Four Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicles are convenient for getting out of a muddy or snowy situation. Shifting over from Forward Wheel Drive (FWD) or Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) to 4WD is one of the many innovations that Volvo’s engineers have implemented into its cars. The component of your drive train that makes this possible is your transfer case, and it can fail with natural wear and tear.
Your Volvo’s transfer case can malfunction for various reasons. It can be from regular use or a phenomenon called “drivetrain binding.” Knowing when your transfer case has failed is necessary to maintain a healthy drive train system.
Transfer case failure is daunting for any Volvo driver. A broken transfer case affects your car’s essential function, which is taking you where you need to go. However, to help you identify and prevent a failing transfer case from causing any more damage to your Volvo, we’re here to discuss all the ways you can detect a failed transfer case.
Your 4WD System Won’t Activate
The first sign that your transfer case may have failed is if your 4WD system won’t engage. Your Volvo’s transfer case has multiple moving components essential to its function. However, should any of these parts break, fall loose, or stop for any other reason, your Volvo won’t be able to shift into 4WD.
Your Volvo failing to switch over to 4WD might be a sign of other issues as well. Problems with your transmission directly affect your transfer case. Or, it could be a problem with the electrical system that shifts your car into 4WD. Since the possible causes aren’t limited to these alone, you should take your Volvo to a trained mechanic to diagnose the problem.
Fluids are Leaking Underneath Your Transfer Case
Transfer cases comprise different gears, hydraulics, and chains that contribute to distributing power to your front and back differentials. Like most moving components in your Volvo, these require lubricants, so they run smoothly.
Occasionally, your transfer case can be punctured or corroded, causing these lubricants to leak onto the ground beneath it. When this happens, your transfer case will dry out, and the components can wear out faster than usual. Always be on the lookout for leaks under your car and have a certified mechanic inspect the problem.
You Have Problems Shifting Gears
Most cars these days are automatic drive, but the mechanisms that shift gears stay relatively the same. Your transmission connects to the output shaft of your drive train, which connects to your Volvo’s transfer case. Issues shifting gears can be a problem with your transfer case gears themselves.
Like we mentioned earlier, your transfer case can suffer from drivetrain binding. Binding happens when your Volvo is in 4WD, and the front wheels are spinning faster than the rear wheels. An imbalance like this causes gears in your transfer case to “bind” because both wheel axles should rotate at the same speed.
Transfer case binding causes severe problems for your drive train system, specifically the transmission. Gears spinning at different rates in the transfer case make it difficult for your transmission system to function as it should. In turn, your transmission system is damaged, making shifting gears harder for your Volvo.
Your Volvo Doesn’t Stay in 4WD
Volvos use electric transfer case shifters instead of manual shifters you may see in trucks and older SUVs. Because of this, sometimes the motor that controls whether 4WD is engaged can be faulty, making it difficult for your Volvo to stay in 4WD. This type of problem may also be related to the transfer case itself, but it’s more than likely the electric motor going bad.
Contact Master Mechanics Auto Repair for Transfer Case Failure
At Master Mechanics Auto Repair, we strive to lead the industry in dealership-level services for European automobiles. We service all clients in Battle Creek, Portage, and Kalamazoo, MI. Our ASE-certified mechanics use only the latest factory tools to run repairs on your car, keeping your satisfaction as our number one priority.
We service all makes and models from European and Asian imports to domestic vehicles. Call today to schedule an inspection on your Volvo, and be ready to drive your car in like-new condition again.
* Volvo XC 90 image credit goes to: Oleg_0.