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How To Test Transfer Case Encoder Motor

How To Test Transfer Case Encoder Motor?

As you know, the gearbox is an essential part of distinguishing a 4-wheel drive vehicle (4WD) and an AWD all-wheel-drive vehicle. The transfer case helps to provide superior traction for the car, providing high performance for the journey.

Therefore, when the transmission is damaged, it will significantly affect the quality of your journey. A common cause of transmission failure is the transfer case encoder motor. The following article will show you how to test transfer case encoder motor.

What Is A Transfer Case Encoder Motor 4wd?

A 4WD transmission is a part of a vehicle’s transmission that allows you to change between rear- and four-wheel drive, 4×4 easily. The gearbox consists of gears and chains. For the transmission to shift to 4-wheel drive, the gears need to be rotated inside the transmission.

Transfer case encoder motor 4WD is the part that rotates the gear inside the transmission box. It allows your car to convert to 4×4 mode.

Usually, the shift encoder motor is located outside the transfer case and is secured to the shift box by 3 bolts.

Therefore, when your vehicle cannot convert to 4×4 mode, it is likely that the shift encoder motor has failed.

Signs Of Transfer Case Encoder Motor Failure

What phenomena will appear when the Transfer case encoder motor has a problem? You can refer to 4 common phenomena below.

The 4WD (4WD) system has a problem

One of the common causes of Transfer case encoder motor failure is a problem with the 4WD system. This failure is due to some electrical fault inside the control system to faulty switching mechanisms. In addition, driveshaft or differential problems are also the cause of failure.

Strange noises appear

Strange noises are the next phenomenon that you can quickly notice when the Transfer case encoder motor fails. At this time, the noise will appear more and more intense.

The growl when the car accelerates is the characteristic sound for you to recognize this problem. The cause of strange noises may come from the gearbox. Its nature is that the problem is caused by:

Liquid level is lower than rated

  • Broken gear
  • Poor quality bearings
  • Gearbox appears water

The appearance of water under the car is the next phenomenon you realize when the Transfer case encoder motor fails. You can check with the naked eye for this unusual phenomenon by sliding under the truck because the conventional gearbox will be located at the end of the transmission.

The warning light is on

Modern cars will be equipped with a different notification system when the vehicle has a problem or an important event. Transfer case encoder motor failure is no exception.

When it has a problem, the warning light will flash continuously to notify the driver. In this way, users can quickly detect and resolve issues promptly.

How To Test Transfer Case Encoder Motor?

How To Test Transfer Case Encoder Motor

Working principle

The transfer case is responsible for dividing the choice between the front and rear axles. It is connected to the actuator, front axle, and rear axle through the drive shaft.

The driveshaft connects the transmission to the transmission and the shafts. The gearbox receives power from the drive gears and transmits it to the front and rear axles.

Currently, the transmission is mainly driven by chains in some modern cars, only a few use gears. Because gears are suitable for heavy vehicles running at low speeds, which will help the car move through sharp turns or rough terrain quickly.

To switch from 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive, an encoder motor is needed. There will be the transfer case control module. It is responsible for operating and controlling so that the engine that powers your car switches between 2 modes.

This design will prevent gear binding. At the same time, the gear shift box will control the time of the car transmission through the position sensor.

Check Transfer case encoder motor

One of the signs that the Transfer case encoder motor has a problem is that the 4WD warning light is on. Because the encoder engine system has many intricate details, you will not test it yourself without experience.

The best way is to move your car to an auto repair center. At this point, qualified technicians will help you to fix the problem.

Obviously, you can continue to move to the nearest repair garage for help. If you cannot continue moving, you can contact the emergency rescue center for assistance as soon as possible.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Will a bad transfer case cause slipping?

The answer is yes. You can drive when the transmission fails. However, you should not use a car when this device is having problems. Because it will bring danger to both people and vehicles. You will not feel safe while driving.

What happens when your transfer case goes out?

When the transfer case has a problem, it will leave negative consequences such as leakage, damage to some related details, etc.

From there, you will not be able to drive. The 4-wheel drive system will automatically switch erratically even if you do not apply, affecting the driver’s control ability.

Do you need to change the transfer case fluid?

The answer is NO. On average, transmission fluid needs to be changed every 30000 miles. Heavy vehicles such as trailers or some vehicles with frequent 4-wheel drive will need to be replaced sooner. In case the liquid is contaminated, or below the permissible limit, it may lead to a fire in the transfer tank.


Hopefully, the article will help you have an overview of the transfer case encoder motor. To check the engine, if you are inexperienced, it will be challenging to find the cause of the engine failure.

Because it has a lot of complicated details that only professional technical staff can read and check. Therefore, the best way is to move the car to the repair center for the most enthusiastic advice and support.

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