What Are The Symptoms Of Low Transmission Fluid?

For the smooth operation of the vehicle when you are driving, every single component has to be in perfect condition.

For instance, the fluids such as the engine oil and the transmission fluid need to be at a particular level.

If not, the vehicle will develop complications and might not be able to move as smoothly as you wish it to. This may also lead to damage to the components in which those fluids are to be effective.

For the transmission fluid, its main roles are lubricating, cooling, and cleansing the vehicle’s transmission systems, and this guarantees optimal performance.

When reading this article you might be asking yourself “What are the symptoms of low transmission fluid?”

You could easily tell that your vehicle transmission fluid has dropped below its required level by looking out for any of the following signs:

  1. Slipping Of The Transmission Of The Vehicle Whenever You Shift Gears
  2. Heating Of The Transmission Beyond A Specific Level Of Temperature
  3. Delay Of The Reaction Of The Vehicle During Gear Engagement
  4. Shifting Of The Gears Appears To Be Irregular Or Abnormal
  5. When The Vehicle Is Unable To Shift Gears Completely
  6. Failing Of The Transmission Of The Vehicle
  7. Abnormal Noises From The Transmission System
  8. Leakages Of The Transmission System Of The Vehicle
  9. A Warning Light

For the best experience when you are driving your vehicle, the transmission system has to be in excellent condition.

This is because driving comprises changing of gears all through when you are on the road so that the vehicle shifts within constant speeds-and this is facilitated with the transmission whose performance is guaranteed by transmission fluid in sufficient amounts and in excellent condition.

You will also have to inspect the color of the transmission fluid, as a particular color will require replacing the one in the system.

This demands that you check your transmission fluid and fill it up whenever necessary.

What Happens If You Drive With Low Transmission Fluid?

When driving your vehicle, you will also be able to detect a low transmission fluid issue which might be obvious through the following signs:

  1. Erratic noises when you are shifting in between gears.
  2. Burning of the transmission of the vehicle you should notice this when smoke comes out of the vehicle, and you can sense a burning smell from the transmission fluid.
  3. Leaking of the transmission fluid from the transmission system this occurs mainly when you are driving the vehicle; it may not be noticed when the vehicle is stationary.
  4. Slipping of the gears which occurs when you use the shifter to set a specific gear but it slips to the former gear on its own.

What Causes Low Transmission Fluid?

When you realize that your vehicle has a low transmission fluid, it is wise that you check what might be causing that-especially when you just refilled it a few days ago.

The following are the major causes of low transmission fluid in vehicles:

  1. A hole within the transmission line of the vehicle through which the fluid may be lost through.
  2. Leakages on the transmission system of the vehicle.
  3. Wearing out of the transmission fluid when used for a fairly long period, like when it evaporates while cooling the transmission system.
  4. When you did not add sufficient amounts of the transmission fluid in the first place.

3 Noise Of Low Transmission Fluid (If You Hear the Sound then That’s the Issue!)

As indicated above, there might be noises produced from your vehicle when there is an issue with either of the systems that are needed for it to work smoothly.

There are different types of noises that will be produced by your vehicle, where each of them will indicate a different issue with the transmission of the vehicle.

The following are the types of noises that will show an issue with the transmission:

1. Whining

Whining occurs mainly when you are reversing the vehicle, and it will show clogging of the transmission fluid in the system.

It may also indicate a severe complication that may be caused when you postpone correcting any of the issues on the transmission fluid that you may detect.

If the whining persists, the torque converter might experience difficulties when working.

2. Grinding

A grinding noise produced from a vehicle with an automatic transmission will indicate an issue with the planetary gear system.

Immediate repair of this component will be ideal to avoid further damage to the other parts of the transmission of the vehicle.

3. Gurgling

Gurgling noise will be produced due to a low transmission fluid situation.

This is when you ignore filling your transmission fluid, which is needed to be done regularly because the one in place drops in quantity when using the vehicle.

