Neglecting to maintain your car can lead to expensive repairs (and even premature vehicle replacements) in the future. For example, consider your car’s engine. Without quality oil and proper spark plugs, you will experience performance issues and eventually overwork and failure.
Whether your vehicle has an automatic or manual gearbox, both require transmission fluid. This typically needs to be topped up every 60,000 to 100,000 miles, depending on vehicle and transmission type. Every driver should also know what to do if a transmission fluid leak occurs.
How do you know if you have a transmission fluid leak?
According to Access Auto Insurance, leaked transmission fluid usually collects under the middle of the car. Unlike fluids like antifreeze, transmission fluid is very thick and sticky. You can definitely tell if the leak is coming from the transmission by looking at the color of the fluid.
Transmission fluid is usually brown or crimson in color. These leaks are most common right after the transmission fluid has been changed. If you change the transmission fluid yourself, you must follow each step correctly to prevent leaks.
This is a tedious task, so it’s a good idea to wear safety glasses and gloves before starting. Locate the transmission pan under the vehicle and place the collection pan under it. Then you can loosen the drain bolt on the transmission pan and clean out the old transmission fluid.
After emptying the transmission bay, you can replace the cover and add new fluid. Open the hood of your car and locate the transmission fluid dipstick, usually right next to the oil dipstick. Take out the dipstick and pour in new transmission fluid.
Since this process involves placing the car on jack stands, many people may feel that this maintenance task cannot be performed safely. In such a case, it is better to ask a maintenance person. If fluid leaks from your vehicle after you have made an appointment for professional service, return it to your auto dealer as soon as possible to have it checked.
How to clean a transmission fluid leak
Transmission fluid can be flammable, so it’s imperative to clean up any leaks as soon as you spot them. Access Auto Insurance recommends applying oven cleaner and letting the stain settle for his 15 minutes. Use a wide brush to thoroughly scrub away any dirt, then rinse thoroughly with a hose.
Potential Causes of Transmission Fluid Leaks
It is possible that you or your mechanic failed to secure the transmission bay after properly changing the fluid. Also, when reinstalling the screws into the transmission bay, do not overtighten the bolts. This can distort or break the bolt head, allowing fluid to leak out of it.
Your car’s pan gasket is also prone to cracking due to age and general wear and tear. Have a mechanic check the gasket pan and transmission filter when you change the transmission oil. That way you can replace the broken one and avoid confusion later.
If your car’s torque converter cracks, it can also leak transmission fluid. This component is responsible for circulating the fluid within the transmission. If you have an automatic transmission, the fluid may leak through broken or melted seals.
A single large rock or another piece of debris can puncture the transmission bay and release the fluid inside. Even if the debris does not hit the transmission bay directly, a sharp stone or stick can still damage the transmission fluid lines and torque converter.
The best way to prevent fluid transmission leaks is to inspect your vehicle’s transmission components every time you change the fluid. If you notice transmission fluid under your car, do not drive until the source of the leak has been resolved.
RELATED: 6 Car Fluids to Check for in the Summer