Transmission fluid leakage is one of the common issues that people experience with their parked vehicles. The noticeable symptoms are a small pool of brown, green, and red fluid droppings underneath the cars. These stains are a sign that the transmission fluid is experiencing leakage. And you have to rectify the leakage caused in your vehicle immediately.
You might have to spend a considerable amount of money if you see anything dropping beneath your vehicle.
The expense will not just be for fixing the car but also for coloring your property’s driveways and garage floor.
You should go for immediate maintenance and service for a quick fix regardless of when you noticed the transmission fluid leakage. Immediate action will ensure that your vehicle will overcome the condition in a short period and will run smoothly.
Car owners should take the responsibility to fix the leaks within time and get the fluid replaced at a moderate cost. The owners should also keep track of the transmission fluid and refill it whenever necessary.
The fluid needs to be at a specific level for a vehicle to function seamlessly! But due to leakage, these levels drop, and the vehicle experiences multiple problems. So, if you are unaware of the reasons behind transmission fluid leak when parked, this article will help you with a brief understanding of the same!
Transmission Fluid Leak When Parked [Major Reasons]
Transmission fluid leaks can occur when your car is parked due to a variety of issues, such as a damaged seal or gasket, a crack in the transmission housing, or a malfunctioning transmission cooler. It is important to have a mechanic diagnose and repair the leak to prevent further damage to your vehicle.
What Causes Transmission Fluid Leak When Parked
This is common when you have parked your car for quite some time in your garage and then decide to take it for a spin. When you return, you will notice some drops of transmission fluid on your garage floors, disturbing your mind about what might be the cause.
You would hurry to the nearest service center and get the vehicle diagnosed. The transmission is a complex mechanism of a vehicle and experiences damage due to heat friction. Due to this leakage, the transmission might shift harder over time.
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An excellent routine checkup for the car involves a check over transmission fluid. If there is a drop in the minimum levels after any recent refill, leakage is possible. This might be either a minor or significant case, depending upon the severity of the leakage.
When parked, the possible reason for transmission fluid leaks can be as follows:
#1 Worn Transmission Pan
The most common issue that might lead your vehicle to experience transmission fluid leaks is a worn-out transmission pan. The damage of this pan might not be the mandatory cause, as the improper placement might also be a cause.
With constant use and less service, the transmission fluid pan will have holes and lose some bolts. Various elements can trigger the damage of the pan and can cause leakage issues.
Therefore, when you take your car with the suspect to transmit fluid leakage to a garage, they will first check the transmission pan.
#2 Drain Plug
A loosely fixed drain plug might indicate a reason for triggering the transmission fluid leak.
Moreover, if the drain plug gets over-tightened, the thread might strip away and cause heavy leakage. It should also be a prime inspection point while diagnosing the transmission fluid leakage problem.
#3 Damaged Seals
If your car has an automatic transmission, then there is sustained hydraulic pressure across several transmission seals in it. Due to prolonged heat exposure, the leaks might occur due to cracks over these seals.
The input & output shafts might have damaged seals. These are critical parts that need immediate repair or replacement for seamless functioning. You should inspect the other places are the speedometer input, tail housing, and shifter housing seal.
To ensure a complete repair or fix, you should also check the sensors and driveshaft. You should know to be sure that your technician is inspecting all possible loopholes that might have caused transmission fluid leakage.
#4 Broken Transmission Pan Gasket
Some cars come with poorly manufactured gaskets from their stock factories. As a result, they become more susceptible to heat. Apart from that, the technicians might also have missed out on aligning the gasket accurately during final installations.
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Hence, these problems might be the prime cause of leakages, and the need arises for contacting an automobile mechanic. Frequent heat exposure is the prime cause of damaging the gasket. Therefore, this problem needs quick action from the owners.
Neglecting the symptoms and avoiding the repair costs might lead the vehicle to more expensive breakdowns. So, count on instructing your service expert to look at it if he misses out on this aspect.
#5 Cracked Fluid Line
The fluid lines are made of steel or aluminum, making them long-lasting. But even with the robust materials, if exposure to heat & debris is regular, it can cause a crack in the fluid lines. For the worst, some instances can also break those lines!
