Your transmission fluid is one of the most important liquids under the hood, since it is what powers your transmission to actually change the gears of your engine. Over time, like most car fluids, your transmission fluid can become dirty and clogged with grease and other contaminants. This can negatively affect the performance of your vehicle. Understanding some of the signs associated with dirty transmission fluid can help you identify when you need to have it replaced by a local auto repair service shop.
Loud and Irregular Noises
One of the first indications that there is something wrong with your transmission fluid is if you can hear noises coming from your engine, especially grinding and squealing noises that occur when changing gears. This can point to improper lubrication of your transmission, which can cause excessive wear to the gears. This can quickly turn into additional mechanical problems. Flushing and replacing your transmission fluid can prevent such wear from happening. Keep in mind that a transmission fluid leak can also be the cause of odd noises while driving, so be sure to have a professional inspection of your system to see if you need to replace any leaking hoses or other components.
Gear Slipping and Speed Changes
Another common sign of dirty transmission fluid that is no longer able to properly do its job is if you notice that your gears are constantly slipping while you are driving. Dirt in the transmission fluid can mean that an uneven amount of pressure is exerted by your transmission. This can cause your engine to suddenly slip out of gear while travelling at an otherwise steady speed, and can also cause your vehicle to jump forwards or suddenly slow down. This is a serious safety concern, of course, since a surging or lagging vehicle on a crowded road can greatly increase the chance of experiencing a collision, so you should have your transmission fluid flushed and replaced straight away.
Delays and Clunky Shifting
Finally, the last major warning sign associated with dirty transmission fluid is if you find yourself struggling to shift gears. In automatic transmissions, this can take the form of your vehicle seemingly lagging for several seconds before the transmission kicks the new gear into place, whereas you may have to exert more physical pressure to get a manual transmission to do the same. In either case, this will result in your vehicle being much less responsive on the road, which is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly.