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Signs That A Vehicle Might Have Dirty Transmission Fluid

When a vehicle develops troubling symptoms related to transmission function, the owner is understandably anxious. It's scary to think that this major component could be failing. However, sometimes a fluid change or flush resolves the problems. Automotive technicians who do transmission repair provide this service if the symptoms could be related to dirty fluid.

About Transmission Fluid

Fresh transmission fluid is bright red. It becomes brown when contaminated by road dirt and other substances. Like engine oil, transmission fluid can gradually become dirty. Changing it has a similar purpose as changing the engine oil. It reduces friction and allows for more effective lubrication.

This service can significantly delay or prevent mechanical failure. When that happens, vehicle owners must decide whether to pay for expensive repair work or transmission replacement or to junk the car.

Fluid Changes and Flushes

During a fluid change, the liquid drains out and the container is refilled. A flush removes contaminants that could be left behind after the liquid drains away. All the old, dirty liquid is removed and replaced with new fluid. A transmission repair technician advises customers which option is best for their particular vehicle and symptoms.

The number of miles driven before a transmission fluid change or flush should be done varies by vehicle. In general, owners are encouraged to schedule the service every 30,000 miles. Some wait much longer, though, and others never have the work done.

Symptoms of Dirty Fluid

Dirty transmission fluid causes issues with shifting. The contaminated liquid does not flow as smoothly as it should. Added friction can result in a brief lack of adequate hydraulic pressure. 

There may be hesitation after the driver moves the gear stick to drive or reverse. Symptoms also can occur when the vehicle is moving and automatically changing gears. The driver may sense the automobile occasionally lunging forward while traveling at highway speed. This is caused by brief but inappropriate downshifting. The problem is known as gears slipping.

Another issue is a sense that shifting is not happening quickly enough during acceleration. First, there is hesitation, followed by a surge in power.

Whining noises during shifting or even just when the automobile is moving can indicate contamination with grease, dirt, and other substances.

Scheduling Service

The symptoms might seem alarming, but resolving the problems may simply require routine maintenance that has been neglected. Vehicle owners may contact a transmission repair service and discuss the issues with an automotive technician there. This will help them decide how to proceed.