Signs of Transmission Trouble Can Be Found in the Fluid

The health of your transmission fluid directly affects the health of your transmission. Fairfax Auto Repair indicates that transmission fluid color changes tell you not only when the fluid needs to be changed but whether there is something seriously wrong with the transmission. On average, most vehicle manufacturers recommend that you have your transmission fluid flushed and refilled every 30,000 miles. We can do that here at our shop. Keeping the transmission fluid clean, fresh, and full in the transmission is crucial to your ability to change gears smoothly and effectively.

Bright Red/Red

As we said above, the color of your transmission fluid is an indicator of its health and, thereby, the health of your transmission. Bright red or red transmission fluid is healthy transmission fluid. Transmission fluid has two jobs. First, it works as a lubricant to protect the transmission parts and draw heat away from them. Second, it works as a hydraulic fluid to help the transmission shift gears. Your vehicle’s transmission fluid should always be bright red or red and translucent.

Light Brown/Orange

The transmission fluid will begin to change colors as it ages. The first color change is from red to light brown or orange. This fluid is still okay provided that it remains translucent. You don’t need to have this fluid changed right away, but it is important to understand that you are on the road to a transmission fluid flush and refill soon.

Dark Brown/Black

Once the fluid turns brown, dark brown, or black, it needs to be changed right away. The reason why transmission fluid changes colors is that it oxidizes. What this means is that it fills up with tiny air bubbles. These air bubbles reduce the transmission fluid’s ability to protect the transmission and act as a hydraulic fluid. The fluid also becomes opaque rather than translucent.

If you continue to drive your automobile with the transmission fluid in this condition, you run the risk of damaging the transmission severely. You will also notice that the transmission starts to have problems as it attempts to shift through the gear cycle or when you first put the vehicle into gear. Again, it’s important to have brown, dark brown, or black transmission fluid changed right away. 


Finally, as we mentioned above, transmission fluid colors can also indicate serious problems in transmissions. For example, if your transmission fluid is pink, it is being diluted by engine coolant. This indicates that you have a serious problem between the transmission and the cooling system.

If it’s been 30,000 miles since you had your last transmission fluid change, call Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA, today.

Call Fairfax Auto Repair at 703-822-5911 for an appointment today!

Photo by chat9780 from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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