Transmission Fluid Issues That Could Mean Transmission Troubles

Posted on: 6 January 2015

One of the most troublesome and costly problems with a car is transmission failure.  If the transmission fails when you least expect it, you could end up being stranded on the side of the road until help arrives.  Even if you have no experience working on cars, it is possible to diagnose a transmission problem without going to a mechanic.

By paying attention to what your transmission fluid is saying, you can catch the problem before it leaves your car inoperable:

Fluid Color

The color of your transmission fluid can say a lot about the transmission's overall healthy.  If your transmission is running properly, the fluid should be a deep red color that is slightly translucent. 

Some signs that you have contaminated fluid is if there are small particles or water in it.  Contaminated fluid will cause damage as it goes through the transmission, contributing to potential transmission failure.  It will cause the gears to have difficulty turning, which is key to how a transmission works to automatically shift gears for you.

If you notice contaminated transmission fluid, you should have the entire system flushed.

Fluid Smell

Transmission fluid that has a burning odor, as well as a brown tint to it, is a sign that your transmission fluid is too hot.  A hot transmission will cause the clutch to slip when changing gears.

If you want to avoid rebuilding your transmission, or getting a brand new one, there are some fixes that you can try.  Try replacing the clutch plate first and see if that fixes the issue of the clutch slipping.  It will also help to replace your transmission filter and fluid if you had burned fluid in the system.

Dark Fluid

If you ignore a transmission that is overheating, it will eventually cause your fluid to become extremely dark in color, almost completely black.  It will also retain the burned smell that comes with being overheated.   If you continue to ignore the warning signs your transmission fluid is telling you, it could cause major damage that requires complete transmission replacement.

Repairing The Damage

When your transmission finally fails, you will be left with two options, rebuilding or replacing the transmission.  On average, a rebuilt transmission can cost you as much as $1,500.  Even though this repair is much cheaper than replacing your transmission, it will not be nearly as reliable as outright replacement.

Now that you are aware of how to identify transmission problems early, you will hopefully never get to the point where your transmission fails unexpectedly. To learn more, contact a company like Tom's Husker Automotive Inc. with any questions you have.