5 Symptoms of Low Transmission Fluids: Automatic and Manual

The transmission uses engine power to change gears and move the vehicle in a particular direction. Every time you shift to a different gear, the transmission and engine power are allowing this to happen. This concept is the same in both automatic transmission vehicles and manual transmission vehicles. Since there are internal components which are moving all the time in the transmission, there needs to be transmission fluid in there to lubricate the components and keep them cooled and running smoothly. It is similar to how an engine needs oil for this same purpose.

A low amount of transmission fluid could result in severe driving problems in automatic and manual vehicles. You don’t want to ignore low transmission fluid levels because they can cause you to have a serious accident if you ignore them for too long.

The Top 5 Symptoms of Low Fluid Levels in Manual Transmissions

Below are the top 5 symptoms for a manual transmission with low transmission fluid levels.

1) Engagement Delay – Low transmission fluid levels will likely cause there to be a delay when you shift gears because the transmission needs fluid pressure to initiate the gear change. If there are low levels of fluid, then it will take longer for the gear change to take place.

2) Clutch Pedal Stickiness – After you press on the clutch pedal, it should return to its normal position. If it doesn’t, then you have low fluid levels. Sometimes the pedal will come back up slowly or not at all.

3) Lurching – Lurching is when your car motions forward or backward without any warning. Low fluid levels will cause movements in the transmission that are inconsistent.

4) Vibrations – It is not normal for vibrations to be felt in the gearstick when you go to switch gears. If you feel these vibrations coming, then it is an early warning sign that your transmission is losing fluid or has a low level of fluid. As time goes on, the problem will get worse if your fluid levels keep decreasing.

5) Shifting Problems – When you go to shift gears, it will become more difficult to do so if you have a low amount of fluid in the transmission. If you don’t replenish the fluid soon, the shifting may feel too fast rather than too slow and stiff. Still, this is a dangerous thing to have happen and you need to fix it soon.

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The Top 5 Symptoms of Low Fluid Levels in Automatic Transmissions

Below are the top 5 symptoms for an automatic transmission with low transmission fluid levels.

1) Trouble Shifting – The usual symptom of low transmission fluid in automatics is trouble shifting gears. This is obviously dangerous and needs to be addressed for safety purposes.

2) Dark Colored Fluid – Old transmission fluid or low amounts of fluid cause dark colors to form in your existing fluid. These will be brown or black colors instead of the regular pinkish type color.

3) Slipping – Slipping of the transmission occurs when you try to accelerate, and the car does not go faster. Low transmission fluid levels cause this.

4) Overheated Transmission – The transmission can overheat just like an engine can. Since transmission fluid keeps the transmission cool, a lack of fluid will cause it to overheat. Then it won’t be able to function properly.

5) Leaking Fluid – There may be transmission fluid leaking from the system if you have low levels of fluid. The leaks can come from transmission lines, seals, gaskets, and/or loose pans. Check these components and replace the ones that are causing the leak. Then add more fluid to the transmission.

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