Transmission is one of the critical components of your vehicle that is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels, letting your car move smoothly. Many drivers, when experiencing a transmission leak, wonder whether it is safe to continue driving.
Below, Al Zaabi Autocare will answer your concerns by highlighting potential risks associated with driving while a transmission is leaking and educate about how you can avoid it.
Understand Transmission Leaks
Transmission fluid is a type of lubricant used in vehicles with automatic transmissions to help keep the transmission components cool and lubricated. It is typically made of base oil and a combination of additives that help to improve its properties, such as viscosity, resistance to oxidation, and wear protection.
Transmission fluid is essential for the proper operation of the transmission as it helps to transfer power from the engine to the wheels by enabling the smooth shifting of gears. It also helps to prevent overheating and damage to the transmission components by providing a protective barrier between the metal parts.
The type of transmission fluid required for a vehicle varies depending on the make and model. It is important to use the recommended type and amount of transmission fluid specified by the manufacturer to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage to the transmission.
Detect If It Really a Transmission Leak
It can be difficult to determine if you have a transmission leak. Here are some signs that can help you identify whether it’s really a transmission leak:
- Fluid Color – Transmission fluid is usually a bright red colour, but it can also be pink, brown, or black. If you notice fluid on the ground under your vehicle or on your driveway, check the colour. If it’s red or pink, it’s likely transmission fluid.
- Fluid Location – Transmission fluid leaking often occurs near the front or middle of the vehicle, near the transmission or transmission pan. Check the underside of your vehicle for signs of fluid near these areas.
- Burning Smell – A burning smell coming from your vehicle can be a sign of a transmission fluid leak. If the fluid leaks onto the hot transmission components, it can create a burning odour.
- Shifting Issues – If your vehicle is having trouble shifting gears or is slipping or jerking when shifting, it could be a sign of a low fluid level due to a leak.
- Transmission Warning Light – Some vehicles have a warning light on the dashboard that indicates low transmission fluid levels. If this light comes on, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a professional.
Still, not sure if the leaking substance is a transmission fluid. Grab a piece of paper, put it under the leak source and take that paper to a car mechanic, who will usually diagnose the fluid type and detect the origin of the leak.
Is It Safe to Drive with a Transmission Leak?
It is not recommended to drive your vehicle when the transmission is leaking. If you experience a transmission leak problem, this means it’s time to take your vehicle to the auto repair shop to address this problem quickly. Otherwise, it can lead to other damages, including the following:
Transmission fluid has an important role in regulating the temperature of transmission. However, a leak can cause low fluid levels. When there is insufficient transmission fluid, the remaining fluid may overheat due to increased friction, leading to damage to the transmission and other components.
Transmission fluid is essential for lubricating the transmission components, including the gears and bearings. If the fluid is leaking, there may not be enough lubrication to properly protect the transmission parts, leading to increased rubbing and wear.
Moreover, it can result in compromised transmission performance and, in some cases, complete failure.
If the transmission fluid level becomes too low, the transmission may start to slip or hesitate when shifting gears. This can cause poor acceleration, reduced power, and other driving issues.
In severe cases, continued driving with a low transmission fluid level or a significant leak can cause the transmission to fail. This can result in costly repairs or the need for a complete transmission replacement.
Compromised Performance and Fuel Efficiency
If the leaking transmission issue is overlooked, it can result in reduced performance and fuel efficiency of your vehicle, which can lead to increased fuel costs over time.
How to Avoid Transmission Leak?
Usually, a transmission leak occurs when there is a gap in your transmission; however, it can also be caused by multiple other things. Some of them are given below, which you must know and get fixed as soon as possible to prevent transmission leaks.
Loose or Damaged Transmission Pan
The transmission pan is located at the bottom of the transmission and is responsible for holding the transmission fluid. The pan can become damaged or develop a loose gasket over time, causing transmission fluid to leak out.
If the pan is not tightened properly, it can cause the gasket to become loose and cause a leak. The pan can also become damaged due to road debris or collisions, leading to a leak.
The seals around the transmission components can wear down over time, leading to leaks. The seals can be damaged due to age, heat, or exposure to harsh chemicals. When the seals become damaged, the transmission fluid can leak out.
Faulty Transmission Cooler Lines
The lines that carry transmission fluid between the transmission and the cooler can become damaged or loose, causing a leak. The transmission cooler lines are responsible for carrying the fluid from the transmission to the cooler and back. If the lines become damaged or loose, it can cause transmission fluid to leak out.
Overheating of the transmission can cause seals and gaskets to become brittle and crack, leading to a leak. The transmission can overheat due to several reasons, including towing heavy loads, stop-and-go driving, and racing.
Wear and Tear
Like any other mechanical component, the transmission can experience wear and tear over time, leading to leaks. The internal components of the transmission can become worn due to normal use, causing seals and gaskets to become damaged and leading to a leak.
Al Zaabi Autocare professional transmission leak expert can accurately diagnose the cause of the leak and determine the best course of action for repairing it. They have the knowledge and experience to identify the type of transmission fluid leaking and the location of the leak, which can be difficult for an untrained individual to do.