Transmission fluid leaks are the most common causes for major internal transmission damage. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) provides very important lubricating, hydraulic and cooling properties within the transmission system. Without the proper amount of clean fluid running through the transmission, torque converter and other key components, the transmission will ultimately fail. The vehicle will lose accelerating power and may have trouble staying in certain gears. Eventually, the parts can completely seize up and you won’t be able to drive at all.
Identifying a Transmission Fluid Leak
When the transmission fluid is low or the fluid itself is old, burnt or contaminated, you will lose performance. The internal damage within the transmission tends to snowball as more components become affected. This is why transmission fluid leaks are so important to monitor. Any fluid leaking from underneath your vehicle (motor oil, radiator coolant, brake fluid, fuel, etc.) should be cause for serious concern. It’s a good idea to recognize what type of fluid it is based on the location, color and texture, and then get your vehicle checked out by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.
Automatic transmission fluid is generally bright red in color and fairly easily to identify, though some power steering fluids and radiator coolants can also be red. The telltale sign of a transmission fluid leak is usually the location. Your transmission is located near the middle of the car. If there is a puddle of red (or even just a few drops) under the center of your vehicle, it is likely a transmission fluid leak.
Don’t Wait Too Long
You’ll want to address a transmission fluid leak as soon as possible. In many cases, it is just a worn transmission pan gasket or clogged filter. You may just need a standard transmission service to install a new filter, gasket and fresh fluid. Sometimes, a damaged component inside the transmission system (often the torque converter) can fail and lead to fluid leaks. It can be a “chicken and egg” situation. There are times when a fluid leak or flow problem lead to internal damage. Then, there are other times where a damage part leads to the leak. Either way, you should take any transmission fluid leak very seriously before it leads to even more problems.
Other Transmission Damage
Another cause of a transmission fluid leak could be a cracked housing or a damaged fluid line. Repairs for these issues may depend on the source and extent of the damage. Some repairs are minimal while others may be more expensive. If the failure is bad enough, you may have to replace or rebuild your transmission. At Ralph’s Transmission, we specialize in full custom transmission rebuilds as a highly effective solution to resolve any internal transmission damage. Or, if you just need a standard service, we can take care of that, too.
For all your Central Valley transmission repair, inspection and maintenance needs, call Ralph’s Transmission today at 209.526.1909 or schedule your service appointment online.