Auto Repair

What Is Your Automatic Transmission Fluid Telling You?

To be honest, you won’t see your automatic transmission fluid unless it begins to leak out of the system. This can happen when the seals wear down. If you do see automotive fluid on your garage floor, it is coming from the transmission if the spots are underneath the center of your car. Midwest Auto Care & Transmission Center is your one-stop-shop for preventative maintenance, auto repairs, and transmission services. Let’s talk about the color of automatic fluid and what that means.

Bright Red and Translucent

It’s easy to identify transmission ke-new and in terrific shape. Usually, transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed until you reach the 30,000 or 50,000 mileage milestone. Up to that point, the fluid should be red and transparent. Fluid this color is viscous and easily protects the transmission parts.

Light-Brown and Semi-Transparent

If, at 30,000 miles, your vehicle’s automatic transmission is light brown and still somewhat transparent, we can probably wait a little while longer to flush it and fill the transmission with new fluid if you need us to. Light-brown, semi-transparent fluid is still in good shape. It’s still able to lubricate transmission parts and prevent heat damage. We’ll need to keep a close eye on it, though.

Dark-Brown or Black and Opaque

Now, it’s time to change your fluid. As the fluid gets old and dirty, it turns darker and darker brown until it is black. Naturally, the dirty fluid also loses its translucency. If the fluid is black, you’ve waited too long between transmission flush and fills. Dark brown or black fluid has oxidized and is bad. In other words, it’s damaging your transmission each time you drive.

Light Pink or Pink and Translucent

This color is bad, period. Your fluid should never be light pink or pink. If it is, it’s being diluted. What’s diluting it is the problem. Pink fluid is a combination of transmission fluid and engine coolant or water, and what this means for you is a partial engine rebuild. The dilution occurs because something major is cracked; usually an internal radiator tank that cools the transmission fluid.

Let Midwest Auto Care &Transmission Center inspect your automatic transmission. We’ll service it if necessary. If you need transmission repair, we can do that or rebuild it if the damage is severe. 

Photo by Chat9780 from Getty Images via Canva Pro
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