Transmission fluid leak is a common problem in most vehicles. You can find out that your car has a transmission fluid leak if you notice a small puddle of red, green, or brown fluid underneath it. The transmission fluid leak forms stains on your parking area and cost you a lot of money to repair your car.
Many motorists consider transmission fluid leakages as normal. However, the longer you wait to fix the problem, the more you expose your vehicle and yourself to danger.
There are many reasons why your vehicle transmission fluid leaks when you park or drive your car. Well, in this article, we look at some of the main symptoms of transmission fluid leakage, causes, and some tips on how to fix the problem.
Continue reading to learn how to prevent transmission fluid leak and keep your car in perfect shape.
What Causes Transmission Fluid Leaks?
1. Worn out Pan
A damaged transmission pan is one of the main causes of transmission fluid leak. If your vehicle has a worn-out pan or one that is not fixed correctly, it can develop transmission fluid problems. In most cases, transmission fluid happens when the transmission pan becomes loose because of loose bolts, or the pan develops holes from wearing out.
Your transmission pan wears out as your car ages. In fact, as you drive your vehicle, a lot of substances on the road hit the transmission pan, exposing it to damages. When holes develop on the pan, your vehicle transmission fluid begins to leak, exposing your car to threats.
The car transmission can lose fluid quickly if a big rock hits the pan and create a sizeable hole. In case you realize your car losing transmission fluid faster, you should slow down and check if the transmission pan is in perfect condition.
2. Broken Seals
The automatic transmission in your car experiences hydraulic pressure through various seals. The seals on the transmission loosen up, crack, and wear out with time. Since your vehicle transmission is often exposed to heat, you should expect the sealant that is holding it together to break off as it ages.
Most parts of the transmission, such as the output shaft and the input shaft, are likely to have broken seals. They are the most critical areas of the transmission that you should check often. Also, you should not forget to check the tail housing seal, shifter housing seal, sensors, driveshaft, speedometer input seal, and the valve body. Always check that all these parts are sealed properly whenever you notice transmission fluid leak in your vehicle.
3. Damaged Gasket on the Transmission Pan
If your car manufacturer forgot to include quality gasket on the car transmission, then you should expect it to have some issues soon. Poor manufacturing of the gasket on your transmission is the reason it cannot withstand constant heat. Also, sometimes your mechanic forgets to align the gasket properly during the installation resulting in leakages.
You should reach out to a certified mechanic when you notice any slight damage to the gasket. It doesn’t cost much to replace the gasket. So, you shouldn’t wait until it can cause extended damage to your car transmission system.
If your car was recently involved in an accident, then that could be the reason for the transmission fluid leaks. When your car is involved in an accident, most of the internal parts get squeezed, making the transmission more susceptible to damage.
The car transmission has different internal shafts. If any of the shafts are pushed hard during the accident, they destroy the seals creating gaps that the transmission fluid penetrates through. There is also a high potential of your vehicle transmission fluid leaking if the car was hit on the wheels and axles.
In a nutshell, if your car is involved in an accident, you notice a red or pink fluid coming out of the vehicle. You should not hesitate to contact your mechanic to inspect the car for any damages on the transmission system.
5. Leakage in the Torque Converter
Torque converter or pump is responsible for propelling transmission fluid into the car’s power system. Your vehicle will have a transmission fluid leak if the torque converter has any slight crack anywhere on its body, or there is a damaged needle bearing.
It is not easy to fix a damaged torque converter alone. Therefore, you should not hesitate to visit your mechanic to have the problem solved.
6. Late Engagement between Gears
You must change your car transmission fluid regularly to ensure the normal operation of the transmission system. The car manufacturer will normally issue a manual indicating the amount of transmission fluid your car should use when you drive under normal and extreme conditions.
Low transmission fluid will normally occur when there is a late engagement between gears. This happens when you put the car gears on neutral or drive. The gears must build up a certain level of pressure before your vehicle can move forward. In case the transmission fluid level is a bit low, it will take the car some time to get moving. The delayed movement causes a transmission fluid leak.
Also, if you apply a lot of pressure on the car gears, there is likely to be more transmission fluid leak. Apart from wasting the transmission fluid, you risk spoiling the car brakes. To avoid damaging your vehicle’s transmission parts and causing transmission fluid leak, you should change transmission fluid regularly.
7. Changing the Transmission Fluid Late
Another reason why your car transmission fluid could be leaking is that you don’t change it at the right time. If your car is always on the road, you have to change the transmission fluid regularly to ensure your car runs smoothly with no leaks.
Follow the manufacturer manual and instructions on how to change the transmission fluid. Failure to replace the transmission fluid properly can cause a lot of damages to your car transmission system. The transmission fluid can easily pick up debris on the road, which will cause tear and wear.
8. Engine Light On
A trouble code is normally installed in the vehicle’s control unit for detecting any faults in the transmission system. The car transmission system uses solenoids and sensors that send signals to the engine to turn the lights on.
The vehicle ECM detects a fault if the signal sent to the engine says ON. It causes a shift in the transmission. The transmission fluid leaks as soon as the RPM (Revolution per Minute) gets limited.
