What are the most common transmission fluid problems?

Transmission fluid levels vary by manufacturer and model, and it’s important to understand how important it is to maintain the correct fluid level to prevent damage. Low fluid levels can damage a vehicle just as much as high levels. But fluid levels are not the only signal of a problem, the color, smell, and presence of other materials in the fluid are also red flags indicating damage or excessive wear-and-tear.

What Causes Hard shifting, or a delay in an automatic shift?Common Transmission Fluid Problems Cost To Repair, My Transmission Experts

Overfilling an automatic transmission can cause many problems because it causes excessive pressure buildup inside the transmission that can cause a delay in shifting between gears. While the importance of maintaining proper transmission fluid levels is often emphasized, the devastating repercussions of using too much transmission fluid are rarely discussed.

Learn more about how too much transmission fluid can blow your transmission.

Other Problems from Too Much Transmission Fluid

Other, more severe consequences of adding more transmission fluid than the manufacturer recommends include:

  • dangerously high transmission pressure
  • damaged gears from grinding
  • transmission overheating
  • shift delay
  • transmission fluid leak
  • premature wear and tear
  • fluid contaminated with air
  • transmission failure

How to See If There’s Too Much Transmission Fluid

Here’s how to see if any of your suspicions about overfull tranny fluid are correct.

Measure Fluid with Dipstick. Check your transmission fluid level using the dipstick and reference your vehicle’s manual to see if it is too high. If it’s hard to read the levels on the dipstick, trying running your vehicle for a few minutes first and see if that helps it stick to the dipstick for an accurate reading. If the transmission fluid is too low, that could be the cause of the hard shifting you experienced as well.

Transmission Service & 35 Point Inspection. Bring your car, truck, or SUV into a local transmission shop for service and a 35 point inspection to see if everything else is in proper running order. They can tell you if there’s too much fluid, and whether you need a complete transmission fluid flush before the correct amount of new transmission fluid is added.

Other Transmission Fluid Problems

Other transmission fluid problems include:

Discolored Transmission Fluid. If you notice that the transmission fluid looks dark brown or black it could be from the metal friction plates in the torque converter or gears in the transmission breaking down. As they start to wear down more over time the fluid becomes darker.

Metal Shavings in Transmission Fluid. Improperly lubricated transmission gears will grind against one another causing irreparable damage as pieces of the metal gears flake and break off. If you find metal shavings in your transmission fluid we strongly advise that you bring your vehicle into the nearest transmission shop for a rebuild or to install a quality rebuilt transmission that comes with a warranty.


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