What Your Automatic Transmission Fluid Says About Your Transmission's Health


If you have a traditional automatic transmission, then you should pay extra attention to your transmission fluid. Your vehicle's transmission fluid can tell you many things about its health by the way its fluid looks. Here is a guide to what different colours of fluids mean and what they indicate your transmission needs.

Be aware that this article will mostly address standard red-coloured transmission fluid. Some manufacturers may have fluid with a slightly off-red or pinkish colour instead of a rich, bright red. However, these tips still apply in most cases. Check with your manufacturer to determine the colour of your original fluid.

Dark Red 

A dark brick-red colour free of shavings and debris indicates healthy fluid. Usually, this is the colour of new transmission fluid. Unless you have other transmission problems, you probably don't need to do anything at this point.

Rust Red or Light Brown

As your transmission fluid ages, it often turns darker. After a few thousand miles of driving, you should notice a thicker fluid that is dark rust or light brown. This colour is normal and does not indicate you need a change at this time.

Dark Brown or Black

When you have dark blood-red, dark brown or black fluid, then you are likely overdue for a transmission fluid change. You may be in for repairs if you notice an odd burned smell. Overheating or hot-running transmissions frequently have burnt fluid.

Pink and Foamy

While some transmission fluids may start out pinkish, they should still have good viscosity. If you find your fluid is light pink, thin and foamy, you could have water-contaminated fluid. Water can get in through fluid faulty coolant lines or floods. If your fluid has this problem, then see a mechanic right away. The fluid is no longer protecting or lubricating your transmission.

Bits of Metal

Many automatic transmissions shed small amounts of band material as they age. However, you should not see more than a couple of small flecks on your dipstick. If you see large chunks of metal, it could indicate a more serious problem, especially when combined with burnt fluid.

Most cars have a transmission fluid change schedule, but sometimes these schedules call for long intervals. Therefore, to keep your automatic transmission in the best condition, check your fluid regularly. If you see any signs that your fluid is dirty or you have internal transmission problems, take your car to a mechanic. You may need to change your automatic transmission fluid more often than your maintenance schedule suggests.


5 May 2021

Critical Auto Service Tips for Business Travellers

If you drive a lot for business, you probably put a lot of kilometres on your vehicle. Whether you are driving from client to client in the same city or driving across the country, your vehicle needs to be well prepared for the journey. You don't want to miss out on a great opportunity because your car has broken down on the way to the meeting. Hi, my name is Carla, and I've been stranded on the side of the road, desperately trying to reach a client to reschedule. After that experience, however, I decided that I needed to pay more attention to auto service, and recently I decided to create this blog to help others in similar situations. Thanks for reading! I hope my tips help you!