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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

The 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:

  • The sensors
  • The transmission pan
  • The driveshaft
  • The shifter housing seal
  • The speedometer input seal
  • The plug seals
  • The tail housing seal
  • The 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 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.

Shop Gearstar

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.

Benefits of Going To a Custom Transmission Shop

custom transmission shop

When you have trouble with your manual or automatic transmission, the first port of call is usually a general auto repair shop. However, taking your vehicle for a transmission repair to just any auto repair is a recipe for disaster. This is because most technicians that work in such repair shops are generalists, not specialists.

Moreover, finding a custom service provider can be a daunting task, especially if you are doing so for the first time. This is why you should find a custom transmission shop long before your transmission starts acting up or goes out.

Bear in mind that your transmission is one of the most intricate and complex components of your automobile. It is not one part but a combination of different parts that must work efficiently and in tandem in order to ensure your vehicle works perfectly. The transmission is primarily responsible for transferring power from your engine into the torque that efficiently spins your wheels.

You can’t shift gears without a transmission, and if you cannot shift gears, your vehicle won’t even budge from where it is parked. This makes the transmission a vital component of your vehicle and must never be trifled with by an inexperienced or unqualified technician.

The input of a custom transmission specialist is highly essential if you want your transmission to last long. This is why it makes sense to get your transmission repaired at a custom transmission shop and enjoy the benefits only a performance transmission shop can provide.

The Pros of Going to a Custom Transmission Shop

Still unsure whether to go for a custom transmission shop or opt for a regular auto repair shop? Here are the benefits of going to a custom transmission shop:

AAA Approved Auto Repair

Most custom transmission repair shops display the Automobile Association of America logo. This is an excellent achievement in the auto repair industry as the AAA doesn’t tread – without good reason – on auto repair shops.

No custom transmission shop displays the AAA logo at its business without meeting the rigid standards in services rendered, pricing, as well as customer service.

ASE Certified Transmission Repair Technicians/Mechanics

A custom transmission shop employs highly experienced technicians well-versed in the field of transmission repair. The level of expertise is often verified by the ASE National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a renowned organization.

This organization provides testing and certifications that verify that a mechanic possesses in-depth knowledge and a full understanding of their automotive fields. Every Auto Service Experts transmission technician completes their ongoing training via Car Quest Technical Institute and Technet Professional Auto Service and is ASE certified.

For this reason, technicians at custom transmission shops can readily provide the ASE Blue Seal of Automotive Excellence and other certifications when asked or display them in the shop.

Knowledgeable Technicians and Service Providers

You will hardly find a custom transmission shop that doesn’t have knowledgeable technicians and service providers. These specialists are always ready to answer any burning question you have about your transmission. 

They can provide highly detailed and crystal-clear explanations of any problem they encounter when fixing your transmission.

Specialists at custom transmission shops can also highlight the necessary repairs without boring you with auto-jargons. 

They can really hold their own when discussing the best rebuild or repair options for your car, based only on the issues you are experiencing, the condition of your vehicle, as well as the specific concerns or needs you have.

Availability of the Right Equipment/Tools

Every custom transmission shop showcases state-of-the-art tools and equipment that shows how invested it is in the overall quality of diagnostic and timely repair services it provides.

Newer vehicles always require specialized equipment, and custom transmission shops do not lack in this area. This enables them to complete repairs properly and on time. 

Most custom transmission shops also have top-of-the-line diagnostic equipment that greatly or significantly minimizes the chance of misdiagnoses. Some generalist transmission repair shops make misdiagnoses which often costs the customer time and money.

This is one of the vitally essential reasons custom transmission shops are sought-after and preferable to generalist repair shops.

Accurate Estimates of Total Cost of Repair

Most custom transmission shops are honest and highly reliable when providing accurate estimates of the total cost of fixing your troublesome transmission. They will seek and obtain written permission from customers like you before commencing the repairs on your transmission.

As you may have guessed, transmission diagnostics usually involve removing the faulty transmission from your automobile entirely. This can be time-consuming, and therefore, pretty expensive.

Custom transmission shops will not rob you or send you on a wild-goose chase before revealing the general price estimate. This is what inferior tech shops do, and you end up paying a lot more for transmission repairs, which may not yield a favorable outcome.

Timely Transmission Rebuilds

A transmission rebuild is an excellent opportunity to efficiently replace multiple OEM parts with brand-new, high-performance grade components or parts without incurring the well-known costs of a total transmission replacement that some inferior auto repair shops would suggest.

A custom transmission shop will help you save money by replacing only the necessary parts. To rebuild your transmission, the specialists will take it down from your vehicle, take it apart, and replace multiple damaged OEM parts with new, well-crafted aftermarket parts.

Custom transmission shops possess the expertise or technical know-how to take a failing – or failed – transmission and fix it such that it handles up to 1200 horsepower as well as 1000 feet per pound of torque. Your transmission will be dyno-tested for up to 100 miles in order to ensure that it offers the best performance metrics.

But inferior or generalist transmission shops would suggest a total replacement of your transmission, which will cost you northwards of $3,500.


A custom transmission shop can give you a full warranty on all repairs. This will give you profound confidence that you will always be covered if any problem occurs after completing repair procedures.

Take note that, at times, warranties are subject to some limitations, including time and mileage. This is why you should find out or check with the dealership if your vehicle is under warranty from them to see if the custom transmission shop is an affiliate.


As you can see, the benefits of going to a custom transmission shop to fix your faulty transmission cannot be overstated. Getting technicians or mechanics from inferior shops will not only cost you a lot of money, but they may even end up making matters worse.

Therefore, the next time your transmission starts acting up, you should already know where to take your vehicle for a mechanical checkup. 

However, do not wait until your transmission goes out before searching for a custom transmission shop. Make sure you have searched for and located a good one in your state or neighborhood. You can ask for referrals or read reviews online or use Google Maps to find a custom transmission shop near you.