Metro Vancouver or the Fraser Valley, you’ll be able to see that we truly do pay MORE cash for scrap cars than the other guys!

Plus, we offer free scrap car removal, same day auto scrap pickup, and the best customer service in the junk car buying industry.

Contact More Cash For Scrap & Get an Intant Cash Offer Today

More Cash for Scrap Cars

A simple call, text, or email is all it takes to get MORE cash for scrap cars and less junk vehicles in your life. And because we are a locally based BC business, we are usually able to offer same day auto scrap pickup.

Even if your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, or gets totaled in the middle of a busy Downtown Vancouver intersection, our scrap car removal team will come pick it up for free, and offer you the MOST cash for it.

We provide our scrap car removal services from 7:00 AM-11:00 PM, 7 days a week. Our scrap car buyers even work on many statutory holidays too. So, no matter when you need scrap car removal, More Cash For Scrap is always ready to provide it. We always pay MORE!

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About the Author: scrapcar

Since 2005, we've specialized in turning our customer's scrap cars into quick cash. We buy vehicles in ANY condition and with ANY issues. We pay MORE cash for scrap cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans than any other scrap car removal company in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island. If you want MORE cash, same day free junk car towing, and a reliable scrap car buying service, you want More Cash For Scrap.