2 Signs Your Car's Transmission Fluid Is Dirty

Posted on: 18 April 2019

If your car seems to be feeling a little rough every time you need to shift gears, you may have already checked the transmission fluid level to find that you have the proper amount. However, a low level is not the only issue you can have with the fluid. Look for the following signs that the fluid is dirty and causing your transmission to act strangely.

1.  The Car Delays Shifting or Hard Shifts

One thing you may have noticed about your car whenever it tries to shift gears is that it takes a few moments to complete the shift. And, you may also notice that once it does shift, the entire car seems to lurch forward in a single thrust, which means that it is hard shifting.

When the fluid is dirty and gunky, it does not flow easily through your transmission. There may be a section in its path where a large piece of dirt or thickened fluid is trying to force its way through, delaying the ability of the gears to turn.

Then, once the dirty part of the fluid does go through, the thinner part enters the transmission abruptly. This causes a sudden turning of the gears that is felt as a hard shift. When your car hard shifts frequently, this wears the gears down and will eventually cause the transmission to break down.

2.  The Transmission Makes Grinding Noises While Shifting

Along with delayed or hard shifting, you may notice that your transmission has started to make grinding noises whenever it tries to shift gears. Dirty transmission fluid could cause these sounds in one of two ways.

First, when dirt is in the fluid, the gears may actually be trying to grind down any larger particles. As they attempt this, the sudden pressure could momentarily misalign the gears and cause the metal between two of the gears to strike each other.

Second, as discussed in the previous section, the gears themselves may be worn down because of frequent hard shifting. If this is the cause of the issue, you need to have a professional look at your transmission as soon as possible.

If you notice the above signs, your car's transmission may need to be flushed and the fluid changed. However, there are other problems that could cause the same symptoms, such as stripped gears or broken seals, so it is important that you take your vehicle to an auto transmission service so they can find the true cause of the issues and take the necessary action to fix them.