Whether your car is manual or automatic, the transmission fluid is essential for the seamless operation of the transmission components, which are integral to your vehicle’s operation.
Maintaining proper transmission fluid levels will help keep your car running at its best and can save you from expensive repairs down the line, with transmission replacement being one of the most costly forms of car repair.
What is the Transmission in a Car?
In a vehicle, the transmission is a sophisticated system that manages the power from the engine to the wheels. It’s responsible for adjusting speed and torque through gear shifts. A well-maintained transmission is essential for performance, even in an automatic, as these vehicles still shift gears on their own.
Signs Your Transmission Fluid Needs Changing
Typically, transmission fluid should be changed between every 50,000 and 100,000 kilometres driven, or roughly every two years. However, factors such as frequent stop-start driving, heavy loads and towing can mean you need to change your transmission fluid sooner. Because of this, it is important to keep an eye out for the following indicators that it may be time for a transmission fluid change.
- Colour Change: Fresh transmission fluid usually has a red hue, though it can vary. Over time, as the fluid degrades, it darkens. If it starts to become a brownish colour, it’s time for a change.
- Burnt Smell: If you notice a burnt odour from the transmission fluid, it’s an urgent sign to change it. This smell can also hint at mechanical issues with the transmission, meaning you should book an appointment with your mechanic as soon as possible.
- Presence of Particles: Upon inspecting the fluid closely, if you discover debris or particles, it’s a strong indication that the fluid needs to be replaced.
How to Check Transmission Fluid
While taking your car to a reputable mechanic is the simplest way to check transmission fluid, especially for modern vehicles where the dipstick may be difficult to access, you can also check transmission fluid levels yourself if the dipstick is easily accessible.
Ensure the engine is off and be cautious of hot components. Following your owner’s manual, carefully remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean cloth. Re-insert the dipstick and remove it again to check the fluid level. If it’s low, top the transmission fluid up with the correct type based on your vehicle, or contact a professional if you suspect a leak.
What to Do if Your Car Leaks Transmission Fluid
If you find that your car’s transmission fluid is low, it may indicate a leak. It’s important not to ignore this, as a leak can lead to significant transmission issues. Promptly consult a mechanic to diagnose and fix the transmission fluid leak. A regular car service can help in the early detection and prevention of extensive damage to your car’s transmission.
The Great Lakes Team is Here to Help
If you’re concerned about your car’s transmission or need to have your transmission fluid checked, don’t hesitate to reach out to the expert team at Great Lakes Auto Centre. Our experienced technicians are equipped to handle all your transmission needs.