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Is a Transmission Tune up Necessary for My Cars Performance?

Is a Transmission Tune up Necessary for a Cars Performance - Gearstar

A vehicle’s transmission is a vital component that helps ensure smooth operation and efficient power delivery. It is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the wheels, allowing a vehicle to move. Regular transmission maintenance is essential to ensure that it continues to operate smoothly and efficiently. One of the essential aspects of transmission maintenance is transmission tune-up. Read on for why it is crucial to the longevity and performance of a vehicle.

What Is a Transmission Tune-Up?

A transmission tune-up is a comprehensive maintenance service that involves a range of tasks designed to improve the performance and longevity of a vehicle’s transmission. A transmission tune-up typically involves several different components, including a fluid change, filter replacement, and adjustment of the transmission bands. Some transmission tune-ups may include additional services, such as a visual inspection of the transmission for leaks or damage and an inspection of the transmission pan gasket, fluid lines, and other components.

Other Components of a Transmission Tune-Up

In addition to a fluid change and filter replacement, a transmission tune-up may involve additional components to ensure the transmission performs at its best. Here are some other essential components that may be included in a transmission tune-up:

  1. Visual Inspection: A visual inspection of the transmission is integral to a transmission tune-up. A qualified mechanic will visually inspect the transmission for any signs of damage or leaks. They will also check the condition of the transmission fluid, which can reveal a lot about the condition of the transmission. A visual inspection can help catch any potential issues early, which can help prevent more expensive repairs down the line.
  2. Adjustment of Transmission Bands: Over time, the bands that control the transmission’s shifting can become loose or misaligned. Adjusting the transmission bands can help improve the smoothness and accuracy of the shifting. This is an essential component of a transmission tune-up because poorly adjusted bands can cause the transmission to slip or shift incorrectly.
  3. Inspection of Transmission Pan Gasket: The gasket that seals the transmission pan to the transmission body can become worn or damaged over time. Inspecting the transmission pan gasket is a vital part of a transmission tune-up because a damaged gasket can cause fluid leaks. If the fluid leaks out, it can cause the transmission to overheat or fail.
  4. Inspection of Fluid Lines: The fluid lines carry the transmission fluid to and from the transmission. Over time, these lines can become corroded, leading to leaks or other issues. Inspecting the fluid lines can help identify any issues early and prevent more pricey repairs.
  5. Cleaning of the Transmission: Over time, the transmission can accumulate debris and other contaminants. Cleaning the transmission can help remove these contaminants, improving the transmission’s performance and longevity.
  6. Replacement of Torque Converter: In some cases, the torque converter replacement might be necessary. The torque converter is an essential transmission component that helps transfer power from the engine to the transmission. If the torque converter is damaged or not working correctly, it can cause the transmission to slip or shift incorrectly. Ensure that the torque converter replacement is suitable for your transmission. For example, a 4L70/65E transmission would require a 10in Lock Up Converter.
  7. Replacement of Clutch: If your vehicle has a manual transmission, replacing the clutch might be necessary. The clutch is a critical component that allows you to engage and disengage the transmission from the engine. If the clutch is damaged or worn, it can cause the transmission to slip or shift incorrectly.

Why Is a Transmission Tune-Up Necessary?

A transmission tune-up is essential to the proper operation and longevity of a vehicle’s transmission. Over time, the transmission fluid can become contaminated with debris and worn-out particles, which can cause damage to the transmission components. The transmission filter is designed to remove these contaminants but can become clogged and inefficient over time. A transmission tune-up replaces the old, contaminated fluid with fresh fluid and replaces the transmission filter, which helps to prevent damage to the transmission components.


There are several benefits to having a transmission tune-up performed on your vehicle. Here are some of the most significant benefits:

  1. Improved Performance: A transmission tune-up can help improve your vehicle’s performance by ensuring that the transmission operates smoothly and efficiently. The fresh fluid and new filter can help reduce friction within the transmission, which can help improve fuel efficiency and power delivery.
  2. Extended Life of the Transmission: Regular transmission maintenance can help extend the life of your vehicle’s transmission. By replacing the old, contaminated fluid with fresh fluid and replacing the filter, you can help prevent damage to the transmission components.
  3. Reduced Risk of Transmission Failure: A transmission failure can be an inconvenient repair for any vehicle owner. By performing regular transmission maintenance, including a transmission tune-up, you can reduce the risk of transmission failure, which can help prevent expensive repairs and downtime.
  4. Improved Fuel Efficiency: A transmission tune-up can also help improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. By ensuring that the transmission operates smoothly and efficiently, you can help reduce the power lost due to friction within the transmission, improving fuel efficiency and saving you money on gas.

When Should You Get One?

The frequency of transmission tune-ups will depend on several factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the driving conditions, and the mileage. As a general rule, it is recommended to have one performed every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you regularly tow heavy loads or drive in stop-and-go traffic, you may need to have one performed more frequently.

Some signs may indicate that it is time for a transmission tune-up. If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to have your transmission serviced:

  1. Slipping Gears: If you notice that your vehicle is slipping out of gear or is struggling to shift gears, it may be a sign that the transmission fluid is low or contaminated. A transmission tune-up can help address this issue by replacing the old fluid with fresh fluid and replacing the filter.
  2. Grinding or Shaking: If you notice that your vehicle is grinding or shaking when you shift gears, it may be a sign that the transmission is not operating smoothly. A transmission tune-up can help improve the smooth operation of the transmission and reduce friction within the transmission.
  3. Delayed Shifting: If you notice that your vehicle is taking longer than usual to shift gears, it may be a sign that the transmission fluid is low or contaminated. A transmission tune-up can help address this issue by replacing the old fluid with fresh fluid and replacing the filter.
  4. Unusual Noises: If you hear any unusual noises coming from the transmission, such as whining or clunking, it may be a sign that the transmission is experiencing issues. A transmission tune-up can help identify and address any issues with the transmission before they become more severe and costly to repair.


Performing a transmission tune-up is crucial to maintaining your vehicle’s transmission and ensuring it runs smoothly for longer. Regular transmission maintenance can help reduce the chances of transmission failure, prolong the life of your transmission, and increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Speak to a representative at Gearstar, or refer to the owner’s manual for maintenance, repair, and more guidance.

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What Are the Different Types of Transmission Fluids?

What Are the Different Types of Transmission Fluids - Gearstar

Many fluids run through your vehicle, powering it in their little way to ensure you enjoy or have a smooth driving experience. One of the most crucial of these fluids is the transmission fluid. Unfortunately, only a handful of car owners even know the primary role transmission fluids play and don’t even know that it must be changed from time to time.

This article highlights some vital information you need to know about the primary function of your car engine and the difference between manual, automatic, and continuously variable transmission fluids.

What is the Function of Transmission Fluids?

