Transmission fluid is one of many fluids your car needs in order to run and drive. Whether your car has an automatic transmission or a manual transmission, maintaining transmission fluid is integral for your car to operate. What many do not know is that transmission fluid leaks can happen to anyone.
It is important for you to keep an eye on your car’s transmission fluid levels to ensure your transmission can change gears properly. If an issue arises within the car, transmission fluid can leak and cause more issues for your car down the road. In an attempt to avoid this situation all together, understanding how this fluid helps your transmission will help prevent leaks in the future.
What is Transmission Fluid?
As you could assume, transmission fluid is used to lubricate all of the components within your car’s gear-shifting system. Without this fluid, parts of the transmission would cause excess friction and heat, leading to a broken transmission. Various rotating and revolving gears, shafts, and rods need to stay lubricated so they can all function concurrently.
Your car utilizes transmission fluid any time your car changes gears or is in motion. Since your transmission tells your car which gear to use or which direction to go, your fluid levels have an impact on your engine as well. And the last thing you want is for your transmission to cause your engine to overheat, because the replacement cost of a transmission or engine is not cheap.
By maintaining proper transmission fluid levels your car can avoid unwanted dirt or particle buildup within the transmission as well. In fact keeping a healthy transmission is probably the best thing you can do for your car.
How Often to Change Transmission Fluid
There are already so many different fluids to maintain. From washer fluid to brake fluid, do not forget to add your transmission to the list too. Luckily your transmission fluid lasts longer than the other fluids in your car.
Depending on the make and model of your car, the average transmission fluid should be changed every 80,000 miles. While less frequent than the rest of the fluid levels in your car, it is still important to check your transmission fluid reservoir as often as possible. Whenever you are checking under the hood, you should check the transmission fluid tank to ensure proper levels.
If you notice your transmission fluid is low or looking poor quality, it may be time to add more or change your transmission fluid all together. If it seems discolored then you may need to flush the transmission fluid and replace it. Good quality transmission fluid will be a light red color while bad transmission fluid is a brown or black color.
However if the levels just seem low, you can add more fluid to the transmission reservoir with ease. Plus by doing so we can help avoid transmission fluid leaks in the future.
What Causes Transmission Leaks?
While you might expect accidents or damage to be the most common cause of transmission fluid leaks, think again. A lack of routine transmission fluid maintenance will likely lead to your transmission leaking.
If your car is operating will bad transmission fluid or simply not enough in the reservoir, than your car will be damaging itself as you drive. With your gears and cylinders grinding together with no lubrication, the metal components of your transmission will overheat and deteriorate. The longer this continues, the more likely your transmission fluid is to leak.
How to Prevent Transmission Leaks
Assuming your car has good transmission fluid levels, you can now work to prevent future fluid leaks. Doing so will protect the value of your car, as well as keep yourself out of the mechanic shop in the near future.
For starters, it is a good idea to keep handy a bottle of transmission stop leak, otherwise known as transmission sealer. This product comes in liquid form and acts as a sealing agent when added to transmission fluid. In the event your transmission fluid pan is draining, you can add transmission stop leak to your reservoir right where you put in transmission fluid.
What this concentrate transmission sealer does is form a bond where the leak is occurring and keeps further fluid from draining out. Although this is only a temporary solution, it gives you enough time to safely transport your car home or to an auto shop.
Another way to keep a healthy transmission is to reduce how often you need to shift your car. This advice leans more towards manual transmissions, however reducing any unnecessary friction or work in your gears can only help your car stay in good shape.
Your best way to prevent transmission leaks is to stay on top of your transmission fluid levels. If you notice any discoloration, you know that wear may already be occurring too. So it doesn’t hurt to check your fluid levels one more time!