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How to Identify a Transmission Fluid Leak

The five words no vehicle owner ever wants to hear: "You have a transmission problem." Repairs to a transmission are costly. However, knowing how to identify a transmission fluid leak can help you catch transmission problems before they become major issues.

What does transmission fluid look like?

Transmission fluid is shiny like oil. If the fluid is new, it's generally thin with a distinct bright red or green color. Older fluid turns brown, and it's thicker. The purpose of the fluid is to lubricate the transmission for optimal performance. It also conditions your car's gaskets and seals to make them last longer.

Finding a transmission fluid leak

While it's difficult to pop the hood and identify a transmission fluid leak, there is a simple solution. You just need to check for stains underneath your vehicle.

  • Find a clean and level place where no previous stains will interfere with your inspection.
  • Lay down a clean drop cloth.
  • Park your vehicle over the cloth, ensuring that your entire engine block is centered over it.
  • The next morning, check the cloth for stains that are red, green, or brownish in color.

I confirmed a transmission fluid leak. Now what?

Discovering a transmission fluid leak doesn't always mean there's a problem with the transmission. Many leaks occur near gaskets, seals, and cooler lines. To make things even more confusing, transmission fluid is also used in the power steering system on some vehicle makes and models. The certified technicians here at our auto shop can identify the source of the leak and make repair recommendations. It pays to find the source. Running a vehicle that is low on transmission fluid can cause internal damage to the transmission. As you are aware, fixing a damaged transmission is very expensive.

If you need transmission repair, we invite you to bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop today.