National Check Your Transmission Day: Learning How and When to Check Transmission Fluid

We’re shifting gears on National Check Your Transmission Day to raise awareness and educate our drivers on proper transmission maintenance. We’ll address common questions such as when to check transmission fluid, unhealthy transmission symptoms to look out for, and more.

Most drivers avoid care until a maintenance light on their dashboard alerts them of a problem, but neglecting simple transmission checks can harm your vehicle in the long run. Some of the most common causes for transmission failures are a lack of proper lubrication and overheating, both of which are avoidable with basic transmission care. 

Unfortunately, transmissions often go unrepaired due to the high price tag of repairs. Because expense and inconvenience outweigh necessity in the minds of many drivers, car health is put off. 

Procrastinating car care can cause rust, corrosion, friction, and irreversible damage, rendering the vehicle undrivable. These problems arise because many don’t know when to check transmission fluid, let alone how.

Questions To Ask Yourself

As a driver, you may be wondering what to look for in a healthy transmission, how to spot problems, when to check transmission fluid, and how to service our transmission. We’ll get into each of these so you can best assess your transmission and know what to do going forward.

What should I be looking for in a healthy transmission?

A healthy transmission is one that you don’t notice. It should be easy to accelerate, shift gears, reverse, and more. The fluid should be odorless and colorless (but sometimes slightly pink). If you begin observing changes in sound, fluid appearance, odor, or functionality, it’s time to head to the dealer service department.

What are common transmission problems?

Common transmission problems include fluid leaks and overheating caused by a blocked transmission cooler or line, a faulty transmission cooler, or heavy towing weights.

How do I recognize the symptoms of transmission problems?

As a rule of thumb, there are three clues used to assess a transmission: sight, smell, and sound.

General warning signs that warrant service include clunking, humming or whining. Grinding noises should raise alarm as they indicate a problem with the Planetary Gear System or other critical components. 

If you notice a distinctive whirring sound when in reverse, you likely have a clogged transmission fluid line. Odd noises while your car is in neutral, such as bumps or gurgling, indicate that your vehicle may be low on transmission fluid. If you hear any of these noises accompanied by visible leaks, you may have a transmission leak.

For those seeking a more DIY approach, you can see if your fluid is burned due to overheating. Transmission fluid itself can tell a lot about transmission health. If the fluid (a) changes color from opaque or slightly pink to red or brown, (b) has particles in it, or (c) smells burnt, it’s time for repair. 

How do I know when to check transmission fluid or schedule service?

You will definitely know to check transmission fluid or components when the warning signs emerge. However, it is good practice to check and replace fluid and filters annually or every 30,000 miles.

While an unserviced transmission lasts 100,000 miles, regular maintenance can make a car last 300,000 miles. In other words, if you drive an estimated 15,000 miles a year, regular transmission maintenance can prolong the life of a transmission by over 13 years. 

An Easier Way to Assess Transmission Health

Elo GPS with CarRx takes the guess-and-check out of vehicle health. The system integrates with your car, enabling you to run diagnostic scans, receive easily understandable reports, and schedule service all from your mobile device. To gain better insight into vehicle health with Elo GPS and CarRx connected car technology, contact our team or find a dealership near you.