The transmission fluid in your automobile plays two key roles. The first role is to protect your transmission from unnecessary heat and wear and tear by lubricating the gears and other moving parts. The second role is to help the gears shift, as transmission fluid is a hydraulic fluid. Primary Care Auto Repair can flush and refill your transmission fluid once it’s reached its final stage of usefulness. Here are the different stages of transmission fluid which you can tell by its color.
When transmission fluid is brand new, it is bright red. Power steering fluid is also red, as are some brands of engine coolant. Transmission fluid is also slick and translucent when it’s new; you can see through it. At this stage, the fluid is doing its job to the best of its ability, easily lubricating transmission gears and parts and protecting the transmission as it shifts through the gear cycles. The hydraulic fluid is also helping it change gears.
As the transmission fluid ages in your transmission, it will begin to change and darken some. The fluid will start to turn reddish-brown and then light brown eventually. This stage means the fluid is aging but it’s still effective. As long as the color is light brown and you can still see through the fluid, you don’t need to worry about changing it just yet. It’s still effectively lubricating the transmission, keeping it cool, and helping it shift gears.
A general rule of thumb is to change your car’s transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. If at 30,000 miles the fluid is still red or light brown and translucent, you can wait a bit to change it. Once the transmission fluid turns brown, dark brown, or black and is opaque, it must be changed right away. This fluid has oxidized, which means it is no longer protecting the transmission or helping it shift gears. Rather, it’s damaging the transmission.
As we just mentioned, dark brown or black and opaque transmission fluid is fluid that is in a dangerous stage; it’s causing damage to the internal workings of the transmission. Another fluid color that signals danger is pink. Pink transmission fluid is not new fluid in its infancy. Rather, it is transmission fluid that is being diluted by coolant. This means you have a damaged transmission with a serious internal leak.
Swing by Primary Care Auto Repair for a transmission fluid check. Our auto service shop in Warwick, RI, can make sure your fluid does not need to be changed or change it if it does.