5 Symptoms of Burnt Transmission Fluid in Your Car

Like the internal combustion engine, the transmission of a vehicle has several moving metal components which generate a lot of heat. In order to reduce the temperature, the transmission requires its own special lubricant to cool down these components. This is where transmission fluid becomes important. The fluid is formulated especially for cooling off the components of the transmission and to prevent overheating.

Not all transmission fluids are the same, though. Some transmission fluids are formulated for automatic transmissions while others are formulated for manual transmissions. It is truly important for the automatic transmission to have this fluid because it provides both lubrication and power to the transmission. But if you have transmission fluid that is the wrong type or just too old, then it could cause the fluid to burn. Once that happens, it can result in all kinds of problems for both your transmission and engine.

5 Bad Symptoms

There are many noticeable symptoms of burnt transmission fluid that you will notice almost immediately. The symptoms may start out minor, but they will escalate to something much more serious if you don’t replace the fluid soon. It could even cause permanent damage to your transmission and engine the longer this continues.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of burnt transmission fluid in your car. Change the fluid as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.

1) Fluid Leak – If your transmission fluid is burnt, then you may have a fluid leak in your transmission. A leak causes there to be less fluid inside of the transmission. Whenever you don’t have enough fluid in the transmission, it won’t be able to properly lubricate and cool down the transmission’s components. All the heat becomes overwhelming for the existing fluid, which causes it to burn.

2) Burning Odor – As a continuation of the last symptom, the burning fluid creates a nasty burning odor that comes out of the transmission. The friction and heat build from the moving gears and components of the transmission and the odor just keeps getting more intense as time goes on. Let this be a sign that you need to change the fluid at once.

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3) Smokiness – Don’t be surprised if you see smoke coming out of the hood of your vehicle whenever your transmission fluid is burnt. Smokiness coming directly from the transmission is a clear sign that it is overheating because of burnt transmission fluid. There may also be a transmission fluid leak causing this problem too. If so, fix the leak and replace the fluid to stop the smokiness.

4) Shifting Difficulty – The reason you can change gears in a vehicle is because of the transmission. The transmission fluid is supposed to make it easy to change gears. But if the fluid is burning, then you’ll notice a lot of hesitation as you change gears. In order to restore the smoothness of the shifting, you must replace the burnt fluid with fresh transmission fluid. Don’t wait until you are unable to shifting gears before you do this. Otherwise, it could cause a car accident as you’re on the road.

5) Overheated Transmission – An overheated transmission is a clear sign that you have burning transmission fluid. If the fluid is unable to cool the engine, then it is obviously burning because it is old or leaking out. However, you should notice the overheating problem early on before it gets worse. For instance, the transmission will first reach 220°F, which causes varnish to form on the transmission’s components. As the heat gets worse, the seals will harden, and the clutches and bands of the transmission will slip. After the temperature reaches 295°F, it will result in a complete transmission system failure.

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