Noticing leaking transmission fluid is probably one of the easiest ways to determine your car needs attention. A little fluid on your driveway can quickly turn into a huge and expensive car problem. Transmission fluid is crucial to your car’s shifting capabilities and is bright red and sweet or tart smelling. Unlike motor oil, your transmission does not consume or burn up fluid during use. If you notice your fluid is running low it is almost always caused by a leak. Keeping a close eye on your transmission fluid level is a good way to stay on top of this.
There can be several common reasons for a fluid leak. Any recent service or part replacement that involves disconnecting cooler lines like a radiator replacement or a transmission flush. If you have worn seals or gaskets, or a loose transmission pan. Also if the drive shaft is out of balance or there are worn axles. A transmission leak can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Most modern cars have sensors that will pick up irregularities and trigger your vehicle’s computer system to report there is a problem in a particular area. One of the most common dashboard warning signs is the transmission temperature. This means that your transmission fluid is hotter than normal causing your transmission to operate at a higher temperature. Should this light engage, check your transmission fluid level and engine coolant level immediately.
Generally transmission fluid has a slightly sweet or tart odor. Should you start to notice a light, burning odor it’s time to start thinking about your next fluid change. This is a problem that can go from bad to worse very quickly. Transmission fluid is vital in keeping all the transmission parts lubricated while preventing the unit from burning itself up. If your transmission fluid is severely burnt it could mean your transmission is burning as well which can mean a complete transmission rebuild.
If you have a manual transmission, a common warning sign is a very abrupt grinding noise or feeling when you shift into a new gear. Experiencing a grinding noise after fully engaging a clutch and shift may mean you have worn clutch or might have to get it adjusted. Also, your transmissions gear synchronizes may be worn out or damaged. With an automatic transmission you will feel the car shimmy into each gear, instead of having unnoticeable shifts. There is also a good chance you will hear a whining, buzzing, or humming sound. Noticing an odd noise is a sign of an issue. Bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect it for you.