The gurgling will be as a result of too much air within the transmission line of the vehicle.

9 Signs Of Low Transmission Fluid {Let’s Dive Into It!}

The following are the discussion of the signs that will indicate that your transmission fluid needs refilling:

1. Slipping Of The Transmission Of The Vehicle Whenever You Shift Gears

When driving and you shift from one gear to another, and then you realize that the vehicle reverts to the former gear, then the issue might just be low transmission fluid.

The fluid in place might not be able to deliver what is demanded of it to hold the gear that you select.

2. Heating Of The Transmission Beyond A Specific Level Of Temperature

When you notice erratic shifts from the transmission of the vehicle, they might be accompanied by overheating of the transmission.

You will be able to notice smoke coming from the vehicle as well burning smell if you are keen enough.

This might be caused by excessive levels of friction that a low transmission fluid might not be able to control.

3. Delay Of The Reaction Of The Vehicle During Gear Engagement

In severe cases, low transmission fluid will cause a delay in the engagement of the gears whenever you shift from one to another.

For instance, you may want to shift from a forward gear to reverse, but this will be delayed.

This will be caused by the low transmission fluid that will not be able to develop adequate hydraulic pressure to achieve this.

4. Shifting Of The Gears Appears To Be Irregular Or Abnormal

This occurs when you have ignored most of the signs that indicate that your transmission fluid is low.

You will notice an unusual response from the vehicle’s transmission system whenever you are driving.

5. When The Vehicle Is Unable To Shift Gears Completely

This is a sign that will show that your transmission fluid is significantly low that no hydraulic pressure can be generated by the transmission.

At this point, components of the transmission would need to be checked for damages because of operating for long periods without sufficient transmission fluid.

6. Failing Of The Transmission Of The Vehicle

This occurs when you postpone refilling the transmission fluid or changing it after the one in place has been found not to be in excellent condition.

7. Abnormal Noises From The Transmission System

You might have noticed that your transmission system makes less noise or none at all when it is in perfect working condition.

However, errors caused by low transmission fluid will alter the functioning of the components, and this will lead to the production of erratic noises when the transmission is operating in the vehicle.

8. Leakages Of The Transmission System Of The Vehicle

When you take time and inspect all through the transmission component of the vehicle and notice signs of leakage, then obviously the level of the transmission fluid will be low.

At this point, you will have to repair the source of the leakage before refilling the transmission fluid.

9. A Warning Light

This is a rather straightforward indication for low transmission fluid as it is just there on the dashboard of the vehicle.

It is referred to as the “check engine light.” You should check the level of the transmission fluid as well as any other components, such as the vehicle’s engine.

What Should You Do If Your Transmission Fluid Is Low?

The transmission system of a vehicle is sealed, and the fluid may only get significantly low due to issues such as leakages.

Therefore, the first thing that you should do when you check the transmission fluid and find that it is low is to inspect the system itself.

If you notice a leakage, get it repaired and then fill the transmission fluid to enjoy the normal performance of the vehicle’s transmission.

Here’s the article on how much will transmission fluid replacement cost.

Is There A Warning Light For Low Transmission Fluid?

Yes, there is a warning light that you should spot on the dashboard that will show that your transmission fluid is low.

The warning light will also show that the transmission fluid is hotter than it normally is, and this is an issue that will require your attention.

Conclusion

All in all, you should be able to tell when your transmission fluid is low through any of the above signs.

Whenever you confirm that you can refill it through a series of steps so that you are able to enjoy a smooth experience driving your vehicle.

As the transmission will deliver the optimum performance needed for this.

Sources:

1. Toyota of Clermont – https://www.toyotaofclermont.com/blog/6-signs-your-transmission-fluid-is-low/
2. Crown Transmission – https://www.crowntransmissions.com/5-signs-of-low-transmission-fluid/

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

Changing transmission oil and learn how to do it the right way

How To Change Transmission Fluid

Why my transmission is acting up and needs to know the reasons

Signs Of A Bad Transmission