Before mentioning the different types of transmission fluids, it is essential to address the function of the transmission fluid in your vehicle.

The primary function of the transmission fluid is to lubricate every metal component and bearing within a vehicle’s manual gearbox. The fluid prevents these components from wearing out quickly as they move and friction occurs.

The transmission fluid in an automatic transmission also fulfills the same function. However, it also provides enough hydraulic pressure and friction to make the internal components function optimally. Transmission fluids also help the transmission cool in both manual and automatic versions.

Shifting gears in manual and automatic transmissions can be quite strenuous for a vehicle. But thanks to the transmission fluid, vehicles can shift effortlessly without wearing down their components.

Manual transmission fluid or oil has existed since the first automobiles were manufactured and were available in some form or shape. However, automatic transmissions only came into existence in the ’40s and played crucial roles in the overall functioning of vehicles.

The Types of Transmission Fluids You Should Know

There are generally two types of transmission fluids: manual transmission fluids and automatic transmission fluids. However, a third transmission fluid – i.e., the continuously variable transmission fluid – just joined the fray, thanks to the manufacture of high-tech automobiles in recent years.

Therefore, let’s look at each of these transmission fluids:


This is also sometimes known as manual transmission lube or oil and was common in older automobiles. These old vehicles are equipped with manual transmissions.

Automatic vehicles can never use manual transmission fluids – heavier/thicker 75W to 140W fluid with more pungent smells. However, later models of manual transmissions can utilize automatic fluids in their manual transmission.

The thick manual transmission fluids often made it challenging for car owners to smoothly shift in and out of gear, especially during winter. This is the primary reason many transmission systems use automatic transmission fluid.


These are made for vehicles that use automatic transmissions. However, a few modern cars with manual transmissions also use this fluid.

Automatic fluids help with the following functions:

  • Brake band friction
  • Gear lubrication
  • Clutch friction operation
  • Transmission cooling
  • Valve body operation
  • Torque converter operation

Automatic fluids are usually thinner – i.e., not as thick as manual transmission fluids. They are also colored, usually red or green. The color is there for two reasons; the first is to make it very easy to spot any leaks, and the second is to avoid using the wrong type of transmission fluid for your vehicle.

Some automatic fluids are available in purple, green/blue, or even amber depending on specific manufacturers. These colors also make it easy to differentiate transmission fluids from motor oil and other fluids running through vehicles.

Continuously Variable

More modern automobiles utilizing highly advanced technologies are hitting the market almost daily. These tech-advanced vehicles use continuously variable transmission fluid, or CVT fluid, in their transmissions.

The continuously variable transmission fluid is a highly advanced substance designed to work efficiently and effectively only in advanced SUVs, trucks, and cars. Therefore, using the wrong type of transmission fluid for this vehicle will result in severe problems. This implies that you should never use regular automatic transmission fluid when using the continuously variable transmission fluid or vice versa.

Your advanced automobile may run when the wrong transmission fluid is put in. But, unfortunately, you may not even notice anything has gone wrong until much later when the issues develop and rear an ugly head at the most inconvenient times.

Therefore, be careful when purchasing transmission fluids and filling up your engine.

Which Transmission Fluids Should I Use for My Vehicle?

Now that you know the significantly different types of transmission fluids, the next step is to determine which one is ideal for your vehicle.

Whether your vehicle comes with an automatic or manual transmission does not matter. Ensure the correct type of transmission fluid for your vehicle is used. Using the wrong type of transmission fluid for your vehicle will poorly affect your transmission.

Therefore, checking out your owner’s manual is the best way to find yours. The type of transmission fluid you should use for your vehicle should be outlined in black and white.

However, if you have misplaced your owner’s manual online in search of its digital version.

How Often Should I Change My Vehicle’s Fluids?

Most people know the importance of changing the motor oil, but only a few bother about changing their transmission fluid.

But the truth is that changing your transmission fluid should also be part of your vehicle maintenance procedures. Over time, manual and automatic transmission fluids break down and contaminate debris.

Although transmission fluids don’t frequently change as much as motor oils, keeping an eye on them and checking them from time to time is crucial.

If the level of your transmission fluid is low or it starts breaking down, you will notice a significant decrease in the overall performance of your engine whenever you shift or engage gears. In addition, if you continue driving your vehicle in this condition, you will increase the risk of severe damage to internal gears and components as they grind against one another due to insufficient lubrication.

This is why some car makers recommend changing your vehicle’s transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Find out the specifications or recommendations for your vehicle’s model.


Knowing the different types of fluids available is highly crucial. This prevents improper use, endangering all the components that make the gear system work.

Therefore, ensure you only use the correct transmission fluid for your vehicle.

‘Tis the Season for Vehicle Winterization

vehicle winterization

Winter is here, and this is not about the popular Game of Thrones series but about your vehicle. Your vehicle needs proper maintenance during the colder months as much as it does during warmer weather. This is why you need to take vehicle winterization more seriously than you used to. 

Vehicle winterization depends on several factors, including the kind of automobile you have, where you live, as well as the age of the vehicle. However, you can do a few things to winterize your automobile, as a one-size-fits-all method does not exist. This article covers what you need to do since the season for vehicle winterization has arrived.

How to Winterize Your Vehicle

Here are some suggestions you should consider for vehicle winterization:

Wash and Wax the Vehicle

Before the weather becomes frigid and inhospitable, consider washing and waxing your vehicle. Washing your automobile exposes any trouble spots or scratches you should fix before winter arrives. Most northern states in the United States make use of road salt during winter to prevent the roads from freezing over. Although road salts ensure the roads remain free of black ice, they can wreak havoc on car pain, causing unwanted scratches, open gashes, and dents. In addition, these trouble spots will become susceptible to rust, eventually weakening your vehicle.

Therefore, ensure you wash and wax your vehicle. Waxing your vehicle before plowing through snow adds a layer of protection to your car paint. This helps the paint against the elements, including harmful chemicals.

So, feel free to invest more time waxing your automobile before the winter season arrives. Waxing guarantees 100 percent protection all through winter, and you don’t have to break the bank in order to get your hands on the best waxes available.

Switch to Snow Tires

If you own a sports utility vehicle, it is time to switch its regular tires with a fresh set of robust snow tires. The soft rubber compound of snow tires maintains its flexibility in frigid weather while firmly gripping the road as you drive. These tires also have unique tread patterns involving wider grooves that quickly expel snow and water in order to boost traction in slippery conditions. It is not really essential to use snow chains, especially since they are not legal in every part of the country. So focus on a dedicated set of snow tires that guarantee better traction in winter.

