When we search for a new vehicle, there are things universally sought after. Those things often include durability, safety, and longevity. Volvo is a brand well known for these things, and for maintaining them alongside power and luxury. In fact, it is this reputation that keeps people satisfied with the brand over and over.

However, durable or not, all vehicles are susceptible to problems and Volvo is no exception. Transmission problems such as a transfer case failure are some of the most common issues in certain Volvo models. These are issues that are often highly inconvenient and costly, so being aware of their symptoms and being prepared can save you quite a bit of hassle in the end.

What is a Transfer Case?

The transfer case is the component inside the drivetrain which is responsible for delegating power to your wheels. If you have a four wheel drive or all wheel drive, your power is generated by the transmission and has to be taken from the transmission to the axles. This is the job of the transfer case.

It also accounts for adjusting the way your wheels turn. In Volvos, which are almost all designed with a front wheel drive or all wheel drive, this is especially important. You might notice, if the transfer case fails, that the performance of your vehicle drops noticeably and your car does not drive as well as it once did.

Common Reasons the Transfer Case Fails

There are many reasons why your Volvo might have transfer case failure, but the two most common include high mileage and shaft seal failure.

Increased mileage naturally causes all parts to wear out and eventually need replacement. If you have an older Volvo, then you are a higher risk for transfer case failure, especially if you haven’t properly maintained your vehicle.

The shaft seal is located on the transfer case and its job is to keep the hydraulic fluid from leaking. If it starts to leak, then it can wreak havoc on your gear shift and transmission functions.

Main Symptoms of Transfer Case Failure

While potentially a serious problem, the symptoms of transfer case failure are noticeable early on. You might notice leaking hydraulic fluid under your car. You might also notice that you have severe difficulty shifting gears. This is not only uncommon if your car is running smoothly, but highly dangerous. There might also be a grinding noise that you hear while driving. That grinding noise is tangentially related to the hydraulic fluid leak, as a vehicle without sufficient hydraulic fluid causes audible symptoms from a lack of lubrication. This lack of lubrication becomes decidedly more dangerous the longer it persists.

In all three causes, there are symptoms that are noticeable early on and they are not particularly subtle, making them easy to pick up on. Thankfully, as soon as any of them manifest, you can take your vehicle in to be inspected for transfer case failure.

If there is a failure with your transfer case, professionals can diagnose the issue and offer a solution for repairs. These are not the types of repairs you want to do yourself, especially if you do not have experience working with vehicles. It is important to set up safety structures when working with internal car components like this, and our professionals have the proper tools and knowledge to do just that. Remember too that the sooner you bring in your vehicle for inspection, the sooner a transfer case failure can be caught. The earlier these issues are uncovered, the easier the repairs will be — which often means they’ll be less costly, too.

Volvo XC40

Ask Professionals

Our service technicians at Foreign Automotive are specially trained on Volvos and all other European designs. We have a diverse team of experts, each of whom bring years of experience to the table, Transfer case failure can happen, and often when you least expect it, so drop in and let our experts take a look.

We are located conveniently to Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, and Ontario, Canada, and are dedicated to tackling issues like these for our loyal customers. Whether you need help with transfer case failure or you just need regular maintenance, we are here. Stop by today.

* Volvo Car on Road image credit goes to: y_carfan.

* Volvo XC40 image credit goes to: gargantiopa.