As the fluid lines are broken, there is a high possibility of a transmission fluid leak, whether the car is parked or not! If it goes unnoticed, the car might come to a complete halt after a few miles of running.
#6 Leakage from the Torque Converter
The purpose of a torque converter is to properly transport the transmission fluid to the system and trigger its functionality. As a result, this flow of fluid smoothens the gear shifting and engagement. Even a slight crack in the torque converter’s body can leak.
If your torque converter comes with bad needle bearings, it can trigger a leakage. Therefore, you should talk to your mechanic and replace your torque converter to eliminate the issue.
Using an inefficient torque converter or the one that has experienced damage will eventually cost you a lot of money in the long run! So, counting on inspecting and its periodic changing is problematic.
Signs or Symptoms of Leaking Transmission Fluid
Several signs and symptoms indicate that your vehicle is going through a transmission fluid leakage. You need to be observant while driving your car or any vehicle to notice these changes and fluctuations. Therefore, here is a description of all possible adversities that your vehicle will indicate due to the fluid leakage problem:
#1 Diminished Acceleration
The transmission power of the car is what pushes the engine to boost the speed and torque. If the fluid is below the required levels, sufficient lubrication won’t reach the transmission mechanism. As a result, the vehicle will deliver slower accelerations.
When the fluid reaches a low level, you will start experiencing problems even shifting the gears. Hence, that delay will cause the car’s acceleration to decrease. You will notice this right when you press the throttle hard, but your car won’t respond.
#2 Gear Grinding Problem
Grinding gears are evident when the transmission filters are clogged or damaged. But this is also a prominent symptom of transmission fluid leakage. If there is less lubrication between the gears while it engages to higher and lower levels, there will be a grinding sound with every shift.
If you experience this sound or feel any irregularity or hardness in shifting gears, you should take it for immediate repairs. Count on diagnosing the leakage root, fixing it, and refilling the transmission fluid to the maximum level for eliminating this sign.
#3 Irregular Heating within Transmission Mechanism
The transmission system will emit excessive heat due to fluid leakage or other significant problems within the car. If you are experiencing such instances, you should know that this is an abnormal sign and must be fixed!
So, you should react immediately upon realizing it right after realizing it! Avoiding or neglecting this symptom might cause the vehicle to break down completely over a while. You cannot physically feel the heat of the transmission system unless you go beneath the car, but you can keep an eye on the heat gauge on your dashboard.
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If the heat gauge increases rapidly after a short drive, your vehicle has some problems. Apart from that, if you are experiencing any burnt smell that feels strange to you, you must fix the problem as soon as possible.
#4 Strange Vibrations Within The Cabin
While the transmission fluid is running low, you will soon notice some vibrations while engaging or shifting gears. These vibrations will be strong enough to get you worried about your vehicle! If this happens multiple times, you can assume that the transmission fluid leaks and the acceleration might decrease soon.
You might also hear some clunking sound from the transmission module with vibrations. If this is the sign, you should not drive that car one more day without fixing the problem. It is not safe for drivers and passengers to drive a car with such a sign! It might be a safety hazard for all!
How to Prevent Transmission Fluid Leaks?
If you haven’t experienced transmission fluid leakage problems with your vehicle, it is better to get prevention advice at first. So, before you begin fixing people’s leakage systems and solving their issues, it’s better to caution them with preventive measures to avoid leaks in the first place. So below mentioned are a few tips for preventing transmission fluid leaks:
- Try & inspect the transmission fluid from time to time. You should ensure that the levels meet the required specifications.
- Make use of a dip-stick to check if the car is parked at a flat level.
- Respond to any unusual transmission behavior while you are driving your car.
- Keep an eye on the signs and symptoms, get the car inspected to determine the root of leakage, get it fixed and refill the lost transmission fluid.
How To Fix Transmission Leak?