Check Tire Pressure

Cold weather affects car tires long before you hit the road. Every 10-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature ensures your tire pressure goes down by up to 1 psi (pound per square inch). This is why you should always ensure your tire gauge is close by. This is essential, especially if your vehicle lacks a tire pressure monitoring system that reveals each tire’s psi. But you should consider getting a portable compressor you can plug into your vehicle’s 12V outlets. You may need to pump up one of your tires to its appropriate pressure. Some cutting-edge compressors allow users to set a psi level and shut off as soon as the tire hits the pre-set mark.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Something always goes wrong regardless of how much you prepare against unpleasant occurrences. These are usually far beyond anyone’s control and, in many cases, may leave you stranded. However, the situation will not be so dismal and can be bearable if you strategically pack an emergency kit. Therefore, before setting out for a church picnic or family get-together, ensure you have the following gear on board your vehicle:

  • Jumper cables
  • Tire inflator
  • Gloves
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Ice brush and scraper
  • Tire patch kit
  • Blankets
  • Flashlights
  • Snacks (non-perishable) and drinking water

That is not all. It wouldn’t hurt to also have the following on board:

  • Triangle reflector kit
  • First aid kit
  • Road flares
  • Tool kit
  • Batteries 
  • Paper towels
  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone fast charger
  • A change of clothing, which could be an extra shirt or blouse, and a pair of pants

Consider getting traction pads in order to give your car tires extra grip over wet or slick terrain. This is crucial if part of your plans for the day includes driving off-road in a 4-wheel-drive automobile.

  • Replace the Wiper Blades with Winter Wipers

Keeping your windshield clean is crucial, and you should be able to see at least 10 feet down the road. But unfortunately, your regular wipers won’t be of much help during winter. Therefore, toss the old regular windshield wipers in your garage and get hold of a fresh pair of winter wipers that don’t leave streaks on your immaculate windshield or make unpleasant noises while in operation.

Some winter wipers are equipped with their own heating elements. They are excellent additions to your vehicle, especially if it has heated mirrors and windshields. You may also consider wipers expertly treated with a hydrophobic agent. As these wipers operate, cleaning your windshield several times, they leave a coating that beads up water on contact. This makes your new wipers more than twice as effective against severe downpours.

  • Keep Your Car Battery in Excellent Condition

Frigid weather significantly reduces the cranking power of car batteries. By zero degrees Fahrenheit, your battery no longer has its full cranking power but only half of what it had at 80 degrees. Moreover, the oil in a cold engine is already thickened due to the frigid weather, making it more challenging to turn over. Therefore, check under the hood of your vehicle. If the connectors look misshapen and corroded or have electrical issues, replace the battery immediately.

  • Use Antifreeze the Correct Way

The job of antifreeze is not to prevent the water in your vehicle engine from freezing. Instead, its job is to lower the temperature at which the water in your engine can freeze. The fluids work as equal partners in order to ensure your engine functions exceptionally well despite the frigid conditions. When topping off antifreeze for cold weather, an excellent ratio is one-part undiluted antifreeze and one part water.


Winter can be tough on cars, SUVs, and trucks, and its toll can severely damage your automobile. However, vehicle winterization protects it from harsh weather. Follow the suggestions in this article, and your vehicle will definitely make it unscathed to another winter.

Clogged Transmission Filter Warning Signs (and How to Fix It)

Clogged Transmission Filter Warning Signs (and How to Fix It) - Gearstar

Transmissions are composed of several components designed to ensure the gear system functions seamlessly. One such component is the filter or strainer. The primary job of the transmission filter is to trap debris and contaminants before they enter the gear system and circulate. Since transmissions function almost every day, depending on the user, the filter is one of the components that require replacement from time to time.

However, if the transmission filter is serviced sparingly or according to your vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, it will eventually be obstructed with debris and contaminants. If left unattended, this could bring about some symptoms that will ultimately affect your vehicle transmission’s operability. This article covers the warning signs; you should note that information you the transmission filter is clogged. You will also get suggestions on how to fix the problems. But first, let’s check out how a transmission filter works.

How a Transmission Filter Works

The filter is a key part of the transmission system, designed to prevent metal shavings from the gears, and other dirt and debris, from contaminating the transmission fluid. It sits between the transmission pan (that collects excess fluid) and the tube that regulates the transmission fluid pressure. Essentially it consists of a metal plate with mesh-type inserts that prevent contaminants from entering the transmission and causing wear and tear. The other components of the transmission include the rubber gasket that seals the transmission filter to the pan, the pickup tube that connects it to the oil pump; and a seal that sits between the pickup tube and transmission case.

The importance of the transmission filter cannot be overstated. This is because it traps every contaminant, preventing them from entering the pump and getting distributed efficiently all over the gear system. Unfortunately, this puts the transmission filter at risk of getting clogged with debris and dirt. When the filter becomes clogged, it no longer performs its primary function. As a result, the pump will eventually starve, resulting in low fluid pressure within the transmission. This is why experts highly recommend the replacement of transmission filters every 30,000 miles or after two years.

6 Symptoms of a Clogged Transmission Filter

The following are symptoms that indicate you have a clogged transmission filter:

1. Your Vehicle Suddenly Stops Moving

When you’re driving, and your vehicle suddenly stops, it may not mean anything at first. But if you re-start your car and it stalls again, it implies you have a clogged transmission filter that needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

2. Leaking

Do you notice the puddle you leave behind when you move your vehicle from a parking spot? The puddle is not the water from your AC; it is usually oily. If it is, your transmission filter may be clogged. As mentioned, transmissions are composed of several components, including gaskets and seals. These tend to wear out over time. In addition, the component the seal rides on can also become defective, or a linked bearing may become loose. This can cause the seal to wear out unceremoniously and start leaking.

When these occur, the transmission fluid leaks and may eventually cause severe damage to the gear system. The same principle applies to a clogged filter. If the transmission fluid no longer flows as it should due to a blocked filter, it will force itself through the vent tube and end up as a puddle beneath your vehicle. Therefore, when you notice the puddle or trail of transmission fluid behind your vehicle, drive to the nearest reputable auto shop and let a professional look your car over. Unfortunately, there’s a big chance that your filter is clogged and will have to be replaced.

3. Delay in Reversing

Another warning sign that your transmission filter is clogged is hesitation or delay when reversing your vehicle. Your car will hesitate for several seconds before moving in reverse. Save time; check and replace the clogged transmission filter as soon as possible.

4. Contaminated or Burnt Transmission Fluid

A clogged filter causes your transmission to overheat due to a considerable lack of lubrication. The result of this experience is that the fluid will have a burnt smell, and the color will become dark. You will be further convinced when you remove the transmission pan, as you will find signs of excessive friction material or debris in the bottom of the pan. Replace the clogged filter with a new one and change the transmission fluid for efficient operation.

