Your vehicle cannot perform properly without transmission fluid because it lubricates the surfaces and components of the transmission system so they don’t wear out too quickly. Transmission fluid is supposed to remain in your vehicle for its entire lifespan without changing it, although mechanics will tell you that you should change this fluid every 50,000 miles. Sometimes frequent flushes of the transmission fluid are recommended too. To find out what you need for your vehicle, talk with a licensed mechanic about it. You should definitely talk with them if you notice any of the symptoms described below. These symptoms mean that it’s time to change the transmission fluid.
Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms
If fluid leaks from the transmission because of a worn out or damaged component, then your fluid level will be lower. As a result, any of the following symptoms will be present as you drive your vehicle with low transmission fluid.
1) Engagement is Delayed
With low transmission fluid in your vehicle, you will have a temporary delay after you move your gear stick to reverse or drive. The reason being is that the gear change cannot be activated immediately if there is little transmission fluid pressure. The time you’ll have to wait for the gear to activate is usually around 2 or 3 seconds. This should be enough time for you to dwell in your mind over the cause of the delay, which is low transmission fluid.
2) Trouble Shifting Gears
Manual and automatic transmission vehicles both must have transmission fluid that is clean and able to flow freely inside of your transmission. If there is a lot of dirt or residue in the transmission, then its response will be very laggy and sluggish. Once that starts happening, your gear shifting will cause the gears to change too fast or too slow as you’re driving the vehicle. If you are driving a car with a manual transmission, it could be extremely difficult for the gears to change at all.
3) Erratic or Difficult Shifts
Erratic shifts describe when shifts happen too late or too soon. These shifts will occur when you have low transmission fluid. You may even hear banging sounds happening on the gear too. To change gears with an automatic transmission, the hydraulic pressure must be perfect. If you don’t have an adequate amount of automatic transmission fluid, then the smoothness and timing of your shifts will be off.
4) Gear Slippage
Low Transmission fluid could reduce your hydraulic power. If you don’t have enough hydraulic power, you won’t be able to remain with the current gear that you have selected. A dirty transmission could be the reason why the transmission fluid flow is bad. If you don’t experience any other kinds of problems with the transmission and you have all your transmission fluid in there, then the flow of the transmission fluid must be blocked or restricted from contaminants and residue buildup.
5) Transmission Becomes Overheated
The transmission is cooled by the automatic transmission fluid. If you don’t have a normal level of this fluid, then your transmission will overheat fast. You will notice it is overheated when you have erratic shifts, delayed shifts, power loss, gear slippage, burning smells, or smokiness. If you notice any of these, pull your car off the road and let everything cool for a while. If the temperatures get to be over 240°F, then you may have serious damage internally.