Northwest Metro Denver

3686 W. 72nd Ave
Westminster, CO 80030
8AM – 5:30PM Mon-Fri

(303) 421-4140

(303) 421-4140

Southwest Metro Denver

SE Corner Mississippi & Pierce
1194 S. Pierce
Lakewood CO 80232
8AM – 5:30PM Mon-Fri

(303) 922-4102

(303) 922-4102

Lakewood 303-922-4102

Westminster 303-422-4140

Fix Common Transmission Fluid Problems Before They Escalate


Transmission fluid plays a pivotal role in ensuring your vehicle’s transmission operates smoothly. This vital fluid facilitates the transmission’s various functions, from gear lubrication to maintaining hydraulic pressure and cooling the transmission system. Unfortunately, issues with transmission fluid can lead to significant problems if not addressed timely. In this article, we’ll explore the common issues associated with transmission fluid and provide actionable advice on how to tackle these problems effectively, thus ensuring your vehicle remains in top condition.

Identifying Transmission Fluid Problems

Transmission fluid issues can be elusive but have telltale signs that indicate something is amiss. Early detection is crucial to preventing more extensive and costly damage. Common indicators include difficulty in shifting gears, unusual noises during gear shifts, slipping of the transmission, and transmission overheating. Regular checks of your transmission fluid’s level, color, and smell can provide early warnings of potential issues.

Symptoms of Bad Transmission Fluid

Understanding the Signs

Bad transmission fluid is often discernible through visual, olfactory, and performance-related symptoms. If your transmission fluid is dark and opaque instead of its normal translucent bright red color, it could indicate contamination or aging. A burnt smell from your transmission fluid is a red flag that your transmission is overheating and needs to be inspected. Performance symptoms include delayed or erratic shifting, unexpected surges, and the transmission slipping when shifting between gears.

Effects of Old or Contaminated Transmission Fluid

Old or contaminated transmission fluid significantly impairs vehicle performance. It can cause the transmission to overheat, and since it’s no longer able to lubricate effectively, it can lead to increased friction and wear within the transmission. This ultimately shortens the life of the transmission and can lead to expensive repairs or replacement.

Dealing With Transmission Fluid Leaks

Identifying the source of a transmission fluid leak involves checking for signs of fluid on the ground under your vehicle, especially after it has been parked overnight. You might hear someone suggest to use leak-sealing products but these are not long-term solutions and can cause internal transmission damage. Permanent solutions require mechanical repairs, such as replacing worn seals or gaskets. Professional help is recommended when dealing with persistent leaks to ensure the problem is thoroughly resolved.

Flushing Contaminated Transmission Fluid

The Process of Flushing

Flushing contaminated transmission fluid involves removing all old fluid from the system and replacing it with new fluid. This process can help restore the efficiency of your transmission. While DIY kits are available, professional flushing services ensure that the entire system is cleaned properly, including areas that DIY kits might miss. As your vehicle gets older and has more miles on it, using a power flush machine on the transmission may be too harsh and can cause internal transmission damage. Ask your transmission specialists what type of service they recommend for your vehicle’ best performance.

Preventing Fluid Contamination

To prevent future contamination, regularly check and change your transmission fluid according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Using high-quality fluid and ensuring that your transmission is serviced regularly can also help maintain the integrity of your transmission fluid.

Managing Repair Costs and Services

Estimating Repair Costs

Working with a transmission specialty shop is always recommended. While it is often difficult to give an accurate estimate before inspecting your vehicle, a transmission specialist can give you a good idea of what could be involved in your repair. Understanding the scope of necessary repairs and the parts involved can help you budget more effectively.

Choosing a Repair Service

Look for a repair service that specializes in transmission issues and has good reviews. Important questions to ask include details about warranties on work performed, the estimated time for repairs, and the type of parts used (new vs. refurbished). Be wary of extremely low quotes that may indicate substandard service.

Prevention and Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance of your transmission fluid can prevent many common problems. This includes routine checks, fluid changes according to your vehicle’s service schedule, and avoiding harsh driving conditions when possible. Regular maintenance not only extends the life of your transmission but also enhances overall vehicle performance.


The health of your transmission fluid is integral to the performance and longevity of your vehicle’s transmission. Addressing issues early, staying informed about the symptoms of bad transmission fluid, and taking preventative measures can save you from costly repairs down the line.

If you suspect your vehicle might be facing transmission fluid issues, consult a professional immediately. For more information on maintaining your vehicle and ensuring optimal performance, continue exploring our resources.

Owner at Advanced Transmission Center | Website | + posts

Advanced Transmission Center is a Colorado-owned and operated auto repair shop with locations in Denver / Lakewood and Westminster. ATC specializes in driveline issues such as automatic transmission repair, four wheel drive repair, clutch replacement, differentials, manual transmissions and CVT. As Colorado's first AAA approved shop our goal is to provide accurate, timely service with exceptional customer satisfaction. All of our technicians are certified in the latest makes and models and we are one of the few transmission repair shops with a nationwide warranty.

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Free towing is just one of the ways we strive to save you money on a major in-house repair such as a transmission rebuild. With our thorough TrueTest™ Inspection process, you will fully understand what is wrong with your car and only pay for the repairs you need.
Every transmission repair should start with a thorough and accurate diagnosis of the problem. Our multi-step TrueTest inspection procedures have been designed over decades to identify whether a minor repair can fix your issue or if a major repair is required.
We can turn around a transmission repair in as little as 2 days with our fast services! Our in-house rebuild department, expert technicians and strong vendor relationships help us get vehicles fixed ASAP. It also helps to have two local repair shops with identical operating procedures and quality standards.
After a major repair, you can take a breath and know Advanced Transmission Center has your back! We offer various warranty options (1-year, 2-year, 3-year, local or nationwide) and make sure any warranty claim is hassle-free for our customers.

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