5. Illuminated Warning Lights

Most modern vehicles are equipped with TCM (transmission control module) that efficiently track the operation of transmissions. If this module detects any problem with your transmission due to low fluid pressure – caused by a clogged filter – the device immediately switches the check engine light on your dashboard and stores a DTC (diagnostic trouble code) in its memory. Some automobiles even switch on separate transmission warning lights when such issues crop up. Just check your transmission filter. If it is clogged, change it immediately, and you will be good to go.

6. Issues With Changing Gears

When your transmission is in excellent condition, changing gears is a breeze. However, when the gear system has a partially clogged filter or is compromised, you will notice the slipping or hesitation each time you try to shift. Since this feels unnatural, you should check your transmission filter and fluid. Manual transmission users will notice the gears grinding instead of smooth shifting. Although this could imply that your clutch is worn out, your gears or transmission synchronizers could also be blamed. Therefore, change your transmission fluid and the filter for good measure. Your transmission should be back to normal after making these changes.

The Bottom Line

Transmission filters are crucial components that ensure the gear system remains as clean as a whistle by trapping dirt, debris, or contaminants. The filters prevent these contaminants from entering the transmission and wreaking havoc. Noticing the symptoms of a clogged filter indicates that it is time you replace or fix it, according to the suggestions highlighted above.

GM Turbo 350 Transmission Fluid Types to Consider

GM Turbo 350 Transmission Fluid Types to Consider - Gearstar

If you need to service your transmission, you must beware of the type of transmission fluid to use, especially for GM Turbo 350. This can be somewhat challenging since many brands have flooded the industry over the last few years. However, you can avoid the information overload you will encounter when searching for the best ATF by sticking to these GM Turbo 35o transmission fluid types:

  1. Royal Purple 06320–6PK Max ATF
  2. Castrol 03520C Transmax DEX/MERC ATF
  3. Valvoline ATF +4 Full Synthetic

Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Royal Purple 06320–6PK Max ATF High Performance

Most of the failures that plague automatic transmissions are due to overheating. It is essential to know that automatic transmissions generate lots of heat due to excessive demands, and the only for them to cool off is via dependable transmission fluids. This is where the Royal Purple ATF comes in. This synthetic transmission fluid is orchestrated to reduce the considerable wear and heat on your transmission, which helps extend its life. Royal Purple ATF is highly compatible with a wide variety of transmission fluids. This implies that you don’t have to drain your vehicle’s current automatic transmission fluid.

But if you want to enjoy the overall and optimal benefits of the Royal Purple Max ATF, experts highly recommend draining the existing transmission fluid in your transmission. You will enjoy premium protection and excellent performance. The Royal Purple Max ATF offers more resistance to increases in viscosity and oxidation, unlike many other automatic transmission fluids. This gives you extended drain intervals and liquid life. Since this automatic transmission fluid is long-lasting, you will enjoy increased performance, improved fuel economy, and better gear shifting.

Experts highly recommend the Royal Purple Max ATF for multiple passenger vehicles as it has zero issues working in freezing and high temperatures. When temperatures are exceedingly high, you won’t experience any problems shifting gears or any form of disintegration. Royal Purple Max ATF also comes with several additives that include cleaning agents. These cleaning agents remove deposits that collect in areas or components susceptible to friction. This ensures your vehicle transmission remains clean, resulting in better performance and an extended life span. Some of the benefits and drawbacks of using Royal Purple Max ATF Synthetic fluid are as follows:


  • This synthetic transmission fluid helps in cooling your automatic transmissions.
  • It is a high-quality compatible fluid that mixes remarkably well with other transmission fluids.
  • It helps minimize wear and extreme heat.


  • Pouring this transmission fluid into your vehicle transmission can be cumbersome.
  • Another issue some vehicle owners have with the Royal Purple Max ATF is not noticing any significant difference in overall performance.

Castrol 03520C Transmax DEX/MERC ATF

Castrol Transmax is what you need if you want to boost the overall performance of your transmission. This fluid promotes improved friction durability as you change gears, giving users a better experience. Moreover, Castrol Transmax is versatile as it can be utilized across multiple car models. It performs much better than other products within the same category, making it one of the best transmission fluids on the market today.

Some transmission fluids give problems when performing under extreme temperatures. But you will never have such issues with Castrol Transmax as it provides the most desirable protection in high temperatures. This makes the transmission fluid the perfect option for those who go on long-distance trips. Here are the pros and cons of Castro Transmax:


  • It is highly suitable for power steering and transmission for General Motors and other vehicles.
  • It works remarkably well under high temperatures.
  • Improves the overall smoothness of transmission in your car, thanks to improved friction durability.
  • It is available at a pocket-friendly price.
  • This transmission fluid offers resistance oxidation while preventing significant viscosity increase.


  • The only drawback is that you can’t see the transmission fluid level inside its container.

Valvoline ATF +4 Full Synthetic

Valvoline ATF is a fully synthetic transmission fluid loaded with improved additives. The advanced additives and formulation help prevent leaks and minimize wear and tear. This transmission fluid guarantees 100 percent a considerable shift of gears. By decreasing significant wear and tear and other causes of severe transmission breakdown, Valvoline ATF helps extend your transmission’s life. It also efficiently optimizes the overall performance of your vehicle’s transmission.

Valvoline ATF also comes with several cleaning additives. The additives ensure your transmission remains as clean as possible and offers optimal performance. When the transmission fluids start circulating, it efficiently collects and does away with every foreign deposit from components susceptible to friction. You will notice significant differences when you compare synthetic and conventional fluids.

As mentioned earlier, Valvoline ATF is a synthetic transmission fluid that never disintegrates even when it performs optimally in extreme weather conditions. This is due to the thermal properties that enable the transmission fluid to serve exceptionally well in high temperatures. You will end up getting additional extended drain intervals. Valvoline is highly compatible with several European models like Saab, Audi, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. Here are the pros and cons of the Valvoline ATF synthetic transmission fluid:


  • This synthetic transmission fluid offers exceptional oil flow in freezing temperatures and enhanced protection of the entire system at incredibly high temperatures.
  • It contains several cleaning additives that help ensure your transmission remains as clean as a whistle, devoid of contaminants.
  • It has anti-wear technology that helps to boost the durability of the transmission significantly.
  • It is suitable for a wide variety of European vehicle models
  • The synthetic fluid has anti-shudder protection attributes that enable smooth gear shifting and maximum power transfer.


  • It is costlier than conventional transmission fluids of the same caliber.

The Bottom Line

The GM Turbo 350 transmission fluid type you use in your vehicle will significantly determine the longevity of your transmission. Fortunately, the ATFs discussed above come with several properties that help ensure your transmission has an extended lifespan. But as you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all GM Turbo 350 transmission fluid; each has its pros and cons that you need to consider before making your final purchase decision. Therefore, take note of the drawbacks associated with each transmission fluid, and make your choice depending on your budget and your love for your vehicle transmission.

