What Causes Transmission Fluids To Leak?

Transmission Fluid LeakIn the course of driving and enjoying your vehicle, you might notice fluid leaks on the ground when you park it for the day. While you shouldn’t panic when you notice drips, you should most certainly learn what kind of fluid is leaking, why it’s leaking and what you should do to fix it. Here at Sun Devil Auto, we like to educate our customers just as much as we like to take superior care of their vehicles. Let us tell you what causes a transmission fluid leak as well as what steps to take next.

What Transmission Fluid Leaks Look Like

Because it might be another liquid dripping from underneath your car, you should first know what leaking transmission fluid looks like. You can find a detailed description in this article about how to identify a leak, but it all boils down to an often bright red liquid with a consistency thicker than brake fluid but not as thick as engine oil. However, transmission fluid colors may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.

To know for sure whether it’s transmission fluid dripping from your car, you’ll want to put down a towel or cloth with something heavy enough on it that it won’t be blown away by the wind, and park so your transmission and engine block are positioned over the fabric. Check your owner’s manual or online to determine where your car’s engine block and transmission are so that you know the correct parking position. Wait a few hours before checking the color of the fluid that dripped onto the fabric.

Causes of Transmission Fluid Leaks

Once you know for certain it’s transmission fluid, you might be curious why the leak happened in the first place. One reason for a leak might be high-temperature wear and tear has caused the pan seals on your transmission to break and leak fluid. Over time, road debris and heat can cause the transmission fluid lines to crack or break, which can cause fluid to leak out.

Another reason for lost fluid is your vehicle’s torque pump has become cracked or an axle seal has been compromised. Finally, a poorly installed transmission fluid pan can trigger an unfortunate fluid leak. It’s also possible your torque converter has malfunctioned, such as sustaining a crack or damage to the needle bearing. A professional mechanic will need to look at the pan’s bolts to determine for certain if that’s the issue.

Taking Care of a Fluid Leak

While you can always take care of such leaks on your own, you’re likely to be better off leaving the job to an experienced Sun Devil Auto technician. Our technicians have the knowledge and tools necessary to do the best job on your repair. The final results are also better guaranteed when experts perform the work.

Properly Maintaining Your Car’s Transmission

Transmission troubles are often among the most expensive and bothersome when it comes to car repairs, so it’s good to know how to take the best care of your transmission. One of the easiest things you can do is simply check your transmission fluid levels and condition every now and then. Before you inspect the dipstick, be certain of the proper procedure needed to check the transmission fluid. Some vehicles require the engine to be running, others to be off. In most cases, the fluid should be a vibrant shade of pink and have a sweet smell. Some manufacturers fluids are a different color.

If you need to add more transmission fluid, check that you have the right kind. Don’t forget to schedule regular transmission flushes, which we suggest every 30,000 miles. We also recommend you have your coolant system regularly serviced to better ensure your engine cooling system in functioning well to properly cool the transmission fluid.  Another good maintenance habit to fall into is to have a professional and certified transmission repair specialist look over your transmission at least once a year. That way, you’ll know whether there are any issues you need to take care of in the near future so you can start planning your finances accordingly.

A problematic transmission is nothing to fool around with. If you’ve noticed a leak under your car, or if your vehicle’s performance seems off in any way, allow us to take a look and see what the issue could be so we can restore your car to optimum performance.