Moving on to the final stage of this guide, you will learn how the transmission fluid leaks can be fixed. You can follow the below steps to seek repairs for the leakage. The steps are as follows:
- Identify the Symptoms- As stated above, many signs and symptoms indicate the leakage problem. Keep them in mind, and identify the symptoms anytime they occur! The earlier you realize the problem, the faster you can rectify it.
- Determine Cause of Leakage with the help of Inspection Engineers- The possible reasons that trigger the transmission fluid leakage are mentioned above. Take the help of the inspection engineers at the service centers to look for the root cause of leakage in your vehicle. Determining the cause takes time, while the repair solutions are quick!
- Fluid Drainage- The technician will drain the fluid entirely by jacking up the car and unplugging the drain plug. It is an easy process, but you should leave the job to technicians as you don’t want to make it messy.
The repair depends upon the cause of transmission fluid leakage. But in general, the primary repair problems that all vehicles approach the technician with are:
- Replacement of the Fluid Lines- You should get a new rubber hose and replace it with the leaking hose. The new replacement hose will withstand high temperature and pressure, which occurs due to the circulation of the transmission fluid.
- Replacement of the Pan- The technicians recommend a complete replacement when the transmission pan is damaged. If the service center has auto parts, you can get it quickly. All it takes is unfastening and fastening the bolts for technicians to replace old parts and install the new ones.
- Replacement of the Transmission Pan Gasket- If the error is in the gasket, the technicians will drain the fluid and take out the pan. The gasket lining over the pans will be replaced, and the bolts will be tightened again.
After the repairs, the transmission fluid will be refilled, and open valves will be closed. You will need a CVT or ATF fluid to enhance optimal performance in vehicle transmissions. Take suggestions from your mechanic on which fluid would work best for your vehicle.
How Serious Is A Transmission Fluid Leak?
Transmission fluid leaks are common problems and might not cause trouble if you seek immediate repair. But if it goes unnoticed, then the problems might deteriorate the overall efficiency of the vehicle’s transmission system.
The car will not drive optimally, and you might get stuck anytime in the middle of your journey. Therefore, if you notice the leak symptoms or signs, solve the problem immediately.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Transmission Fluid Leak?
The cost is entirely decided upon the cause and severity of transmission fluid leakage. The average repair cost for transmission leakage, irrespective of the cause, ranges between $100 and $200. This cost includes the replacement expenses for pan bolts, fluid lines, drain plugs, gaskets, seals, and other necessary parts.
Where Does Transmission Fluid Usually Leak?
The most common places for the transmission fluid to leak are the transmission pan gasket, more incredible lines, and seals. Therefore, the mechanics will primarily inspect these three areas at first!
Is It Safe To Drive A Car With A Transmission Leak?
No, it is not safe for you to drive a car with potential transmission fluid leakage! The excessive loss of this fluid might jam the gears in the middle of a drive and damage the engine to catastrophic levels. As a result, it might also cause severe accidents while shifting car gears at high speeds. So, you shouldn’t drive a car with transmission fluid leakage.
Even if it doesn’t harm you physically, the engine is what will take the significant blow! The transmission leakage will increase and drain all of the fluid at one point in time. As a result, there will be no fluid left to lubricate the gear mechanism. As a result, the metal parts will have a rough interaction. The vibration, friction, and heat will eventually wear out the transmission mechanism. The cost of repair will be humongous!
Can Leaking Transmission Fluid Cause A Fire?
Yes, the transmission fluid can start a fire if the leaks reach your engine. It is an improbable scenario but still a possibility. So, take no light measures while you realize the leakage symptoms!
Now that you are aware of the causes, preventive measures, and fixing practices of transmission fluid leak when parked, you will eventually be able to take better care of your vehicle. The transmission mechanism of a car is a very crucial part of the smooth functioning of a vehicle engine and wheels.
This system needs a sufficient flow of transmission fluid to function optimally. But there might be scenarios when you notice stains of lubricants or fluid on your garage floors or parking spots where you left your vehicle for a long time.
If the leakage persists, it will eventually drop down the transmission fluid levels in the car. As a result, the situation will deteriorate the transmission mechanism. Therefore, avoid delays in inspection and repair of your car when you observe such fluid stains. Get it fixed with immediate effect!