5 Causes of a Transmission Fluid Leak

5 causes of a transmission fluid leak

Have you ever wondered why a puddle of red fluid always seems to appear under your vehicle magically? There’s a big problem if you have noticed similar stains on your garage floor or driveway or keep refilling your transmission fluid. You have a transmission fluid leak that needs urgent attention. Ignore it, and you may be headed for a complete transmission failure!

The Importance of Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid, also referred to as ‘transmission oil,’ is the lifeblood of your vehicle transmission. Its reddish color makes it relatively easy to identify. The primary job of the transmission fluid is to lubricate and protect transmission components efficiently. If you have low transmission fluid levels or a leak, it may significantly affect the transmission’s overall performance. If ignored for a long time, it could cause crucial damage to those components. You will spend lots of money fixing the leak and then replacing the transmission oil.

What Causes a Transmission Fluid Leak?

A leaky transmission may be caused by a critical or minor issue you can tackle, either on your own or with the help of a professional auto mechanic. Whichever one it is, joking around with a problematic transmission is a mistake you should never make. Here are the top common causes of leaky vehicle transmission:

1. Broken Seals

Automatic transmissions efficiently sustain hydraulic pressure via several different transmission seals. But over time, these seals get worn out and crack. This often occurs when the seals are constantly exposed to heat or high temperatures. It could also occur when too much transmission fluid floats within the system. Therefore, if a transmission leak occurs due to broken seals, you may need to have several areas checked by an auto specialist. However, in most cases, mechanics find leaky seals in the output shaft or input shaft. The mechanic may need to also examine the following transmission-reliant components:

  • Sensors
  • Transmission pan
  • Driveshaft
  • Shifter housing seal
  • Speedometer input seal
  • Plug seals
  • Tail housing seal
  • Valve body

2. Drain Plug/Transmission Pan

The drain plug or transmission pan is a durable component that will experience wear and tear over time. It is highly vulnerable to damage as it takes several daily hits from debris and loose rocks on the road while driving. A transmission leak occurs when the transmission pan becomes punctured. It may also occur due to loose bolts or drain plugs. A leak will occur quickly if you drive on rough terrain and a big rock – or some other hard object – hits the transmission pan.

You will usually notice this almost immediately, and your transmission starts losing fluid quickly. It may take a while to notice smaller punctures or holes in your transmission pan. Leakage may occur if the bolt or drain plug is over-tightened until it strips or if they are not tightened enough. This problem usually occurs almost as soon as you change the transmission fluid. So, ensure the mechanic that will work on your vehicle is a professional. They will know the exact force to apply or use when tightening bolts, etc.

3. Transmission Pan Gasket Fails

The transmission pan gasket is a vital component of the transmission system. The gasket may get damaged due to a wrong alignment during a previous installation. It could also be damaged if exposed to high temperatures constantly or as a result of poor construction/manufacturing. Whatever the case, the outcome is a transmission that leaks its lifeblood. The transmission pan gasket is affordable and easy to replace. Get a professional auto mechanic to replace the pan gasket as soon as possible. If you delay a little longer, more severe issues will crop up, requiring you to spend more resources to fix them.

4. Cracked Fluid Line

Most fluid lines of vehicle transmission are made from durable aluminum or steel. However, they’re prone to damage due to heat exposure or road debris. These could cause the fluid line to crack or even break completely, resulting in transmission fluid leakages.

5. Leakage of Torque Converter

The transmission fluid finds its way into the whole system via the torque converter. However, transmission fluid will leak if there is a crack anywhere on the body of the torque pump or if the needle bearings are severely damaged. This is a big problem and a complicated fix. Therefore, take your vehicle to the local mechanic. The only option, in this case, is to replace the torque converter.

How to Maintain Your Vehicle’s Transmission

Transmission issues are usually bothersome and expensive compared to other types of vehicle repairs. This is why knowing how best to take care of your vehicle’s transmission is vital.

Check Transmission Fluid Levels

Every now and then, check the levels of your transmission fluid as well as its overall condition. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s procedures in the owner’s manual before inspecting the dipstick. In some instances, you can only make these checks when a vehicle’s engine is running while some other vehicles’ engines must be off.

A Sweet Smell With Reddish Color Is Good

Good transmission fluid should have a sweet smell and a reddish or vibrant shade of pink. However, it is not uncommon for the transmission fluids in some vehicles from specific manufacturers to be of a different color.

Get a Transmission Flush Every 30,000 Miles

If you need to top up the transmission fluid level, ensure you use the right and perfect kind, as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Create time for regular transmission flushes. Experts suggest performing transmission flushes every 30,000 miles.

Don’t Forget to Service the Coolant System

Make sure to service your coolant system from time to time. This ensures the proper functioning of your entire cooling system, which helps to cool the transmission fluid.

Opt for Certified Transmission Repair Annually

Another excellent maintenance habit you should learn is having a certified transmission repair expert look over your transmission. You can have this inspection performed at least once per annum. This is the easiest way to discover any hidden or unnoticeable transmission issues that can be nipped in the bud before it becomes serious and will cost you lots of money to fix.

Fixing a Transmission Fluid Leak to Prevent Failure

There you have it: the most common causes of transmission fluid leaks. Fooling around with a problematic transmission is a big mistake. It could result in complete transmission failure, which would cost you a lot of money to fix. When you notice a transmission leak, find your way to the nearest auto mechanic shop to have your vehicle checked and fixed immediately.

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For more information on transmissions, parts, and how-to’s, visit Gearstar every week to see what’s new. Whether you’re flexin’ a GM, Ford, or Mopar, Gearstar has what you need! Contact us today or give us a call.

Fixing a Transmission: 6 Benefits of Hiring an Expert

Fixing a transmission: 6 benefits of hiring an expert

As a vehicle owner, the ability to do small maintenance tasks can save you a few dollars here and there. Installing a new car battery, adding oil, or screwing on an air filter are small tasks most car owners can do. However, it is another ball game when it comes to fixing a transmission and any parts associated with it. You’ll need the professional assistance of an expert.

Many car owners make the mistake of visiting standard auto mechanics or service centers. Although the average mechanic can easily handle simple transmission repairs, they don’t have the requisite tools for high-tech diagnosis of transmission problems.

If your transmission has a more serious issue, a standard auto repair mechanic may not be capable of handling it. You will still need to find a transmission specialist who knows the ins and outs of vehicle transmissions and can expertly and accurately diagnose its problems.

This will cost you 2x more money and precious time, which you should not trade for anything. In order to avoid these, you should always opt for a specialist anytime you have transmission problems.

