An image of a drop plopping into water.If you notice any fluid leaking underneath your car, truck or SUV, you should be concerned. It may be a minor problem like a loose fitting or worn hose. Or, it could be the sign of a much bigger issue. At the first sign of any fluid leak, you should figure out which fluid is leaking and get your vehicle checked out by an automotive expert. This is how you catch problems early before they turn into something much, much worse!

Is Your Transmission Leaking Fluid?

A transmission fluid leak should be taken very seriously. Let’s just say it’s never a good sign if your transmission system is leaking fluid. Transmission fluid provides vital lubricating and cooling properties within the transmission. If the fluid is low, burnt or full of debris, things simply won’t work as well and it could lead to significant internal transmission damage that will be costly to repair or rebuild.

How to Identify Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is generally a very bright red color, though the color and consistency can vary depending on the transmission and the fluid used. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to identify compared to engine oil (brown), brake fluid (yellow/clear) or radiator coolant (green). It will also usually come from under the middle of your vehicle where the transmission is located (not under the engine, radiator or wheels).

Standard Transmission Maintenance

In many cases, leaking transmission fluid is simply a worn transmission pan gasket. This is the seal between the transmission pan (which is the reservoir for the transmission fluid) and the main transmission housing. The gasket will wear out over time and can start to leak. In this situation, you will probably just need a standard transmission service. This is where we replace the pan gasket and transmission filter, while also putting in fresh transmission fluid. This is a necessary maintenance task that all vehicles need periodically (usually every 30,000-60,000 miles).

Internal Transmission Damage

In other more serious cases, leaking transmission fluid could be a crack in the transmission housing or a sign of other serious internal damage. If you notice transmission fluid leaking under your vehicle, you shouldn’t wait to have it inspected by a transmission expert. At Ralph’s Transmission, we offer our Central Valley customers free transmission inspections. We’ll let you know what we find and which services—if any—are recommended. If it is a worn gasket or something minor, we can perform a standard transmission service. If it appears to be something more significant, we will recommend removing the transmission and performing a full internal inspection to uncover the source of the problem.

If your transmission is leaking and you ignore it, you risk major transmission damage. It’s best to catch a potential problem early rather than waiting for it to compound into something that will be much more expensive to repair.

If you are in the Modesto area and have a transmission fluid leak or any other transmission concerns, call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.

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