What Does the Color of Your Automatic Transmission Fluid Mean?

If you see fluid leaking onto your garage floor that is pink, red, or brown and underneath the back of your engine rather than toward the front, it could be automatic transmission fluid. Leaking transmission fluid is a sign of trouble with the pan gasket or lines. Don’t ignore this leak. Your transmission relies on its fluid to shift smoothly and not overheat. The color of the fluid itself can also sign trouble. Here is a from Marks Auto Service guide to help you determine the state of your transmission fluid and the health of your transmission.

Red and Transparent

If the fluid you see is red and transparent your transmission fluid is new and in good shape. Aside from having the leak found and fixed and the fluid topped off, you don’t need to worry about your vehicle’s transmission fluid at this time. It has plenty of miles left on it before you need to have it replaced.

Light Brown and Transparent

As your transmission fluid ages, it can change from red to light brown. As long as the color is light brown and not dark brown, you’re still okay. The fluid also needs to be transparent to indicate that it is free of contaminants. Light brown and transparent transmission fluid doesn’t need to be replaced just yet.

Dark Brown and Opaque

Once the fluid turns dark brown and starts to get opaque or cloudy, it is too old to do its job effectively and is ready to be changed. In this case, the leak isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. You also need to have the transmission fluid flushed and replaced once the leak has been repaired.

Almost Black or Black

Super dark brown or black transmission fluid can damage your car, truck, or SUV’s transmission. You not only need to get the leak fixed and have the fluid changed, but you need to have the transmission fluid filter replaced, as well. It’s also wise to have the filter replaced if the fluid is dark brown as discussed above.

Light Pink Fluid

If the fluid on your garage floor is light pink and coming from your transmission, you’ve probably had problems with your gears, too. Light pink fluid is, unfortunately, the sign of death for a transmission. This usually means the transmission must be rebuilt or replaced, which is never good news.

Marks Auto Service can help you with your transmission trouble. We service, repair, and replace automatic and manual transmissions, so contact us today.

Photo by 12521104 from Getty Images Pro

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