The Advantages of Hiring an Expert for Fixing a Transmission

If you are still not too convinced about the importance of having a specialist work on your faulty transmission, these benefits would:

1. Repair Complexity

Transmission is one of the most integral and complex pieces of a vehicle’s system. Unlike the punctured car tire you can easily change or a small hose you can patch without breaking a sweat, transmission issues are usually complicated.

Transmissions are made up of multiple components and pieces, and each of these parts can easily experience problems. Moreover, transmission designs vary by model and make. 

Only a well-trained and experienced professional can swiftly give an accurate diagnosis of any transmission problem. Experts use industry-specific computer programs to tap into the computer system of a modern vehicle in search of accurate diagnoses of car issues.

Professional mechanics know how to run these computer programs efficiently. They also possess the necessary tools – which often reflect the complexity of transmission repairs – required to fix faulty transmissions.

2. Warranty Protection

At least two iron-clad warranties become functional here. First, having an expert perform transmission repairs helps protect your vehicle’s warranty. Secondly, most highly trained and experienced specialists offer their own warranties on transmission repairs.

This implies that in the rare or uncommon case the expert misses something during transmission repairs, you will be protected from paying out of your pocket for additional repairs.

Ensure you make inquiries, read, and fully understand whatever extended manufacturer warranty the mechanic offers before they start working on your vehicle.

3. Cost-Efficient

Fixing your transmission can be expensive, especially if you don’t have the ideal tools. You should not engage in such activity without the necessary repair components and tools.

Hiring an expert is the most affordable choice since they have all the right tools and repair components.

4. Eliminate the Stress of Repairs

It doesn’t even matter if you are an experienced Do-It-Yourself mechanic. The pressure of getting your vehicle running again in top-notch condition will subject you to a lot of stress.

For instance, you will spend lots of money – and time – tracking down the appropriate tools for fixing the defective transmission. Taking down, repairing, and re-installing a transmission is not a one-man job, i.e., you will require at least another pair of hands. You will need to call up a couple of your friends who also have time to kill and are willing to assist you in your repair quest.

As you can already see, the stress of doing it yourself is not worth it. The best way is to get an expert to check the transmission, give accurate diagnoses, and take steps to fix the issues for good.

5. Peace of Mind

Having an expert work on your vehicle’s transmission gives profound peace of mind. Maintaining a healthy transmission or repairing a faulty one will get you through adverse conditions such as off-road terrains, bad weather, etc.

A professional mechanic can easily detect the daily wear-and-tear issues transmissions undergo. They can fix these issues before they escalate into something significant and expensive.

6. Specialization

A car transmission expert is not the usual Jack-of-all-trades mechanic in many cases. An expert has undergone the proper training and is certified and knowledgeable at efficiently diagnosing high-tech transmission issues, especially in heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and vans.

They also have a better experience as understanding particular causes of transmission issues in specific vehicles is their forte. This is what you need if you value your time and money.

Quick Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Transmission Healthy

Keeping your vehicle transmission in tip-top shape on a daily basis is highly essential. Follow these quick tips that will help ensure your transmission remains healthy at all times:

Transmission Flushes

It is vital to change your fluids from to time. Having low fluids and not doing anything about it is a recipe for future transmission issues or difficulties.

Always address low transmission fluid as soon and as soon as possible. Avoid driving your vehicle when its transmission fluid is low or below the recommended level.

Replacing a seal is less expensive, can easily fix the problem, and save you lots of your hard-earned cash on repairs down the road.

Do Not Ride the Brake

You force your transmission to work even harder whenever you drive with your foot heavy on the brake pedal. Avoid doing this as much as possible in order to prevent transmission problems.

Use the emergency brake each time you park your vehicle on an incline. This helps to minimize stress on the parking lineage.

Always Stop Your Vehicle Completely Before Shifting from Reverse to Drive

Anytime you are in reverse, such as backing out of a particular parking spot, etc., ensure you stop your vehicle completely before shifting into Drive.

You must have experienced the dreaded ‘engine drop’ when you don’t stop before shifting gears. When you stop completely before shifting gears, it helps prevent the transmission from unwarranted strain.

Leave it to the Professionals

The benefits of hiring an expert for fixing a transmission cannot be overstated. You may be able to do minor fixes like changing your car tires, installing a vehicle battery, or even screwing on an air filter.

But when it comes to repairing a faulty transmission, leave it to the professionals. You will have profound peace of mind, protect your warranty, and have a specialist handle every complex issue on your behalf.

For more tidbits on transmissions, converters, controllers, and more, visit Gearstar each week. For any questions or inquiries, contact one of our professionals today. We would be glad to assist you, whether it be for a GM, Mopar, or Ford transmission. You may also visit our support page for resources and how-tos for installation tips, tricks, and more.

5 Tips to Prevent Transmission Overheating

5 tips to prevent transmission overheating

Heat and transmissions are archenemies and will never go hand-in-hand. When transmission overheating occurs, it can cause multiple problems in your vehicle. This makes heat the principal cause of most premature transmission failures that car owners experience from time to time. 

Overheating transmissions account for about 90 percent of every automatic transmission failure recorded. It is so severe that you may need a total replacement, which will cost you a substantial amount of your hard-earned money. 

This is because it is primarily responsible for the following transmission issues:

  • Failed bearings
  • Cracked gears
  • Inoperable solenoids
  • Ruptured seals
  • Slipping transmission bands
  • Delayed clutch engagement

Whatever component is within the area where the transmission is located can suffer a breakage due to too much heat.

Causes of Transmission Overheating

Heat is a silent killer that has surreptitiously claimed the very active life of an innumerable number of transmissions. In many cases, excessive transmission heat goes unnoticed until something breaks, and it becomes too late to fix it. It may even be quietly damaging your vehicle each time you put it in gear.

The primary causes of excessive transmission heat include:

  • Low fluid levels
  • Solenoid problems
  • Fluid leaks
  • Old/burnt fluid

Other factors that contribute to the overheating of transmissions include:

  • Living in an area with a hot climate
  • Towing heavy loads/caravan with your vehicle
  • Always driving stop-and-go in heavy traffic, etc.

This is why it is essential to know what to do in order to reduce transmission temperature. This will protect your vehicle and save you lots of money in the end.

The Automatic Transmission Fluid

The automatic transmission fluid works efficiently to take away heat from the transmission. However, it also provides lubrication as well as the pressure required when changing gears. Expanding springs, spinning gears, and whirring turbines generate a lot of friction as they function.

This friction generates excessive heat, which, if left unattended, can cause varnishing, stress fractures, etc. The damage to the transmission’s internal components can be so severe that you will have to replace them.

This is why the automatic transmission fluid, which contains chemical additives, is formulated to absorb heat efficiently and flow through every moving component. 

The hot fluid transmits the heat from the transmission to the radiator, forcing it through a specialized cooling chamber. This chamber makes use of aluminum fins that efficiently remove the heat from the automatic transmission fluid.

