You are probably wondering what color is transmission fluid, because that’s a pretty important detail you can’t overlook when maintaining your transmission. How else are you going to tell the transmission fluid apart from all the other fluids in your car?Besides the transmission fluid there’s the engine oil, the coolant, the brake fluid. the powering steering fluid, and also the windshield washer fluid. You don’t want to mistake one type of fluid for another do you? That can lead to some pretty serious disasters down the road, like if you were to put engine oil in the transmission reservoir. Lord have mercy, we wouldn’t want that! Well, get on with it then man, what color is transmission fluid?

What Color is Transmission Fluid?

The truth is transmission fluid can be a variety of colors. Nowadays, transmission fluid can be found in different colors such as green, yellow, or blue — although it’s not quite as common. However, the overwhelming majority of transmission fluid is a bright translucent pinkish red, and that is what you will see most commonly. That’s only if it’s new though, colors can vary depending on age and condition as well. As fluid begins to age, it will start to collect contaminants and other unwanted materials which leads to a darker color. Fluid could range anywhere from a bright red to dark red to brown to black. The darker the fluid looks, the more it’s warning you that it needs to be changed.

**Note that anti-freeze and windshield wiper fluid can also be red, so be aware!**

​What Color is Healthy Transmission Fluid?

As we have discussed, new transmission fluid is a vibrant pinkish red that can be seen through. The reason why transmission fluid is dyed red is so that car owners won’t mistake it for another fluid. So there’s really no special reason why transmission fluid is red other than for identification. However, transmission fluid in running vehicles will usually be a darker red, which is normal and indicates age. But color should not be your only measurement of healthy fluid, smell and consistency are equally important factors that you should take into account. You can read our little tutorial on how to check transmission fluid, which explains everything you should look for in transmission fluid. But for the most part, fluid that is red usually means that it’s healthy and working properly.

What Color is Worn Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid that shows a brownish tint indicates that it is old and worn. This color often suggests that it’s been a while since you changed the fluid, and you’ve been packing on a number of miles since. Also, check to make sure the fluid does not smell burnt as this could indicate that there are problems. When you are checking the transmission fluid, a light brown means that you should be thinking of getting it serviced soon, while a color closer to dark brown usually means the fluid is no longer effective and should be changed as soon as possible. We often suggest that you get the fluid changed before it turns into a dark brown, because it’s better to be safe than sorry and you don’t want to take any risks running on worn out fluid. Our recommendation is that you get the fluid changed when it’s light brown, but keep in mind that the color isn’t always the most reliable indicator. Your best sign should be the last time you had the fluid and filter changed. If you drive an automatic vehicle, what happens sometimes is that fluid can still remain in the torque converter even after a fluid change, and the old fluid mixes with the new resulting in a brownish tint. So if you got the fluid changed recently you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, but remember to log the miles down in order to keep track. Most automotive experts recommend getting the fluid changed every 30,000 miles.

What Color is Bad Transmission Fluid?

Finally a color that is black or smells burnt usually means that problems have developed. This is the last thing you want to deal with and you should prevent fluid from ever getting to this stage. Who knows what kinds of problems have already occurred, but if left alone the transmission will fail soon. We suggest getting your car serviced at this point, however there is no guarantee that it can be saved. If failure occurs your only options left are either repair, replacement, or another car altogether, all of which won’t be cheap.
Step 2. Check the transmission fluid

Checking the transmission fluid will be the next thing you’ll want to do, since the majority of transmission problems are caused by either low fluid levels or ineffective fluid. So, with that in mind, make sure you check both the levels and the fluid condition. If you don’t know how to check transmission fluid yet, here’s our useful tutorial on the process. Low fluid levels will mean that you’ll have to add more of the transmission fluid that is specified in the owner’s manual, while fluid that is contaminated, black, or burnt will require a complete fluid and filter change.

Step 3. Check on-board diagnostic codes

If the transmission fluid looks okay, or adding or changing the fluid hasn’t helped to solve the problem(s), the next step in automatic transmission troubleshooting is to check your car’s on-board computer for any OBD codes. There are a few places that offers free scans such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts (you could even try repair shops around your area), although they will only provide you with the OBD codes that come up. You can also purchase your own OBD scanner if you are going to use it frequently, and a few good, reasonably priced ones include the Autel MaxiScan MS300 and the Actron PocketScan. There are even apps that you can use with an Android phone (e.g. Torque Pro). If you are looking to find out what a specific OBD code is including repair advice, offers lots of information on this topic.

Step 4. Refer to a repair manual or website

If no OBD codes pop up or you can’t find any solutions to it, what you’ll want to do next is refer to a repair manual or website for your particular vehicle’s make and model. Repair manuals often go much more in-depth although you’ll have to pay for them, and popular options include Haynes and All Data DIY. There are auto repair help websites online as well, which either offers free information the best transmission repair ... us...

Step 5. Have a professional look at it

The last thing to do if all other transmission troubleshooting methods have failed is to have a professional transmission specialist look at your car. There are just some things that someone with more experience can help solve, and this is also recommended if a problem is too complicated to fix yourself.



​Once the transmission is out of your vehicle, we hook the cooler lines to our Hot Flush Machine. The machine is filled with ATF {automatic transmission fluid} that we heat to about 170 degrees. Hot oil is an excellent carrying agent of debris. The thick consistency of it actually grabs hold of foreign material and carries it with it. The Molecules surround the debris, preventing it from becoming attached to its surroundings. The detergents in ATF also help to clean away varnish when under agitation. 

The only way to dislodge the material that gets caught in the webbing of the cooler is by completely reversing the flow for a micro second. That split second creates TURBULENCE and is just enough to dislodge that debris.

Solvents, which other machines use, do little to carry away debris that are under these conditions. It actually dries up the environment that the debris is in, causing it to cling to its surroundings.

The problem that technicians face is that they can't see inside, or take the cooler apart and clean it. They can't see the debris and they can't get it with a tool. A contaminated cooler will cause the transmission to fail! 

With 'Traditional' methods of flushing all they can do, at best, is guess whether or not the cooler is clean.

Our Hot flush machine, with a high speed, computer controlled flushing action is the only way to remove the debris that gets caught in the thousands of 'traps' inside the cooler. Combine that with the patented process of being able to see the debris as it gets caught in the 28 micron checkable catch screen and we eliminate the guessing all together!  
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The Basics of Automatic Transmission Troubleshooting

To perform automatic transmission troubleshooting as accurately and cost-effectively as possible, you should follow these steps in order before you decide to bring your car to the shop. If the problem is too advanced to fix yourself, pin-pointing the exact cause can still help to make repairs easier on you as well as the shop.

Step 1. Try to determine the problem first

Since you understand how your vehicle should feel and operate more than any other person, try to determine what the problem is firsthand. For example, look under your car for any leaks, shift between gears for any issues, or determine whether gears are slipping. Here’s a useful chart of common problems and what causes them:

THE Best     transmission ​repair


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