Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms
It’s important to keep your vehicle’s health on the back of your mind at all times. For instance, one reoccurring question that drivers in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and South Valley may ask about is transmission fluid level. That’s why our experienced team at Jaguar Albuquerque put together this helpful low transmission fluid symptoms guide.
The purpose of this guide is to help you identify signs your transmission fluid has fallen below the recommended level. Read through the information below, then feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have.
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Signs Your Transmission Fluid Is Low
As we’ll discuss in the next section, your transmission fluid plays a vital role in the wellbeing of your vehicle. Thankfully, there are numerous indicators that’ll let you know your fluid level is running low and needs to be topped off. These include:
- Overheating: Your transmission can overheat the same way your engine can overheat. You can tell the transmission fluid is too hot if you smell a burning odor or see puffs of smoke escaping from under the hood.
- Inability to shift: The transmission is responsible for shifting your vehicle’s gears as you cruise down the road. If you can’t shift, it’s a good indication that your fluid may be too low.
- Slipping: If you feel your car shift into a higher gear, only to slip back to the previous gear, your vehicle is experiencing transmission slipping. This slipping can be the result of low transmission fluid.
- Random/rough shifts: If your vehicle has gone from shifting smoothly to banging, clanking, or grinding its way from one gear to the next, you’ll want to check your fluid level as soon as possible.
- Delayed shifting: Finally, your transmission fluid may be running out if it takes a considerably longer time to shift gears than it normally would.
Purpose of Transmission Fluid
It’s important to maintain proper transmission fluid level because this fluid serves as a lubricant for all the moving parts in your transmission.
Beyond that, it serves as a coolant. So, when you find yourself driving across the sizzling highway in the middle of summer, it’s the transmission fluid that keeps your transmission from overheating.
Over time, transmission fluid could pick up a considerable amount of dirt and debris. If this happens, the fluid can no longer properly lubricate the transmission. This would also be the case if the fluid level got to be too low.
As a result, you’ll start to experience the symptoms that we mentioned above. Then, if left untreated, the transmission could completely fail, which would result in a costly replacement.
When to Replace Transmission Fluid
That’s why you’ll want to top off or replace the transmission fluid as soon as it’s needed. You may be wondering what the timeframe is for getting this kind of service completed.
This depends on several factors, like whether your vehicle is equipped with a manual or automatic transmission.
If the car has a manual transmission, it’s recommended to replace the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. However, if your automobile experiences heavy-duty use, then it may need to be changed every 15,000 miles.
On the other hand, an automatic transmission could have its fluid changed every 30,000 miles to never—depending on the vehicle. However, the typical service interval for an automatic fluid change is every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
Keep in mind, though, that these are general estimates. Refer to your owner’s manual for a more specific timeframe. Plus, if you notice any warning signs, you’ll want to have the service completed as soon as possible.
How to Check Transmission Fluid
You could always check the transmission fluid before bringing it in for a top-off or replacement. The method for doing this differs between an automatic and manual transmission.
Checking Fluid in an Automatic Transmission
You’ll first want to find the dipstick. Its location will depend on whether you have a front-wheel or rear-wheel drive car. In front-wheel drive, the dipstick is most likely sticking out of the transaxle toward the front of the engine. In a rear-wheel drive, it’s usually toward the back of the engine.
Then, once you find that, you’ll want to complete the following steps:
- Pull out the dipstick. Make sure the vehicle is in Park or Neutral, the parking brake is on, and the engine is running.
- Check the fluid. Dip your finger into the fluid on the dipstick and rub it with your thumb. See if the color is pinkish and almost clear, and that there is no debris on your fingers.
- Wipe the dipstick clean. You’ll want to do this with a lint-free rag. Then, reinsert the dipstick back into its reservoir and pull it out again.
- Check fluid level. If it’s clear but doesn’t reach the Full line, it’ll just need to be topped off. Otherwise, you’ll need to replace the fluid completely so that it’s nice and clean.
Checking Manual Transmission Fluid
For a car that has a manual transmission, the steps are slightly different. That’s because the fluid plug is located underneath the vehicle. Therefore, you’ll want to follow these steps:
- Jack up the car. Place wheel chocks around the rear tires, then use a hydraulic floor jack to lift the automobile. Make sure it’s high enough to gain clearance underneath it. Then, secure the vehicle with jack stands.
- Find the fluid fill plug. It’s usually a large bolt that’s about halfway up the side of the transmission.
- Remove the filler plug. Use a ratchet and socket that fits snug on the filler plug to properly remove it.
- Check the fluid level. Make sure that it matches the specifications per your owner’s manual. You could also place your finger inside the filler plug to see if you feel any fluid. If not, then the level may be too low.
- Add transmission fluid if needed. You’ll want to do this using a fluid pump. Then, recheck the level several times until it’s at the right amount.
- Replace the filler plug.
- Safely lower the vehicle to the ground.
Where to Have Your Transmission Fluid Topped Off
If the transmission fluid needs to be topped off or replaced, then bring your vehicle to our Jaguar service center. Not only do we have a team of professionals to make this happen, but we also have advanced, efficient equipment, so you’ll be in and out in no time.
Plus, we have a rotating list of service specials, for your convenience. So, each time you visit, you can get the service you need with great peace of mind.
Schedule Transmission Service Today
If you think your transmission fluid is running low, you can use this handy guide as a reference. Also, if your vehicle is experiencing any of the previously listed symptoms, be sure to schedule a maintenance appointment at Jaguar Albuquerque.
We’ll have your car topped off in a jiffy, so you can get back on the open roads of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and South Valley in no time at all!