How to Prevent Excessive Transmission Heat from Destroying Your Transmission

If your vehicle undergoes heavy use every day, you should be worried about your transmission overheating.

However, don’t fret: these tips will show you how you can prevent transmission overheating:

1. Install External Transmission Coolers

If your vehicle consistently hauls auto parts, other automobiles, wood, or heavy tools, you risk overheating your transmission. Your transmission will overheat due to the increased stress applied to your vehicle due to excess weight. This is more evident if your vehicle travels to and from hilly terrains.

Consider installing an external transmission cooler in your vehicle. External coolers are highly effective in keeping your transmission cool or at a regulated temperature, irrespective of the increased stress. External coolers will also work to minimize friction to the transmission, another cause of severe damage.

Visit the local transmission workshop to request or buy an external transmission cooler suitable for your vehicle. You can install the device on your own or get assistance from a professional mechanic.

2. Go Neutral from Time to Time

If you find yourself – in your vehicle, of course – sitting idly for a brief moment in traffic, shift your transmission into neutral and relax. Allow your vehicle to idle until the next moment when you have to move when traffic moves accordingly.

Allowing your vehicle to idle in neutral in heavy traffic, on railroad tracks, or while sitting at a red light significantly minimizes the strain on your vehicle’s transmission. This is your transmission’s chance to lose intensity by cooling down.

This action will prolong the lifespan of your transmission. Allowing your vehicle to idle in neutral when it is not in use will also reduce the amount of fuel your engine consumes. This means more money in your pocket as you save a lot of money as time goes on.

3. Check The Transmission Fluid Regularly

Make time to check your vehicle’s transmission fluid at least once a month. This makes it easier to identify burnt or worn-out dirty fluid or low-level fluid issues. These warning signs are easy to spot before they cause severe transmission issues that can utterly destroy your transmission.

4. Add A Deep Pan

Consider adding a deep pan if you experience excessive transmission heat. Deep pans allow users to add more fluid to vehicles. This, in turn, spreads out the heat, dissipating it and removing it completely from the transmission within a short period. 

Ensure you use only aluminum pans as they dissipate excessive transmission heat much faster than steel-constructed deep pans.

5. Change The Transmission Fluid On Time

Ensure you change your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. You can do this easily on your own. But if you are not a DIY enthusiast, get your vehicle to the nearest transmission workshop in order to flush the fluid out of your vehicle.

However, if you live and drive your vehicle in a hot climate or find yourself hauling heavy loads from time to time or engaging in lots of stop-and-go traffic, it is advisable to change your transmission fluid every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

This ensures your transmission fluid remains fresh at all times so that it can work efficiently by cooling the transmission.

Keepin’ it Cool

Overheating is one of the #1 causes of transmission failure. Research shows that excessive transmission heat accounts for up to 90 percent of automatic transmission failures. It is often undetectable until it is too late.

This is why it is crucial to do everything within your power to cool your transmission or prevent it from overheating. The tips shared in this post, if adhered to strictly, will prevent the occurrence of excessive transmission heat.

For more information, news, and tidbits on all things transmission and converters, check our news section weekly. Gearstar specializes in building quality automatic transmissions from the ground up. Contact us today and see the difference.

Keep Your Engine Purring with a Transmission Flush

Keep your engine purring with a transmission flush

Most vehicle owners usually focus on inspections, oil changes, battery replacements, tire care, brake service, and air filter checks. Indeed, every vehicle requires family care routines for optimal performance. However, one vital service consideration often overlooked by most car owners is transmission maintenance–specifically a transmission flush.

Most transmission issues often end in replacement, costing thousands of dollars. But you can perform preventative services such as transmission flushes to keep your transmission in top-notch condition.

Here’s what you should know about keeping your engine purring with a transmission flush.

But before then, let’s check out what a transmission does in your vehicle.

The Transmission

The transmission is one of the hardest-working and complex components in a vehicle’s engine. It is responsible for shifting gears within the motor and serves as the powerhouse of any vehicle.

Transmissions generally require proper maintenance, which includes constant lubrication via a transmission fluid. The latter protects the transmission from oxidative reactions as well as from the wear and tear that occurs due to the constant shifting and driving.

Why is a Transmission Flush Necessary?

The transmission fluid helps regulate temperature while keeping every component within the gear mechanism working seamlessly with zero friction.

However, since transmission fluids absorb heat when regulating the temperature within the gear system, the fluids start breaking down and burn over time. Waiting too long for a transmission flush may cause your transmission to deteriorate.

Transmission fluid flushes are necessary since they help prevent transmission issues. They work to ensure your vehicle is in peak condition at all times.

A transmission flush involves cleaning out old, dirty, and lackluster fluid from your transmission system and replacing it with fresh and clean transmission fluid. This process keeps your automobile healthy for a long time.

An ideal transmission flush should generally involve a transmission servicing such as:

  • Installing a brand-new air transmission filter
  • Installing a brand-new pan gasket
  • Fluid drain and removal from within the system, etc.

A transmission flush eliminates the need for costly transmission repair. It boosts overall engine performance while allowing your vehicle to shift gears smoothly and easily.

When is the Perfect Time for A Transmission Flush?

“But when exactly do I need a transmission fluid flush?” you may be asking. There is no one-fits-all answer for this because the measure of this service depends significantly on your driving patterns as well as your automobile.

Check the Owner’s Manual

However, you can get an insight by checking your owner’s manual. The manual should indicate the number of miles you need to cover in-between performing maintenance transmission flushes.

But if you can’t find any transmission flush guidelines in your owner’s manual, don’t fret. Your car engine could be one of the few that comes with a ‘lifetime’ transmission fluid, especially if the transmission is sealed.

Nevertheless, even sealed transmissions can permit contaminants into the workings of your vehicle and cause an issue or two, albeit at a much slower rate than traditional car engines.

Therefore, you may still require a transmission flush every few years. Your local mechanic or the official site of your vehicle manufacturer may share some insight.

Transmission Fluid Checks

You can also perform transmission fluid checks which is another accurate and incredibly easy way to determine if you need a transmission flush. 

Get a professional mechanic to look under your hood and check your transmission fluid’s overall status. You need to verify that the transmission fluid levels are not overly full but full enough.

You need to also confirm that the transmission fluid is not dirty or discolored by checking the fluid color. It must also be doing its job, including maintaining proper temperatures within the system.

However, you may not be capable of performing this examination or evaluation unless you are a certified engineer or mechanic. If you aren’t, experts highly recommend that you take your vehicle to the nearest local workshop.

Get the mechanic to help you check your vehicle’s transmission fluid. You can also make this request every time you change your oil. This helps you stay far ahead of necessary transmission flushes while ensuring your vehicle receives proper care.

