Many Charlotte car owners have asked us the question “What causes a transmission leak?” and “Why is transmission fluid so important?” To say it simply, transmission fluid is what lubricates components inside your transmission — allowing the transmission to move, which allows your vehicle to move. Without this transmission fluid, or even while driving when the transmission fluid is low, can cause major damage and wear/tear on the transmission parts.
In an automatic transmission, this pressurized fluid acts as a coolant and transfers power from the engine to the transmission and drive wheels. Cars don’t use up this fluid, so if it is low, there’s a leak somewhere.
Transmission leaks are the bane of all car owners. Transmission leaks can seriously damage a car’s transmission if left unaddressed. A transmission fluid leak is a problem that might occur as your vehicle becomes older and wear and tear increases. Fluid leaks can be caused by many different problems, with leaky torque converters and broken seals being the most common ones.
Here is a list of the most common problems that can cause a transmission fluid leak:
Worn Transmission Pan Seals
A transmission pan is responsible for storing transmission fluid. It has a rectangular seal that separates the bottom and top parts of a transmission pan. If this seal cracks or frays, transmission fluid will leak out of a transmission pan and cause a transmission leak.
Worn Rear Main Seal
A car’s rear main seal is a very important engine/transmission seal that marks the junction where a car’s transmission and engine link together. A rear main seal that becomes worn, frayed or cracked will allow transmission fluid to leak out, causing a very troublesome and hard-to-repair transmission leak.
Cracked Transmission Fluid Line
Transmission fluid travels throughout a transmission via a long, slender transmission fluid line. This transmission line is normally made up of steel and/or aluminum. Although very solid and structurally sound, a transmission fluid line can become damaged from road debris, impacts or excessive heat, and develop breaks or cracks that cause a transmission leak.
Leaky Torque Converter
Although a much less common form of transmission leak, a leaky torque converter can result in a significant amount of lost transmission fluid. A torque converter is a hydraulic pump that pressurizes and propels transmission fluid throughout an entire transmission. Leaks or cracks within the body of a torque converter can cause a serious transmission leak.
Loose Transmission Pan Bolts
Perhaps the most common type of transmission leak is caused by a loose transmission pan. A transmission pan is held in place by a series of bolts that have to be tightened sufficiently to avoid transmission fluid from leaking out. Loose or damaged transmission pan bolts can result in a loose-fitting transmission pan that results in a transmission leak.
How to Check for a Transmission Fluid Leak in Your Vehicle
•Notice if there is any wet oil on your driveway or where you usually park. It would form a puddle under the front center of your car.
•Pay attention to an overheating car. This could be a result of a leak that hinders the cooling of the transmission.
•Check the level of transmission fluid with the proper dipstick to see if it’s low. If it is, refill it and drive it around for a couple of miles, then check the fluid again to see if it’s dropped.
•Get under your car and look at the transmission seal that holds your transmission together. If the seal is bad, it could cause a leak there.
•Locate the drain plug on your transmission, which just looks like a bolt screwed into the metal, and see if there is transmission fluid leaking there.
•Find every spot on your transmission where another part or component joins it, gets screwed into it, or attaches to it in some way. Leaks sometimes occur in these spots around worn seals or cracked parts.
Do you have red fluid leaking underneath your vehicle? If you think you may have a problem with your transmission fluid, which could be causing transmission damage, please contact us for a free estimate or transmission diagnosis. (All transmission diagnostics are free with repair.) If you are looking for a transmission service, such as a fluid flush, please check out our coupons and discounts on transmission fluid changes in Charlotte NC and transmission renews.
Avoid costly repairs by maintaining your vehicle. Discover when you should change your transmission fluids, car oil and more with our Free Vehicle Maintenance Guide!