What Color Is Transmission Fluid? It Can Tell A Lot About Your Transmission Status!

Your transmission fluid might appear in many colors, each of which has its own meaning. It might even aid in diagnosing a transmission issue and provide a clue about your car’s condition. If you want to know, “What color is transmission fluid?” and are interested in different fluid colors’ meanings, our Driverevolve post is for you.

What Is Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid is a dedicated lube designed to combat deterioration within the inner gearcase of a transmission. This lubricant travels throughout a gearbox, protecting metal parts from eroding and conditioning different valves and gaskets. Transmission fluid also acts as a cooler, wicking heat away from the transmission as it works its way.

Transmission fluid, in most situations, also serves as a hydraulic liquid, enabling clutch packs and torque converter interaction. As a result, this liquid must be highly sheer-resistant and unable to compress.

This lubricant composition typically depends on whether transmission has an automatic or manual mechanism. The fundamental variation between these 2 lubricants is the anti-wear chemical combination employed.

What Color Is Transmission Fluid?

The transmission fluid is red in hue, and it’s for a valid reason. This lubricant is pigmented red to aid the detection of contaminants. A detailed analysis is tricky as it is usually translucent without this pigment.

Transmission lubricant becomes more viscous after getting colored red, making even the most modest shade shifts easy to notice. As a result, you can utilize the tone of this lubricant as a reasonably trustworthy sign of your transmission’s condition and status.

Car Fluid Color Chart: What Does The Color Tell About Your Transmission Status? 

The shade of a car’s transmission fluid may offer a great deal of information. People with a great eye may examine the shade and viscosity of their car’s transmission fluid to evaluate its condition.

The shade of a car's transmission fluid may offer a great deal of information. People with a great eye may examine the shade and viscosity of their car's transmission fluid to evaluate its condition.
The transmission fluid can appear in many colors. – CarTreatments

The next is a summary of many possible transmission fluid shades and what each shade suggests.

Fluid ColorCondition/Necessary Actions
Bright Red– Excellent
– No actions needed
Dark Red– Still good
– Regular check-ups needed
Brown – There is a problem
– A transmission flush needed
Dark Brown/ Black– Burnt fluid/ Overheated transmission
– Professional check-ups needed
Pink– There are moistures in your transmission
– Change the transmission fluid/Clean your transmission 

Bright Red

The shade of the new transmission lubricant is often vibrant red. Although the intensity of this red shade may fade over time, this lubricant should be similar to its original tone and viscosity if there is no technical issue.

Maintenance is only required at a minimal level if a car’s transmission fluid remains in its vibrant red tone. However, you should adhere to factory-specified frequency.

Dark Red

Transmission fluid frequently turns into a noticeable deeper shade as it ages. This is, after all, nothing to worry about because such color fluctuations are reasonably expected. However, some levels of proactive activity are necessary.

Car drivers should consider arranging a transmission fluid replacement at this time, notably if their car has passed its factory-specified maintenance time duration from the latest fluid changing time. Such services can dramatically increase the longevity of practically any transmission.
Transmission fluid turns into dark red as time passes by. – Pawlik Automotive

Car drivers should consider arranging a transmission fluid replacement at this time, notably if their car has passed its factory-specified maintenance time duration from the latest fluid changing time. Such services can dramatically increase the longevity of practically any transmission.

Brown

The presence of brown transmission fluid shows that oxidizing has commenced. As a result, your car’s transmission fluid is short of essential chemicals that preserve its consistency and minimize wear.

A transmission fluid flush is advisable in the nearish term if brown or similarly murky transmission fluid is detected. Without timely treatment, this issue can quickly deteriorate.
Brown often signifies that oxidization has started. – OnAllCylinders

A transmission fluid flush is advisable in the nearish term if brown or similarly murky transmission fluid is detected. Without timely treatment, this issue can quickly deteriorate.

Dark Brown/Black 

Extremely deep brown or black transmission fluid is always a bad sign. This means that your transmission fluid is heavily polluted and frequently deteriorated. As a result, essential lubricating is drastically insufficient, and inner transmission is on the horizon.

A fluid of these shades also has a "charred" stench. A complete system flush is necessary right away. In the lack of this function, "slipping" can occur quickly.
Black transmission fluid means you should take quick actions. – AMSOIL Blog 

A fluid of these shades also has a “charred” stench. A complete system flush is necessary right away. In the lack of this function, “slipping” can occur quickly.

Pink

The sight of pink transmission fluid indicates that considerable humidity has reached the mechanism.

In most situations, this indicates the existence of a bad or otherwise contaminated transmission fluid. The introduction of car refrigerant to transmission fluid dramatically reduces lubricant fluidity.

In cases like this, time is crucial. You should change the transmission fluid coolant in your car and clean any dirty components as soon as feasible.

3 Ways To Check Your Transmission Fluid Condition 

Use A Dipstick And Compare It With The Car Fluid Color Chart

To utilize the knowledge mentioned above and the car fluid color chart, you must initially identify the shade of the transmission lubricant in your mechanism or torque converter. To accomplish this, take the following steps:

  • Take your gearbox dipstick and open the hood of your car.
  • Dip the stick into the filler pipe and get the testing sample.
  • Evaluate the shade of the fluid.

Assess the fluid shade by attentively inspecting the liquid on the dipped tip of the dipstick. Pour a few drops on a clean white sheet to acquire a more precise color assessment.

Match this shade to the one similar to it the most on the fluid color table above.

Smell The Fluid

Your transmission has been overworked if this lubricant has deteriorated and possesses a burned stench. The eventual outcome is inadequate lubrication, higher traction, excessive temperature, and severe corrosion or degradation to inner components and gaskets. 

Most of the time, burnt-smelling transmission fluid indicates that some interior damage has already happened.

Do A Blotter Test 

Wait 30 seconds after putting a few drops of ATF on a clean napkin. No treatment is necessary if the fluid has extended and is red or light brown.

This fluid deteriorates if it does not expand and is darker. A fluid and filter replacement or flush is necessary for this circumstance.

Wrapping Up 

What color is transmission fluid? Now, you know it’s bright red. However, there will be lots of changes in color throughout time, which will also help us examine our transmission’s health and identify the issues (if there are any). Once in a while, it’s also advisable to get your car checked by a professional to keep it in its top condition! 

For more knowledge of car parts, refer to our Fun Autopart section.

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