Transmission Fluid Leak Inspection
Transmission fluid leakagesin vehicles manifest in many ways. Here we share with you some of the ways to determine if your car has transmission fluid leaks.
1. Monitor your Car Acceleration
The easiest way of finding out a transmission fluid leak is when you realize abnormal car acceleration. In a normal situation, you cannot notice if your car transmission is changing the gears. Generally, there is a slow response when changing gears if your car transmission fluid is running low.
A delayed shift in gear causes a slow acceleration. You can easily notice a decrease in car acceleration when you press the gas pedal, and the car engine moves slowly.
2. Extreme heat coming out of the Transmission System
If you notice too much heat coming out from your car’s transmission system, it means that your car transmission fluid is running low, or the car has some issue with the transmission, which needs immediate fixing.
Heating is the last thing you can expect from your vehicle transmission system because of the damages it can cause to most parts of your car. Always check the car dashboard heat gauge for any indications of overheating in the engine and transmission system.
Also, you can easily tell that your vehicle is overheating if you notice any strange burnt smell.
3. Strange Vibrations
You can experience vehicle vibration when there is a slip in the gears. In most cases, you will never notice the transmission switching gears because it happens instantaneously. However, in the event that the car transmission fluid is running low or leaking, you will experience strange vibrations. Your car will begin showing extreme slowness or sudden acceleration.
Additionally, you can notice a clunking transmission sound on your vehicle, which is a common indication that your car has some issues. If you hear any clunking transmission sound in your vehicle, you should act immediately to have your vehicle fixed.
It is never that safe to drive your vehicle when it shows this kind of strange behavior. You must take your car for immediate inspection and fixing to continue driving it safely.
4. Listen to grinding Gears
If your car is having issues with shifting gears, you will hear some strange grinding sound. The vehicle might be having some serious internal problems that need immediate fixing. Your car will not perform as usual if the transmission fluid is running low.
It can often cause the grinding sound in the gears because of inadequate lubrication. Once you get the grinding noise from your car, it means the transmission system is damaged, and it needs immediate fixing.
5. Find out if there is a puddle under the vehicle
Your vehicle may be having a transmission fluid leak if you notice any fluid puddle under the car. Depending on the transmission fluid that you use, you can observe a green, pink, or red puddle under the fluid.
However, sometimes, the presence of red or green puddle under the vehicle does not indicate that there is a problem in your car transmission system. Many internal parts of the car, such as the steering system, also use the transmission fluid.
Therefore, it can be misleading to use the presence of puddles as an indication that your car could be having transmission fluid leaks.
How Can You Prevent Transmission Fluid Leak?
Transmission fluid leakage can cost you a lot if you delay fixing it. Here are some three steps that you should follow if you intend to prevent or stop transmission fluid leak.
Step 1: Use dip-stick to inspect the transmission fluid.
The first step to stopping transmission fluid leaks is ensuring there is always enough transmission fluid in the system.
Use a transmission dip-stick to check the transmission fluid level. If it is low or below the full line, then you should top it up. Before testing for the transmission fluid level, you must park your car on a flat level surface. It’s time to inspect your car underneath if the transmission fluid is low, but you recently refilled it.
Also, you can notice a red or green puddle where you’ve parked the vehicle if at all it has some transmission fluid leak. However, if you see a green puddle on the surface, that could be an engine coolant leak.
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Step 2: Fix the transmission system depending on amount of leakage.
Check the amount of leaking coming out of the transmission system. If it is small, then you can simply use a stop-leak fluid to fix it. Remove the dip-stick from the transmission and pour the stop-leak fluid inside the tube to fill the space left by the leaked transmission fluid. Ensure the stop-leak fluid that you are using is meant for your car model.
Also, you can use a stop gap-measure to fix the problem if the leak is a bit bigger. You can tell that the gaps in the transmission system are large if a huge amount of puddle collects underneath the vehicle.
Step 3: Check the transmission level regularly.
As a preventive measure for your car, you should set a reminder to keep checking the transmission fluid level. Once the time suggested on the manufacturer manual expires, you should not hesitate to change the transmission fluid. Use a dip-stick to find out if the transmission fluid is dirty or changing in color. Replace the transmission fluid if it is dirty.
Only use a recommended transmission fluid, as indicated in the manual. Using a low-quality transmission fluid or one that is not suitable for your vehicle will often cause power transmission problems on the car engine. You should not forget to check your car parking area to find out if there are any puddles on the surface.
When you take your car for repair at a mechanic shop, you must always buy the recommended spare parts from certified dealers. Fixing your car engine with counterfeit spare parts will result in transmission fluid issues. Use original parts that are meant for your car model or brand.
Explain to your mechanic the exact problem with your car so that they inspect and fix it properly.
Lastly, to lower the contaminants your fluid transmission fluid is exposed to, you should only reverse or park your car when it has come to a full stop.
Transmission fluid leakage can cost you a lot of money to repair. It also exposes your vehicle to the risk of spoiling other internal parts. Therefore, you must always reach out to a mechanic at the right time to fix your car.
Use the tips we have shared on this article to find out if your car is having any transmission fluid leaks and take the necessary preventive measures to improve your vehicle performance on the road.