Whatdoesautomatictransmission fluid do?transmission fluid repairs Hamiltob

Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is a slick liquid with an oil-like consistency and is usually red in colour when new. It acts as a lubricant for all the moving parts within your car’s auto transmission system. Transmission fluid also aids in the transfer of energy between the car’s engine and transmission system.

Automatic transmission fluid should be changed every 60,000-100,000km. Transmission fluid changes in Hamilton >

In automatic transmissions, the transmission fluid also acts as a coolant, preventing various parts from reaching high temperatures.

An automatic transmission fluid leak can lead to serious problems in your auto transmission system. Transmission fluid leaks can usually be identified by a pool of red/brown liquid appearing under your car. You can diagnose a transmission fluid leak by:

  • Checking the colour and consistency of the fluid leaking.
  • Checking transmission fluid levels with the dipstick.
  • Taking note of any suspicious symptoms while driving.


Causes of a transmission fluid leak:

  • Leak in the pan – The transmission pan is subject to wear and tear over time. Leaks can be caused by small puncture holes  in the transmission pan.
  • Loose bolts/plugs – If the transmission bolts or drain plugs are not properly tightened, transmission fluid will leak out.
  • Damaged fluid lines – The transmission’s fluid lines can be damaged by heat or debris, causing fluid to leak. Debris on the road can puncture fluid lines at high speeds. High levels of heat can cause cracks in the line as well.
  • Worn seals – Seals are used to keep the transmission fluid in the pan. These seals can eventually wear, causing leaks to occur.
  • Transmission fluid cooler leaks – it the car has a transmission fluid cooler it can develop leaks over time through impacts with object, or general vibration and heating and cooling.


Symptoms of an auto transmission fluid leak: 

Below are some of the most common symptoms associated with an auto transmission fluid leak:

  • Fluid Puddles Underneath the Vehicle: One of the most apparent signs of an ATF leak is the presence of reddish or brownish fluid puddles under your vehicle after it has been parked for a period. The fluid is often thicker and has a distinct odor compared to other automotive fluids.
  • Low Fluid Level: If you regularly check your transmission fluid and notice that the level is consistently dropping below the recommended range on the dipstick, it could indicate a leak. A low ATF level can lead to transmission issues and should be addressed promptly.
  • Shifting Issues: An ATF leak can affect the transmission’s hydraulic pressure, resulting in shifting problems. You may experience delayed or rough gear shifts, slipping gears, or difficulty getting into or out of certain gears.
  • Transmission Overheating: Insufficient ATF due to a leak can cause the transmission to overheat. Overheating can lead to further damage and may trigger warning lights on the dashboard. If you notice the transmission temperature gauge consistently rising or a warning light illuminating, it could be related to an ATF leak.
  • Burning Smell: If the leaking ATF comes into contact with hot engine components or the exhaust system, it may produce a distinct burning odor. If you notice a burning smell, particularly when you exit the vehicle after driving, it could be an indication of an ATF leak.
  • Transmission Slipping: A low fluid level or inadequate fluid pressure caused by a leak can cause the transmission to slip. This is characterized by a loss of power, engine revving without a corresponding increase in vehicle speed, or a delay in gear engagement.

Driving with a transmission fluid leak >


What happens if you ignore an automatic transmission fluid leak?

  • Overheating: A low ATF level can result in excessive heat generation within the transmission. Overheating can damage internal components, such as seals, clutches, and bands, which rely on proper fluid flow and cooling to operate efficiently. Continuous overheating can cause the transmission to fail prematurely.
  • Transmission Slipping: Insufficient fluid can result in transmission slipping, which is characterized by a delay in gear engagement or a loss of power while accelerating. Slipping can lead to poor vehicle performance, decreased fuel efficiency, and potential safety hazards on the road.
  • Increased Friction and Wear: The lack of proper lubrication due to a low ATF level can lead to increased friction and wear on transmission components. This can cause accelerated deterioration of gears, bearings, and other critical parts, potentially resulting in costly repairs or the need for a complete transmission replacement.
  • Complete Transmission Failure: Ignoring an ATF leak for an extended period or allowing the transmission to operate with insufficient fluid can eventually lead to a complete transmission failure. This can result in a sudden loss of power, an inability to shift gears, or even the vehicle becoming inoperable.


Auto Transmission Fluid Leak Fixes in Hamilton

Does your car have an automatic transmission fluid leak? If so, we can help!

At Grimmer Motors, our professional and experienced mechanics can quickly determine the cause of a transmission fluid leak. We can then provide reliable services and part replacements to stop the auto transmission from leaking. We can then top your car up with new automatic transmission fluid. 

For automatic transmission fluid leak inspections and top-ups in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!


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