Transmission fluid has two functions–it transfers rotational power from the engine to the transmission and it cools the engine by absorbing heat created by friction. If a part malfunctions and causes a leak, your vehicle will definitely let you know. Here are the most common signs of low transmission fluid.
If the car starts shifting gears too early/late or slams suddenly into gear, a lack of fluid may be negatively-impacting the hydraulic pressure required for adequate shifting. A rough or hard shift could also indicate low fluid levels.
Failure to Shift
If transmission fluid is scarce, the transmission may not shift at all. It won’t go into Drive, Reverse, or any other gear. Filling the fluid to optimal levels will sometimes restore life, but a professional look into the lack of fluid is warranted.
Gear Shift Hesitation
If there’s a noticeable delay between shifting from Park to Reverse, for example, your vehicle likely lacks enough transmission fluid to incite a gear change. If this happens, you should check fluid levels and possibly seek the aid of a trained mechanic.
Without enough fluid, the transmission cannot properly cool. In little time, it will overheat. Signs your car is about to overheat include erratic shifting, gear slips, burning smells, and loss of power. If you suspect an overly hot transmission, it’s best to pull over and have the car towed to a shop.
A transmission slips when it engages into gear then falls back out of it. In a similar vein, the car might shift more abruptly with high RPMs prior to a shift, or you might hear a grinding noise coming from the transmission. The strange sounds come from increased friction on the clutches and transmission band. If left untreated, it can overheat. If you notice any of these indicators, see an expert immediately, as the area has probably experienced significant damage.
If refilling the transmission fluid has little or no effect on any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it might need to be rebuilt or replaced.
Avoiding Low Fluid
Frequent fluid checks ensure your transmission stays adequately lubricated. If you drive often or tow heavy loads, experts recommend checking fluid levels at least every two weeks. For normal drivers, once a month should do it.
For all your vehicle’s needs, call Mike’s Auto Service & Repair at 413-523-0180 and schedule an appointment today!