3 Things The Appearance Of Your Car's Transmission Fluid Can Tell You

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If your car has an automatic transmission, you may wonder if there is a way to test the health of the part. Looking at the color and consistency of the transmission fluid is one way to do just that. Below are three things the appearance of the fluid can tell you about your car's transmission.

Fluid Has A Pink Or Red Color

Before you check your vehicle's transmission fluid, turn on and run your car for a few minutes to heat up the engine. This will give you an accurate read because the fluid will rise to its normal level and show you the consistency while it is running.

When you take your transmission's dipstick out, wipe the end of it off, then check it again. You may see a thin, spread-out pattern that is pink or red in color. If so, this means your transmission is working the way it should. However, if it does not look like this, continue to the other two sections, as your transmission may have a problem.

Fluid Is Foamy And Dark Brown

While looking at the fluid on the dipstick, you may notice that it is dark brown and foamy. In this case, your transmission fluid's level may be too high. 

When your transmission fluid is too high, pressure builds up inside the compartment, forcing air into the fluid and causing oxidation. This could make your gears slip because they have too much lubrication and the air causing them to miss.

If you feel your fluid is too high, you may want to take your car to a shop specializing in transmissions so they can drain out the excess or replace the fluid.

Fluid Looks Like A Chocolate Milkshake

If your fluid is milky brown and frothy like a chocolate milkshake, this is cause for immediate concern. When it has this appearance, it means that your car's radiator fluid has leaked into the transmission's lines.

This is a dangerous situation, since the fluid is highly contaminated and cannot fully lubricate the gears. This can wear down your transmission quickly, causing it to freeze up while you are going down the road. If you see chocolate milkshake on your dipstick, your car needs professional attention immediately before you can safely drive it.

If your transmission fluid does not look normal, your car may not be safe to drive. You may want to take your vehicle to a transmission shop, like Mr Transmission, as soon as possible so a technician can inspect and diagnose the trouble, as well as discuss your options for fixing the problem.