Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Transfer Case Fluid Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Transfer Case Fluid Drain & Refill
The average cost for a Chevrolet Suburban 1500 transfer case fluid replacement is between $76 and $128. Labor costs are estimated between $44 and $56 while parts are priced between $32 and $72. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: The cost of this service or repair can vary by location, your vehicle's make and model, and even your engine type. Related repairs may also be needed. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs might be right for you.
Transfer Case Fluid Drain & Refill

What is a transfer case?

The transfer case is a large gearbox that receives power from the transmission, and distributes that power to the front and rear differentials. On some models, they allow the vehicle to shift between two driving speed ranges.

How does a transfer case work?

Some older vehicles will use gears to transfer power, but most modern transfer cases utilize a chain to transfer power and torque to the output flange for front axle. This is done to synchronize the rotation of the front and rear wheels for more traction in low grip situations such as off-road driving. They can also contain low range gears that can be selected to help with extreme terrain or pulling heavy loads. This selection is either done manually with levers inside the vehicle, or electronically.

What are the symptoms related to transfer case issues?

Transfer cases that are not properly maintained may experience grinding, fast clicking noises, leaks, and total transfer case failure. On many late model vehicles, if internal damage has occurred, the check engine light or transmission warning light may illuminate, and on-board diagnostics (OBD) trouble codes will be stored in reference to the transmission or transfer case. This is especially true for electronically selected four wheel drive systems.

Can I drive with a transfer case fluid problem?

Driving a vehicle that has passed the manufacturer specified service interval is not generally recommended. The vehicle can be safely driven, but skipping maintenance may cost far more in the long run. Also, the vehicle should be taken for factory specified maintenance as soon as possible if the maintenance has been missed. If the vehicle has any transfer case issues that cause drivability concerns, or the noted symptoms, the vehicle should be towed to a repair facility for diagnostics.

How often do transfer case fluids need to be replaced?

Transfer case issues can happen anytime, regardless of mileage or age. However, it is common to see high mileage four wheel drive transfer cases in poor condition because of neglected maintenance. Performing factory maintenance on schedule is the best way to help prevent transfer case failure, and keep the drive shafts turning smoothly. Checking or changing the transfer case gear oil is a scheduled maintenance item for most four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles. Since each manufacturer may set different service intervals, check the owner's manual for information that applies to your specific vehicle. This is the best way to get accurate information, and keep your vehicle running like new.

How are transfer case fluid issues diagnosed?

Most fluid changes, including transfer case oil changes normally do not require a diagnosis. They are most often completed as scheduled maintenance, or as part of a repair necessitating draining the transfer case gear oil. If the transfer case is being diagnosed for other issues, the transfer case gear oil may be replaced as a step in the diagnosis.

Transfer Case Fluid Replacement Cost Estimates

The average cost for a Transfer Case Fluid Replacement is between $76 and $128 but can vary from car to car.

How is transfer case fluid replaced?

When replacing the transfer case gear oil, the technician also focuses on the condition of transfer case seals, amount of oil present, last service date and mileage, and oil condition. If any symptoms are noticed, recommendations for repair, or awareness will be made. For excessively contaminated oil a second fill and drain may be recommended to prevent premature wear or failure.

RepairPal Recommendations for transfer case fluid issues

We always recommend the drain plug and fill plug be torqued to factory specifications, and replaced according to factory specifications. These plugs are often only intended for one time use, and replacement is inexpensive.

What to look out for when dealing with transfer case fluid issues

There are many types and grades of gear oil, and many transfer cases may use automatic transmission fluid (ATF). These fluids are not interchangeable, and diluting one with the other will cause transfer case failure. Consulting the owner's manual for your vehicle is the best way to ensure you have the correct fluid for your transmission. If improper transmission fluid is added, the resulting damage could be severe.

The transfer case is often neglected until there is a problem. However, many problems that arise with transfer can be prevented by simple fluid changes, and proper operation. Like manual transmissions, transfer cases use oil as lubricant for the many gears used to drive the vehicle. The oil used in the transfer case is constantly degrading from age, heat, crushing force, and high pressures. When the oil degrades, it becomes unfit for use in a precision gearset, and must be changed before permanent damage occurs.

Can I replace the transfer case fluid myself?

Maintaining the transfer case is well within the reach of most people. It may even be one of the easiest tasks on a vehicle. If the proper fluid is selected, and there is a good method of getting the fluid into the transfer case fill plug, the service should go smoothly.