The main parts of any 4-wheel-drive system are the front and rear differentials and the transfer case.
What is the Differential and How Does it Work?
The differential is part of your vehicle’s drivetrain, and is a special gearbox located between the drive wheels of your vehicle. Most 4-wheel drive vehicles have both a front and rear differential.The differential works with your transmission to deliver power from the engine to the axle that turns your wheels. The differential also makes turning your car possible. Using a series of gears, the differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds (the outside wheels need to turn faster than the inside wheels during a turn), enabling corner turning with improved traction.
The differential gears are lubricated with a fluid (referred to as differential fluid or differential oil) that carries heat away from them, preserving their life and performance. Over time, high operating temperatures can cause the differential fluid to break down. When this happens, or if leaks develop or the differential fluid becomes contaminated, the gears won’t work together smoothly. If the differential gears start to grind together, continued driving can cause expensive damage. Changing the differential fluid according to your owner’s manual will help you avoid premature wear on the differential.
The old differential fluid is removed and replaced with new fluid that contains the correct additives to help keep the seals, gears, and bearings operating properly.
How Often to Perform a Differential Service
We recommend a differential service in accordance with your vehicle’s owners manual recommended service intervals, or under special circumstances, such as water contamination. Your technician will check your owner’s manual and let you know the proper differential service interval for your specific vehicle.
What is the Transfer Case and How Does it Work?
The transfer case is a gearbox that splits the power between the front and rear axles on 4-wheel-drive vehicles. In all-wheel-drive vehicles, the transfer case helps to shift power from one axle to another, depending upon traction conditions. Lubricating fluid in the transfer case, called gear oil, helps keep the gears cool, clean, and turning smoothly. Gear oil additives break down in all gearboxes at different intervals. Replacing this fluid at owner’s manual recommended intervals can help prevent premature wear and damage caused by contaminated or broken-down gear oil.
Transfer Case Service
The old fluid is removed and new fluid is added according to owner’s manual recommendations.How Often to Perform a Transfer Case Service
We recommend a Transfer Case Service in accordance with your owner’s manual recommended service intervals. Your technician will check your owner’s manual and let you know the proper service interval for your specific vehicle.