The modern-day automobile is a lot more complex and sophisticated than its predecessor. Manufacturers spend a great deal of time improving their products, especially when it comes to the quality of the ride, the vehicle's stability and traction in bad weather. You may have noticed that more vehicles on the showroom floor utilise four-wheel-drive than ever before, as this mode of transportation is felt to be safe. If you've just opted for all-wheel-drive, you may be wondering how much attention to pay to its upkeep. In addition to regular maintenance, you should focus on the transfer case within the four-wheel-drive transmission system, as this is crucial, so what do you need to be looking out for here?
What Does the Transfer Case Do?
Years ago, the power created by the engine used to be distributed to the driving wheels in a fairly rudimentary fashion. Today, however, this distribution is very complex and is managed by a central device called the transfer case. This is based behind the vehicle's transmission and connects to the front and rear drive train. A number of gears within the transfer case provide the perfect amount of power to each axle in any given situation and this allows the driver to shift between low and high range, or engage four-wheel-drive versus two with no difficulty.
Some Common Issues
Sometimes, the level of sophistication here can lead to issues, even though the component is supposed to put up with a good deal of abuse during ordinary driving situations. As an example, you may find it difficult to engage the gearstick properly and this can be traced back to the linkage mechanism. Sometimes, this can be pushed out of line so that it doesn't operate correctly, or it could become loose.
Alternatively, there may not be enough lubricant in the transfer case, causing issues with engagement. You may also find that some internal components have worn down more than others and it doesn't take much to disrupt the delicate balance.
Try This First
There may be a simple fix, and it's worth trying. If you been driving for quite a long time without shifting gears, then a certain amount of torque can build up within the system to make such a shift difficult. Pull over to the side of the road and stop for a while, before shifting the gearstick into two-wheel-drive instead. This may get rid of the problem altogether, but always remember to choose the right gear for the circumstances. You won't be able to shift into low gear if you're doing highway speeds, for example.
Taking the Next Step
It is possible for you to add lubricant to the transfer case if the balance is simply too low. However, if this is not the case then you will need to engage the services of a qualified mechanic to see what is wrong with the linkage, replace all the oil in the system or change broken components.