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How to Avoid Transmission Overheating?

Are you worried about transmission overheating? While your vehicle is made to sustain high temperatures, if the heat gets too intense it can cause major damage. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent costly repairs and keep your car running smoothly.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what might be causing transmission overheating in cars and how you can go about fixing it. Keep reading for all the information you need to know and keep your vehicles safe from deterioration!


Transmission Temperature Warnings

Transmission temperature warnings are important to pay attention to when driving your vehicle. This warning often appears as a light or computer notification, letting you know if the transmission fluid is too hot. If this occurs, it’s crucial to pull over and allow the vehicle to cool down. While waiting, make note of anything unusual, such as strange noises or changes while driving.

Once you’re back on the road, proceed cautiously. However, if the problem persists, it might be best to call for roadside assistance. This will ensure your safety and help prevent any further damage to your vehicle’s transmission.


What Causes Transmission Overheating?

There are several factors that can cause transmission overheating, including:

Transmission Fluid Problems

Transmission overheating is a mechanical issue that can cause serious damage to your vehicle if not addressed promptly. In most cases, transmission fluid problems are the main culprit behind this problem. Overheating can occur due to a variety of issues, such as low fluid levels, fluid leaking from the system, or dirty fluid clogging the transmission.

It’s not uncommon to find excess fluid in some vehicles as well, which can cause too much pressure within the transmission, resulting in overheating.

Related: Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms

Driving in Hot Weather

Another common cause of transmission overheating is driving in hot weather. During summer months, the temperature outside can put a strain on your vehicle’s engine and transmission.

If you notice that your car is struggling with the heat, it’s best to take breaks when possible and try to drive during cooler parts of the day.

Towing Heavy Loads

Towing heavy loads can also put extra pressure on the transmission and cause it to overheat. If you’re planning on towing a trailer or large load, make sure your vehicle is up for the task by having your car serviced and inspected before heading out.

Driving in Heavy Traffic

Driving in heavy traffic can also cause your transmission to overheat. When stuck in traffic, try to avoid constantly shifting from drive to reverse as this puts additional strain on the transmission.

Related: Common Causes of Black Transmission Fluid


Signs of an Overheating Transmission

Transmission-Overheating (1)
Transmission-Overheating (1)

There are many signs of an overheating transmission, including:

  • Burning odor inside and outside the vehicle
  • Gears start “slipping” while accelerating or decelerating
  • Hesitation or delayed gear shifts when driving
  • Grinding or shaking sensations during acceleration or idle
  • Erratic shifting of gears
  • Warning lights or messages on the dashboard
  • Hard, jerky or shaky shift changes in automatic transmissions


What To Do If Transmission Is Overheating

Transmission-Overheating (2)
Transmission-Overheating (2)

When you notice your transmission temperature starting to rise, it’s crucial to stop driving immediately and let it cool down. Take note of your surroundings, what you were doing, and any noises you may have heard before experiencing the issue. After cooling down, start your vehicle back up and continue your journey, but be sure to do so gingerly.

If the temperature starts to rise again, try reducing the load on your vehicle if possible or call a tow truck and head to a local transmission repair shop to prevent any catastrophic damage.


How to Prevent Excessive Transmission Heat from Destroying Your Transmission

  • Regularly check transmission fluid level and quality, and use the correct type of ATF recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Get a standard transmission service every 30,000-60,000 miles.
  • Address any signs of trouble immediately by taking care of minor repairs or getting the vehicle inspected at an auto care shop.
  • Install an external cooling system and/or a deeper transmission pan if living in an area with extreme temperatures.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s towing guidelines and avoid overloading the vehicle, as this can put extra strain on the transmission.

Related: How Often to Change Transmission Fluid

FAQs about Transmission Overheating

How hot is normal for transmission?

If you’ve ever wondered what kind of temperature an automatic transmission should normally be running at, the answer is about 195°F – roughly the same as your engine’s. But if you’re pulling a heavy load from standing still, watch out: The torque converter can heat up quickly to over 350°F!

What is the ideal transmission temperature?

To keep your car running smoothly, TCI recommends keeping the transmission temperature between 175 and 225 degrees. Push it much higher than that, and you risk damaging important additives in ATF!

How hot can a transmission get before damage?

Well, when temperatures reach 220 degrees and higher, it’s time to start worrying! From that point on for every 20 degree increase in heat bad things begin happening. We’re talking about everything from varnish buildup at 240 degrees all the way up to carbon formation and ultimate failure if we don’t cool off soon enough.

How far can you drive with a hot transmission?

We don’t recommend driving more than ¼ mile if your car’s running warm, though some could push it to 20 miles – but that’s risky business.

What happens if my transmission temp is too high?

When your transmission temperature rises to an excessive level of 240 degrees, it can lead to some serious damage! Seals harden and plates slip which can cause seals and clutches too burn out. Carbon buildup is also a common issue that could result in ultimate failure if not managed correctly.

Does idling cool a transmission?

If you’re like most drivers and find yourself stuck in traffic often, it may be time to pull over. Idling isn’t helping your transmission cool down as effectively because the fluid can build up more heat from a slower circulation rate – which means less lubrication for those important parts!

Does transmission affect engine temperature?

Your engine and transmission are like brothers in arms – when one is feeling the heat, so is the other. It’s up to your cooling system to keep them both running at a comfortable temperature. If you’ve noticed things heating up more than usual under the hood lately it could very well be connected!

Can overheating a car destroy an engine?

According to experts, if the engine gets too hot it can cause a piston to weld itself into its cylinder – resulting in an irreparable damage and leaving you with little more than scrap metal.

Can a engine be saved after overheating?

It depends on how extensive the damage is and whether or not you’ve caught it in time. For example, if the head gasket failed due to overheating then it can most likely be saved with a timely repair. But if the pistons melted away then unfortunately there’s little that can be done. In such cases, all you can do is invest in a new engine.



Transmission overheating is a common issue that can cause severe and expensive damage to your vehicle if not addressed in time. Knowing the signs of an overheating transmission and following the tips above can help you avoid this problem, ensuring a safe and smooth ride.

If your car is showing any of the symptoms listed above or if you’re unsure about anything related to your transmission, don’t hesitate to bring it in for professional servicing as soon as possible. Doing so will save you from costly repairs down the road and keep your vehicle running longer.

1 thought on “How to Avoid Transmission Overheating?”

  1. Automatic transmissions can overheat for various reasons, such as poor engineering, maintenance, or driving habits. To address this issue, there are several remedies to consider.

    First, it is advisable to have your car and transmission inspected by a professional mechanic. This will help identify any potential problems or leaks, such as low transmission fluid or debris in the auxiliary transmission cooler.

    If you frequently tow heavy loads, it may be necessary to install an auxiliary cooler to prevent overheating. Many vehicles come with a “tow package” that includes this feature, so it is important not to overlook its importance.

    Additionally, regular maintenance of the transmission, including fluid changes and filter replacements, can greatly improve its performance. Checking the transmission temperature sensor is also recommended, as it may affect the overall function of the transmission.

    Keep in mind that if your vehicle is no longer under warranty, addressing transmission issues may require some financial investment on your part. However, neglecting these problems could lead to further damage and costlier repairs in the long run.

    Lastly, if you own a vehicle with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), it may be prone to premature failure due to the way it has been engineered by most manufacturers.

    In summary, automatic transmissions can overheat for various reasons, but with proper maintenance, regular inspections, and necessary modifications, you can minimize the risk and potential expenses associated with this issue.


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