If your car seems to be acting strangely every time it attempts to shift gears, you may wonder if there could be a problem with the automatic transmission. If so, check the transmission fluid to see if you find any of the following signs that there could be a problem with the system.
1. Level Is Low or High
When you pull out the dipstick to check the condition of the transmission fluid, the first thing you should inspect is the fluid's level. For a more accurate reading, wipe the residual fluid off of the dipstick, put it back in the hole, and pull it out again to read the level.
Unlike your car's motor oil, the transmission does not use or burn up its fluid. If you find that the level is low, this usually indicates that there is a leak somewhere inside the transmission. Even if you were to add more fluid, it would continue to leak out, which would create too much friction on the gears and wear them down.
Alternatively, you may find that the transmission fluid level is too high because someone has put too much into it. Since the fluid travels through a closed system, too much of it will create excessive pressure inside of the transmission. This pressure will cause wear and tear on the internal parts of the transmission, causing it to eventually break down.
2. Color Appears Reddish-brown or Black
While checking the fluid's level, carefully examine its color. You may need to shine a flashlight on the dipstick to have full visualization of the fluid's color, which should have a clear, bright red hue.
However, if there is a problem with the transmission that is creating too much friction on the gears, the fluid may become burnt. If this happens, the fluid will appear reddish-brown or black, and it may even have a burnt odor to it that you can detect even without putting your nose close to the dipstick.
If the fluid has become burnt, it is no longer providing enough lubrication to the transmission's gears. This will create even more friction, putting you at risk of having your transmission break down on you while you are driving.
If your transmission fluid is exhibiting even one of the above signs, there is most likely a serious issue with your automatic transmission. Before the system breaks down completely, take your car to a transmission repair service like Vonkattengell Transmission Service so they can find the problem with your car and discuss your options for fixing it.