Clogged Transmission Filter? Symptoms of a Clogged Filter & Cost to Fix

If you are driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission it has fluid that flows through the transmission to keep it running at its best. That fluid goes through a transmission filter. If the transmission filter gets clogged, you can have serious issues. A working transmission is a critical part of keeping your vehicle on the road. Here’s a closer look at why a clogged transmission filter is a problem, and what you can do about it.

Why is a Clogged Transmission Filter a Problem?Clogged Transmission Filter Symptoms, My Transmission Experts

Your transmission filter does an important job. It filters the transmission fluid, so the fluid flowing into the transmission is free of unnecessary gunk. Over time, some of that gunk can build up in the filter, and this impedes the flow of the fluid.

Less transmission fluid flowing to your transmission is a pretty serious problem. It means that the fluid that lubricates and cools the transmission isn’t getting where it needs to go. This can cause the transmission to overheat, or it can damage the many moving parts within the transmission. Both of these lead to expensive repairs, so this is a scenario best avoided at all costs.

Signs of a Clogged Transmission Filter

There are several symptoms to watch for indicating a clogged filter including but not limited to:

  • Rattling Noises – Rattles can come from many places, but if you’re hearing a jiggling rattle or a metal-on-metal sound, and it’s not from an obvious source, then check on the transmission. If the fluid looks dark, it may be because the filter is clogged and is restricting flow.
  • Leaking – If the transmission is leaking, there are a number of different reasons. However, if the filter is clogged and the fluid can’t flow, this is definitely a concern.
  • Burning OdorA burning smell is often the first sign of a transmission filter that’s clogged. When the fluid can’t get to the transmission, it will start to get hot. This is something you can smell quickly, and it means you need service right away.
  • Noise When in NeutralNoises from your car are always something you need to look into. Noises in neutral are definitely a sign of issues. A clogged filter is one of several problems that could lead to this symptom.
  • Shifting ProblemsClogged filters will make it hard to switch gears. If your car isn’t shifting smoothly, or if it hesitates or slips when you try to shift, you could have any number of transmission problems, so it’s best to have a professional look at it.
  • Problems ReversingOne common problem that can happen with a clogged filter is difficulty moving in reverse. The lack of fluid flowing through the transmission can cause the reverse gear to lock. This may prevent the car from going in reverse altogether, or it may cause it to hesitate before launching into reverse.

Clogged Filter Prevention

If a clogged transmission filter can cause so many issues, then you need to take measures to prevent this problem. Preventive maintenance is the key to preventing these issues. For most vehicles, you should plan to change the transmission filter every 30,000 miles or every two years, depending on how much you drive.

Clogged Filter Repair

Fixing the clogged filter right away is of the utmost importance to avoid further damage caused from overheating. Take your car, truck or SUV to a trusted transmission shop so that an experienced mechanic can flush the transmission fluid, install a new filter, and replace the dirty transmission fluid. The cost for the parts on average ranges between $50 to $100 but with labor costs involved it will be $300 to $400 dollars. Prices vary by the quality of the transmission fluid you choose to use, how much the shop charges per hour for labor, and how difficult it is to access, flush, and replace the clogged filter.

Change Your Clogged Filter

If you are due for transmission filter maintenance, My Transmission Expert can help. Stop in at our repair shop today to have your transmission serviced by our team of expert mechanics.


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