Transmission fluid is a crucial part of your engine. The fluid helps to both get rid of heat from the engines internal parts and activate gear changes.
In most cases, it’s probably not dangerous to drive your car if it’s leaking transmission fluid. But, running your car with little to no transmission fluid can cause damage to your whole engine. Here are some things to know before you hit the road:
A transmission fluid leak can be caused by a gap in your transmission lines, or a space in the pan gasket, torque converter, fluid lines, the transmission pan, or any of the seals that holds these parts together. Loose, broken, or defective, seals tend to be a common cause of leaks, especially if they’re not properly sealed after your transmission is serviced.
The exact cause can be difficult to narrow down with an untrained eye, so it is best to have a professional technician inspect your vehicle.
As you can read about in our color diagnostics article, transmission fluid is colored green or red so it can be distinguished from other fluids in the vehicle. Usually, you’ll see a puddle of fluid under your car after it’s been sitting for several hours. If you’re not sure if the leaking substance is transmission fluid, put a piece of paper under the leak where the fluid is pooling and take it with you to your mechanic when you go in for service. A trained mechanic will usually diagnose the fluid and detect the source.
Once you notice transmission fluid in your driveway, even if it is a small amount, you should get the leak repaired as soon as possible. If left unaddressed, the problem will get worse over time, put your engine under unnecessary stress, and eventually causing your transmission to fail completely. Remember, a small problem is easier to fix than a big one so getting your car serviced in a timely manner is important.
While it is not especially dangerous to continue driving with a leaking transmission fluid, it can cause catastrophic damage to your engine. As soon as you notice your car is leaking transmission fluid, you should seek to contact a certified mechanic to have your transmission fluid serviced. The faster you get the leak fixed, the fewer problems you will have with your vehicle in the future.