The Different Colors of Transmission Fluid Show Its Health

John’s Auto Care advises that the general recommendation to have the transmission fluid changed is every 30,000 miles. The transmission fluid lubricates the transmission and also works as a hydraulic fluid that helps the transmission shift gears. Old and dirty transmission cannot only damage the transmission but also affect its performance. Changing the fluid when it needs it prevents these problems.


In other words, you want to have the transmission fluid changed so that it is always bright red. You also want to be able to see through the transmission fluid at all times. When the fluid is translucent and red, it is in the perfect condition for its job. You can count on this fluid to provide protection to the transmission and help it shift the gears smoothly and seamlessly.


You can wait to have the transmission fluid changed when it turns orange provided it is still see-through. Orange or even light brown transmission fluid is still in good shape. Usually, the fluid starts to turn this color toward the 30,000-mile mark. It will remain this color for a while before it turns brown. We can check your transmission fluid to see if it is orangish-brown or brown.


If the fluid is brown, it needs to be changed. Brown transmission fluid is a sign that the fluid is oxidizing and this oxidation prevents the fluid from being able to protect the transmission. The oxidation fills the transmission fluid with air bubbles that also affect its ability to work as a hydraulic fluid. By the time you have put 30,000 miles on the odometer, the transmission fluid will have turned brown.


If you ignore the need for a transmission fluid flush and refill, the fluid will eventually turn black. Unfortunately, when black or dark brown, the fluid damages the transmission. It is completely oxidized and opaque. It will gum up the transmission and create problems with the gear shifts. In fact, your transmission may refuse to go into gear or to shift through the gears in the cycle.


Finally, as an aside, you never want to see pink transmission fluid in the transmission. The fluid will turn from red to pink because it is being diluted by the engine’s coolant. This means you have a breach between the two systems that can be extremely expensive to repair.

John’s Auto Care in Roseville, CA, is here for all of your auto service and repair needs so call us today. We will schedule a transmission fluid change with you.

Photo by PongMoji from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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