The transmission fluid color

There are two types of transmission systems - automatic and manual. They use fluids of different color.
Let’s look at the basic transmission fluid colors, when to change the transmission fluid, which condition of transmission fluid indicates bad quality, and so on.

The Automatic Transmission Fluid Color

Clean transmission fluid should be red. The color of automatic transmission fluid changes with age, let’s take a look at its color at different conditions.

1. Brand New

When the fluid is brand new, the color of auto transmission fluid is red. Sometimes, it looks like dark red. It should also be translucent or see-through. If you notice any kind of change in color, you should avoid it and use a good dark red colored ATF.

2. Normal

In normal conditions, the color of ATF is regular RED. If during your regular check-up, you notice that the color is different, try to determine what the actual problem is or contact your mechanic to fix the problem.

3. Signs of Replace

If the automatic transmission fluid color is black, or dark black, or rusty red type, it’s a sign that you have to change your ATF. Every oil has its lifespan, the ATF as well. So when the color is like that, it is recommended to have your transmission fluid changed by your mechanic.

4. Must Replace

If the ATF color looks dark or rusty it should be changed as soon as possible. Or it can lead to the transmission gearbox damage if you continue using rusty transmission fluid.

The CVT Transmission Fluid Color?

The CVT and the ATF transmission fluid colors are almost the same. They can differ only from grade to grade, functionality to functionality, makers to makers. Basically, the CVT transmission fluid has two different colors: translucent and pinkish light red.

Sometimes, you may notice milky, foamy, yellowed, or brown color transmission fluid. Replace the fluid with a new one to avoid some damages in the transmission system. Otherwise, it can cost you a lot if you ignore it.

The Manual Transmission Fluid Color

Manual transmission fluid color is very similar to the engine oil color. It’s hard to identify which one is the manual transmission fluid or which one is the engine oil just by checking the color.

It requires much experience and skill. The main difference is that the smell of manual transmission fluid is quite different from the engine oil smell. Manual transmission fluid was traditionally very thick, which made it more difficult to shift in and out of gear, especially in colder climates. As a result, a growing number of manual transmission systems use automatic transmission fluid. Whether you drive a manual or automatic vehicle, it’s essential to make sure that you use the right type. Otherwise, your transmission system could have trouble functioning properly.

Color is an excellent visual way to determine the age and condition of the transmission fluid. If you have some issues with your vehicle, it is good to start from inspecting the color of your transmission fluid. If you notice darkening of the transmission fluid, get your car to a transmission technician as soon as possible

Frequently asked questions

Why does my transmission fluid look milky?

Dark, Milky, Creamy, and cloudy transmission fluid color indicates a problem with the transmission system. A faulty radiator can make this too by pushing the coolant to the transmission.

Is transmission fluid clear?

Some manufacturers make ATF in other colors, but basically, the color is red.

How do I know if my transmission fluid is leaking?

First of all, check the driveway to check if the transmission fluid is leaking or not. If you see there a red line of fluid, it may be the transmission fluid so try to fix it as soon as possible.

Does Stop Leak work for transmission?

The stop leak actually works chemically and gives you access to use your car with the leakage for a few more days.

Is Transmission Stop Leak safe?

Transmission stop leak is safe, and it is designed to stop a leak of ATF for a while.

How do you know if your manual transmission fluid is low?

If you have low manual transmission fluid , you may experience a delay when shifting, or you will notice clutch paddle stickiness, vibration in the gearstick, difficulties when gear shifting. All these are the symptoms of low manual transmission fluid.


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