Whether your vehicle contains a manual transmission or automatic transmission, it needs transmission fluid to lubricate its components. These are constantly moving components which generate a lot of heat and friction. If they are not properly lubricated because of low or bad transmission fluid, then your transmission is likely to overheat. Then you won’t be able to properly change gears and operate your vehicle safely.
All it takes is for a fluid leak to occur and then your transmission will have less fluid. If the leak continues for too long, then your transmission won’t have any fluid left. This will permanently damage your transmission, so make sure you recognize the symptoms of low transmission fluid before it is too late.
5 Symptoms in an Automatic
Below are the top 5 symptoms of low transmission fluid in an automatic vehicle.
1) Difficulty Shifting – Transmission fluid is supposed to make it easier and smoother to shift gears. If you don’t have enough fluid in the transmission, then shifting gears will be more difficult. This is too dangerous to keep on ignoring.
2) Slipping – If you step on the gas pedal to accelerate but the speed stays pretty much the same, then your transmission is slipping because of low levels of transmission fluid. This can be dangerous on the road, especially if you’re required to drive faster.
3) Dark Fluid – Normal automatic transmission fluid has a pinkish color to it. When the fluid gets too old or if there is a low amount of fluid in the transmission, then the fluid will become blacker or browner in color.
4) Fluid Leak – A fluid leak is the number one reason for low transmission fluid levels. To verify that you have a leak, inspect various components of the transmission. This includes the loose pans, gaskets, seals, and lines of the transmission. If any of them are leaking fluid, then replace that damaged component and the transmission fluid.
5) Overheated Transmission – Low transmission fluid will eventually lead to you having an overheated transmission system. With less fluid in the transmission, the components generate too much heat just like in an engine. If you don’t refill the transmission with more fluid, the entire system will overheat and get damaged.
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5 Symptoms in a Manual
Below are the top 5 symptoms of low transmission fluid in a manual vehicle.
1) Vibrations – If you feel vibrations as you’re holding the gearstick, then something must be wrong. Normally, it is a sign that you have low transmission fluid. In fact, this is one of the first signs and the least threatening sign. So, make sure you pay attention to your transmission fluid levels once you feel these vibrations. Don’t prolong getting the fluid replaced or else worse symptoms will come soon.
2) Difficulty Shifting – Smooth shifting can only happen if you have a balanced amount of fluid in your transmission. If you have difficulty shifting, then it means you don’t have enough fluid in the transmission. The lower the fluid level gets, the harder it will be to shift.
3) Lurching – If your car lurches backward and forward suddenly, this is called lurching. A low level of transmission fluid creates inconsistent movements in the system. These movements will result in lurching.
4) Sticky Clutch – When you apply pressure to the clutch pedal and then take it off, the pedal should go back to its original position. But if the pedal does not return to its original position, then it means you’re low on transmission fluid.
5) Delayed Engagement – If you attempt to shift gears and there is a delay in response, then you probably have low transmission fluid. Whenever you have less fluid, the pressure is weaker and takes more time for the gear to change. If the fluid gets too low, then you may get to a point where you can’t change the gears at