The Benefits of a Transmission flush

The benefits of transmission fluid flushes cannot be overstated. In many cases, a vehicle’s transmission starts showing signs of wear and tear after every 30,000 miles.

Performing a transmission flush eliminates dirty fluid from the system and replaces it with clean fluids. The new, clean fluid re-lubricates the entire transmission system and keeps your engine purring. In other words, your vehicle runs much better as a result of this transmission service.

Here are the unique benefits of a transmission flush:

Prevents Overheating

Metal shavings and other particles from within the transmission eventually accumulate in your vehicle’s transmission fluid. If nothing is done, the transmission and fluid start heating up, causing the particles to burn and overheat every internal component within the transmission system.

This can cause system failures, resulting in costly repairs. A transmission flush prevents these issues.

Boosts Fuel Efficiency

An optimally-functioning transmission places less strain on the other mechanical components in the vehicle. Reducing the amount of friction that rotating and moving parts produce results in an increase in the amount of energy that is transferred to the wheels.

This significantly improves fuel economy and saves you money on gas down the road.

Enhances Gear Operation

An overheating transmission turns the transmission fluid into a gooey, thick sludge. This development of clogged gears makes it difficult to shift between speeds.

A timely transmission flush eliminates or prevents this condition and improves gear operation.

Take Care of Your Transmission

Transmissions are an incredibly large part of the movement of any vehicle. If your transmission fails to function, your vehicle goes nowhere.

You can ensure the continuous functioning of your transmission by performing a transmission flush from time to time. A transmission flush helps prevent overheating, improves fuel efficiency, and enhances gear operation, among several other benefits.

Get a professional mechanic to check your transmission today to determine if you need a transmission flush. It could save you the thousands of dollars required to repair or replace a broken-down transmission.

Visit our news section every week for more insights, tips, and advice on transmissions. Gearstar specializes in building automatic high performance transmissions, built with phenomenal quality by expert builders. Contact us today for questions or inquiries about our transmissions, converters and controllers.

Transmission Fluid Color: What Do They Mean?

Transmission fluid color: What do they mean?

Do you know how revealing transmission fluid color is? It can help diagnose transmission issues while showing the overall health of your vehicle’s transmission.

The color of your car’s clean and fresh transmission fluid is usually bright red for a reason. But over time, the bright red color changes to maroon and brown. Should you be very concerned when this happens? This article will reveal the answer you need.

The Importance of Transmission Fluid

The transmission of your vehicle is highly essential in getting it into motion. Although the engine is primarily responsible for creating power, the transmission’s job is to transmit that power to the wheels. 

The transmission requires adequate fluid to reduce the friction between gear sets, create pressure, clean internal components, and prevent overheating. The fluid helps protect every component within a transmission system and keeps it free from dirt.

Checking the Transmission Fluid Color

You can determine the color of your vehicle’s transmission fluid in your transaxle or transmission by following these steps:

  1. Open your car’s hood and locate the transmission dipstick
  2. Pull out the dipstick from the filler tube
  3. Determine the color of the fluid

Check the fluid at the end of the dipstick and try to determine its color. You can place some drops of the transmission fluid on a clean white sheet of paper to obtain a more accurate reading.

There is an automatic transmission fluid color chart that you can utilize. Match the color of the transmission fluid to the fluid color chart. This will give you an accurate explanation and what you need to do.

But first, let’s check out the various colors of transmission fluid that you may likely come across.

Transmission Fluid Color and What It Means


Most brand-new transmission fluids have this color. It shows the fluid is not contaminated or dirty. The see-through, viscous transmission fluid has not oxidized and can efficiently protect the transmission and facilitate shifting gears.

This implies that no action is required whatsoever when the transmission fluid still shows this color.


Your transmission fluid should never be pink. Transmission fluid with this color implies the presence of engine coolant or water. This diluted transmission fluid can easily damage your transmission.

Therefore, when you notice that the transmission fluid color is pink, take your vehicle to your local mechanic’s workshop. Get the fluid drained from your transmission with the assistance of a professional technician.


If the transmission fluid looks orange, it is still in good working condition. However, it is an indication that the fluid is getting older.

You don’t need to change it yet as long as you can see through the transmission fluid with its orange hue. You can still drive your vehicle around for some time – i.e., a few more days or weeks – before flushing out the transmission fluid and refilling the gear mechanism.

Light Brown

When your transmission fluid has a light brown hue, it also shows that it is getting older. The fluid may still be translucent and pose no danger to your transmission, meaning you don’t have to change it yet.

Light brown transmission fluid is not really a sign of problems. You can still drive your car a bit longer before changing the fluid.

Brown/Dark Brown

However, as soon as the hue of the transmission fluid in your vehicle turns brown or dark brown, you have to change it. This usually occurs after your vehicle must have done up to 30,000 miles.

Brown or dark brown transmission fluid is no longer translucent but opaque. You can no longer see through the transmission fluid anymore. It is oxidizing – i.e., the fluid is getting filled with air bubbles which prevent the transmission fluid from doing its job effectively – and is no longer viscous.

So, change it right away as soon as you notice that your transmission fluid has taken on this color.

Other Ways to Check the Condition of Your Transmission Fluid

There are other ways to determine the overall condition of your transmission fluid.

The Smell of the Transmission Fluid

You can smell the transmission fluid. If it has a burnt odor, it simply means that the fluid is completely oxidized and overheated

The outcome is that the fluid offers poor lubrication, increased heat, and friction. This may result in excessive wear and severe damage to seals and internal components.

In fact, in many instances, burnt and smelling transmission fluid already implies that the gear mechanism itself has suffered some internal damage. You need to change that transmission fluid as soon as possible and have the technician check out the overall condition of the transmission itself.

The Blotter Test

Place a few drops of the transmission fluid on a paper towel. Wait for about 30 seconds. If the fluid is light brown or red or spreads out across the paper towel, no further action is required. The transmission fluid is in excellent condition.

But if the transmission fluid does not spread across the paper towel or looks dark, it implies that it has completely oxidized. You will need a filter and fluid change or have to flush out the transmission fluid from your vehicle.

Consistency is Key

Your vehicle’s transmission fluid color is one of the best ways to determine the overall health of your vehicle. You may also consider its smell and consistency in order to buttress what you suspect.

Most transmission fluids are red, though it is also not uncommon to get some in yellow or even blue. As the transmission fluid ages, the color changes gradually.

Therefore, consider changing the transmission fluid when its color has become dark brown. By protecting your vehicle’s transmission via maintenance, you prolong the transmission’s life span. You also prevent expensive rebuilds or replacements.

Make sure you don’t settle for less than the best transmission fluid for your car for optimum performance. For questions or inquiries, and all things transmission or converter, visit our resources and support page for tips, tricks, and how-tos. You may also contact Gearstar using our online form or give us a call. We will be glad to assist you!