Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms

Transmission fluid is vital for the transmission system. It keeps all the components in the system, allowing them to run smoothly. Low transmission fluid can lead to damages of certain parts. Especially if you have an automatic car because the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) doubles as an antifreeze to prevent the engine overheating. Here are some low transmission fluid symptoms you should know about.

1. Trouble Shifting Gears

One of the reasons for having problems with the transmission is debris in the fluid. The oil in the gearbox has to be clean no matter whether you drive manual or automatic. Dirty oil will cause a too slow response from the gear shifting. If you are missing the transmission fluid, it will become difficult shifting gears.

2. Unusual Shifts

If transmission fluid is low, the shifting of gear can happen too late or too fast in automatic cars. You can even hear some knocking sound if the problem is in transmission fluid. The hydraulic pressure has to be precise and work smoothly for changing the gears in an automatic transmission. Lack of fluid will disrupt the rhythm of the shifting timing.

3. Surging Transmission

Another symptom of low transmission fluid is a surging movement during gear changes. It means that your vehicle will move toward with jerk instead of pulling backwards during normal driving.

4. Delayed Gear Engagement

If you notice a delayed response for 2 - 3 seconds when you move the gear to “Drive” or “Reverse” mode. Low level of fluid can cause a delay in gear change.

5. Gear Slippage

If the gear doesn’t stay in the mode you have selected, that is a symptom of low transmission fluid or it can be buildup debris inside that blocks the fluid flow.

6. Transmission Becomes Overheated

The main function of the transmission fluid is to keep the transmission temperature at a normal level. If there is less fluid to lubricate the components, it can lead to overheating because of a huge amount of friction. Overheating will cause delayed shifts, gear slippage, power loss, burning smells, or other related problems.

Remember, that the transmission system will suffer serious damage in case the temperature rises over 240°F.

How To Check The Transmission Fluid?

If you noticed any symptoms of low transmission fluid mentioned above, check the fluid level using a dipstick to see if the fluid level matches to the one mentioned in the owner’s manual .

Also, check the color of the transmission fluid because bad fluid can lead to serious transmission issues. Check the fluid level at least once a month and change it if the color becomes brown or black, or if you noticed a burning smell.

If the oil level is lower than it should be, inspect for any leaks or damaged components.


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