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Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms

Experiencing strange noises from under your car’s hood? It’s possible that low transmission fluid is to blame. If you’re unsure about the cause of the issue, you’re not alone. However, being aware of the low transmission fluid symptoms can help you diagnose the problem. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the signs of low transmission fluid and what you can do about it.


1. Gurgling

The gurgling noise is a common indication of low transmission fluid, often caused by excess air in the transmission line. If you hear a gurgling sound, especially when shifting gears, it’s important to check your fluid levels and have the issue addressed by a certified technician as soon as possible to avoid damage to your transmission.

2. Burning Smell

Does your car smell like a campfire? Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out why. An overheating transmission is often the cause of this pungent odor, and having low fluid levels increases friction between components that ultimately corrodes your system. Keep an eye on any burning smells coming from under the hood before they lead you to complete vehicular disaster!

Is there any smoke or steam coming from the vehicle when the smell is present?

If you notice any smoke or steam coming from the vehicle when the smell is present, it may be a sign that you need to replace your transmission fluid sooner rather than later.

3. Transmission Leaks

Have you noticed any wetness under your car? If so, it could be due to a transmission leak! Transmission fluid is essential for the lubrication and cleaning of seals in your vehicle’s system – if left unchecked, these leaks can result in more serious problems. Your best bet is to contact an authorized dealer right away; they’ll help determine whether there are failed hoses or gaskets that need replacing before things get worse.


Where is the leak coming from (front, rear, sides, etc.)?

The location of the leak can help narrow down the cause. If your transmission fluid is leaking from the front, it’s likely a sign of a bad seal or gasket. Alternatively, if it’s coming from the rear, it could be due to a worn-out bearing or shaft.

Is the fluid red in color?

Transmission fluid should be red-ish in color and have a sweet, syrupy smell. If it looks dark or discolored, this could indicate that the fluid is old and needs to be changed out as soon as possible.

Related: Common Causes of Black Transmission Fluid

4. Slipping Gears

One issue you want to keep an eye out for is slipping gears. When a car’s transmission is healthy, shifting gears should be a breeze. However, if you feel a grinding sensation while you drive or notice that the gears are missing, this could be a sign that the car is having transmission trouble. This might initially seem like a minor issue, but it’s important to address it early on. A small repair now can save you from much bigger expenses in the future.

5. Slow Gear Engagement

As a buyer, it is essential to keep yourself knowledgeable about the workings of your vehicle. One issue you might encounter with your transmission is slow engagement when you go from drive to reverse mode, and it could be due to low fluid levels. Experts suggest that this issue – along with gear slippage – can happen when there is not enough transmission fluid. This leads to a low level of pressure in the system, which results in slower gear shifting.

6. Vehicle Accelerates Poorly

If it feels like your car is having trouble getting up to speed, low transmission fluid could be the culprit. An insufficient amount of transmission fluid can cause resistance in your system and cause you to have a slower acceleration than usual.

Does the acceleration issue occur only during initial acceleration or at all times?

If the issue occurs at all times, it could be due to a clogged filter or damaged solenoids. These components can cause resistance in the system, which may reduce acceleration power. It’s best to have your transmission checked out by an experienced technician if you notice this type of issue.

Does the issue occur only during uphill driving or at all times?

If the issue only occurs when driving uphill, it could be due to a worn-out torque converter. Replacing the torque converter may restore your vehicle’s power and reduce any acceleration difficulty you’re experiencing when going uphill.

7. Warning Light

Finally, if you notice that the transmission warning light has come on, it’s time to take your vehicle in for a checkup. This could be indicative of any number of issues – from low fluid levels to more serious problems with your car’s system.

Related: How Long Do Transmissions Last

Can I just add transmission fluid?

Low-Transmission-Fluid-Symptoms (1)
Low-Transmission-Fluid-Symptoms (1)
Ensuring your vehicle’s automatic transmission fluid is at the appropriate level is crucial for its overall performance. You can easily add more fluid by inserting a funnel into the tube where the dipstick was withdrawn from and pouring a small amount in at a time, checking the level each time until it’s between the two lines.
Just remember to add fluid while the engine is running in the proper gear for checking fluid levels. If your transmission has been drained, be prepared to use 4-12 quarts of fluid to fill it up (it’s always best to reference your vehicle service manual for the recommended type and amount of fluid).
If the transmission fluid is very low, be sure to keep a careful eye out for leaks. Plan to add about a pint at a time before checking the level again.


All in all, we can say that when a vehicle is experiencing low transmission fluid symptoms, it is important to address the issue right away. Ignoring or putting off such a problem can easily lead to more serious issues such as transmission failure and costly repairs.

We hope this article provided some useful information regarding the noticeable signs of low transmission fluid. If you think the issue might be bigger than anticipated, contact a professional for an accurate diagnosis and repair plan. Finally, thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on low transmission fluid symptoms today!

1 thought on “Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms”

  1. Transmissions might slip, leading to heat buildup that can ultimately damage the transmission. If the transmission fluid is very low, the car may cease to move or experience slipping between shifts, among other issues.


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