Transmission fluid lubricates the various moving parts of a manual or automatic transmission to prevent excessive wear and tear. When the level of transmission fluid gets too low, your car can handle strangely, which can be dangerous. Look out for these five signs of low transmission fluid.
1. Problematic Gear Shifts
Many people assume that trouble shifting gears is a problem that only manual drivers face. However, automatic transmissions can also experience trouble with gear shifts. You might notice that your car becomes momentarily unresponsive as you accelerate or observe a delay before the next gear engages. This symptom can indicate either that the level of transmission fluid is low or that the transmission is failing, so it is important to take the vehicle to a mechanic to get it checked out.
2. Strange Noises
Automatic transmissions should operate quietly. However, if the level of transmission fluid is low, you might hear a grinding noise as a new gear engages. If you ignore this noise, it could develop into a banging or clanking noise, which indicates damage to the transmission.
3. Bad Smells
Inadequate levels of automatic transmission fluid can cause the transmission to overheat. This overheating in turn causes the transmission fluid to oxidize, which creates a smell that is similar to burnt toast. The longer you allow this vicious cycle to continue, the lower your transmission fluid levels will get and the more likely it is that the transmission will fail.
Bad smells coming from your car can also be a sign of a problem with the engine. If refilling the transmission fluid does not help, be sure to take your vehicle to a garage as soon as possible.
4. Leaking Transmission Fluid
A leak can very quickly cause the level of transmission fluid in your vehicle to drop to a dangerously low level. Fortunately, transmission fluid leaks are usually easy to spot. Look out for a puddle of bright red fluid on your driveway or in the parking lot beneath your car.
Transmission fluid usually smells sweet, which makes it very easy to identify as the fluid that is leaking out from your vehicle. If it has been exposed to overheating, it can start to take on a burnt smell. Overheated transmission fluid also looks much darker: it has more of a brownish-red colour.
If you discover that a leak is the cause of your low transmission fluid, take the car to a mechanic as soon as possible. Refilling the fluid levels is only a short-term solution until you can get the leak fixed.
For more information on automatic transmissions, contact a local resource.
Hi! My name is Ken and this is my auto blog. I am super interested in vehicles of every kind. As a kid, I loved anything with wheels. Two wheels, four wheels, eight wheels. It was all great to me. I grew up hanging around my uncle's garage you see, so I learnt lots of cool things when people brought in their old autos and exchanged them for new ones. I am now 37 years old. Although I didn't enter the auto business myself, I still like to buy and sell the occasional car or truck using the tips and tricks I learnt as a child. Read on to find out more.