Transmission fluid leak symptoms

Written by michael gunderson
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Transmission fluid leak symptoms
Seek out a certified and experienced mechanic if you suspect a transmission fluid leak. (transmission image by Philippe SURMELY from

The possibility of transmission problems strikes fear into the hearts of most car owners. Horror tales of thousands of dollars in repairs and shoddy work cause some people to delay having their car looked over by a qualified mechanic. If a vehicle owner suspects there is a transmission problem, it could be due to a transmission leak.

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Fluid Under the Vehicle

Transmission fluid is oily in texture and has a transparent, pinkish red tint. If a leak like this is seen beneath the car, it could be transmission fluid. If the leak appears often, it is best to have it checked out as soon as possible. A mechanic will know whether it is transmission or power steering fluid. A leak from the power steering can be in the same general area on the ground as a transmission fluid leak. If there is a burnt odour to the fluid, your car most likely needs its transmission drained.

Strange Noises

Sometimes unfamiliar noises can be heard from the floorboard of a car when the transmission fluid starts leaking. The noise may sound like something grinding or a loud rattling from under the car. There may be a whining type of noise heard as well. If there is a strange noise when the car is shifting, this is another sign of a possible transmission fluid leak.

Unusual Shifting

A normal transmission shifts smoothly with little noise when lightly accelerated. Only if the acceleration is heavy, such as when speeding up, should the shift be firmer. If the car begins to shift erratically, this is a reason to have it checked out as soon as possible. Transmission fluid leaks will also cause gears in the transmission to slip. Evidence of slippage includes the motor speeding up but the car not going any faster. Other signs of a transmission fluid leak are the car shuddering and a delay in the car going into gear. If these signs are ignored, the car may stop going into reverse altogether. Continued inaction may result in the vehicle not moving at all in any gear, which is a sign that the car has serious transmission problems.

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