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5 Causes of Automatic Transmission Fluid Leaks and Repair Cost

August 2, 2017 | Transmission

If there is a leak of red transmission fluid that occurs underneath your vehicle, this is never a good sign. It will form stains on your garage floor but more importantly, it will cost you lots of money in repairing the leak and replacing the fluid.

The Top 5 Causes of Automatic Transmission Fluid Leaks

Your transmission may leak because of minor issues or critical issues. Despite which kind of issue that it is, you should never let a leaky transmission wait. Get it checked right away. If you wait to get a simple repair done, the problem will get much worse and cost you more money to fix. Below are the 5 main causes of automatic transmission fluid leaks.

1) Oil Pan & Drain Plug

There will eventually be wear and tear of your transmission pan. If the pan gets a small puncture or there are loose drain plugs or bolts, then a leak can occur. While on the road driving, the pan of your transmission could get damaged from all the loose rocks and debris on the road. If a big rock or other object were to damage the pan, the transmission will lose fluid quickly. You will know right away when this is happening. On the other hand, a small hole or puncture will take longer for you to notice. If your drain plugs or bolts are not tightened enough, they could cause a leak too. You can do this after you change the fluid.

2) Fluid Line is Cracked

The fluid line of a transmission is constructed of either steel or aluminum. This line is extremely durable but if it gets damaged with debris or exposed to heat too often, then the line will break or crack in time.

3) Seals are Broken

An automatic transmission sustains hydraulic pressure by using lots of transmission seals. However, over time, these seals will crack and get worn out, especially when being exposed to heat often. If you get a transmission leak from this, there are many areas of the transmission to check. You could inspect the pan gasket, plug seals, sensors, shifter housing seal, input shaft seal, output shaft seal, tail housing seal, and speedometer input seal.

4) Torque Converter Leakage

Transmission fluid is propelled into the whole system by the torque pump. If this torque pump has a crack anywhere on its body, it will leak transmission fluid.

5) Oil Pan Gasket Fails

Oil pan gaskets can be damaged or cracked due to poor manufacturing or constant exposure to hot temperatures. The oil pan gasket is cheap to replace so do it right away. Otherwise, more serious problems will occur.

Typical Cost to Fix

If you have fluid leaking from your transmission, the typical cost to repair the leak (without taking off the transmission) is between $150 and $200. For this amount, you will get a replacement of the pan bolts, drain plugs, seals, gasket, fluid lines. However, the true cost will be determined by where the leak is actually coming from on the transmission. If the front seal is where the leak, is, then you will have to remove the transmission first. This will greatly increase the price of the repair job.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Battery in The Car

The Method for Inspection

The auto mechanic will observe where the transmission fluid leak is coming from. They will be able to tell the location based on the dripping of this fluid. Most of the time, the transmission fluid will go down a path that has the least resistance to it. If the leak is caused by a part that is loose, this part will get tightened by the mechanic. If the part is damaged or cracked, then it will be replaced. Before any of this work is done though, the mechanic will give you an estimate on how much this will all cost to perform.

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