Three Signs You Need New Transmission Fluid

Your transmission fluid works to lubricate and clean your transmission while it works, preventing excessive wear and friction. Over time, as it removes dirt and grime from your transmission, your transmission fluid can become dirty and work less effectively, which can then have an impact on your engine's performance. You should replace the transmission fluid regularly to prevent any issues from manifesting: understanding some of the indicators that you are overdue for a transmission fluid change can help you figure out when to head to a mechanic for transmission repair.

Irregular Noises

One of the first and most common signs that can point to transmission fluid that is no longer performing its lubrication function properly is any sort of grinding or irregular sounds that are coming from the engine while you change gears or while driving. This means that there is likely a great deal of grime and grease in your transmission fluid, which can cause your transmission and engine to overheat. In rare cases, you may have a transmission fluid leak, which results in the same symptoms but will require a hose replacement in addition to adding in new fluid.

Surging and Sudden Slowdowns

Another common symptom of transmission fluid that needs to be replaced is if you find that your vehicle is suddenly surging forward or slowing down after changing gears, usually unpredictably and suddenly. This is because the transmission is improperly lubricated and thus takes a few seconds to kick in, reducing the overall amount of control that you have over the speed of your vehicle and greatly increasing the chances that you will experience a collision or accident while driving. For this reason, you should head to a mechanic straight away at the first sign of irregular movement coming from your car.

Check the Color

Finally, you don't have to wait for your transmission to start acting irregularly and experiencing issues on the road before you can determine if you need new transmission fluid. You can simply open up the reservoir, which is located near the engine block (check the owner's manual if you have trouble locating it) and take out the dipstick. Make sure that the transmission fluid is at the indicated minimum level, and add more if needed, but also pay attention to the color. Transmission fluid is usually an orange or a red, and will become darker and browner as it becomes contaminated with dirt and grime – so dark colored fluid means that you are overdue for a change.