I purchased a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer 4 wheel drive from an independnet dealer. We only put the vehicle into 4 wheel drive low one time last year and when we drove it the next day the 4 x 4 the wheel drive warning light came on. We took it too a dealer for service and eventually the told us it was not the $200 - $300 price range they quoted. They said the transfer case was out of fluid and now it will cost around $2000 to replace the transfer case. They said someone must have drained the fluid and they said not to put into 4 x 4. Needless to say we did not get it fixed. Is this actually possible? Did someone just need a boat payment? :)(we followed all the directions when putting into 4 x4 drive.)
I’ve bought a number of used vehicles, my standard practice is to change the fluids immediately upon taking over the used car. The only fluid I don’t change is power steering fluid. This way I know I have fresh fluids, since you can never tell when the previous owner changed them. It also would catch a problem where fluid had leaked out of something or was low, which was the case here.
Did you have an oil change since you purchased the car? An oil change should include a check of all fluid levels, but some quickie lubes don’t bother to pull plugs to check differentials and transfer cases.
Following directions putting the SUV into 4 wheel drive isn’t a factor. If it had no fluid in the transfer case then when engaged the lack of lubrication allowed the moving parts to wear excessively.
If you use the 4WD option infrequently you can fill the transfer case with fluid, you did do that right? Then only use 4 WD rarely if ever. If you need 4WD then you either fix the transfer case or sell the SUV and buy another one.
You can shop for other opinions and prices to fix your transfer case. There are salvage yard parts that should be OK for less money that should work fine for you.