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Blog posts of '2023' 'May'

Transmission Fluid: What it Should Not Look Like

transmission fluid

Transmission fluid is an essential part of keeping your vehicle running properly. It is tasked with making the gears shift more seamlessly as it lubricates bearings and other moving parts throughout the unit. 

For the most part, as long as the fluid is routinely changed, it should keep everything running smoothly. But what happens if it’s not? Do you know what transmission fluid should look like? 

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

You don’t have to know much about your transmission, but it is always a good idea to know how to check your transmission fluid. 

Why? Because knowing your fluid levels and color are crucial in maintaining your vehicle. And it can alert you that something is wrong before it gets worse.

Although each automobile varies slightly, below is a general guide on how to check your transmission fluid. 

  • When you are checking fluid levels, you want to make sure your vehicle is on a level surface. 
  • Always check the transmission fluid when the car is warm. So, turn it on, leave it in park, and let it warm up. 
  • Look for the dipstick for your transmission. This is not the one designated for your oil - though you may find the two near each other. 
  • Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a dry, clean rag and then place it back in. Remove it again and look where the level is. There should be indicators that say, “full” or “low.”

If your fluid is low, it needs to be addressed right away. You will want to pay attention to the color, too. Of course, you could always swing by your local transmission shop and have them take a look at your transmission fluid to ensure that all is well. 

What Healthy Transmission Fluid Looks Like

Healthy transmission fluid when it is added is going to look bright red. It is safe to assume that it is new - or like new - when it is this color. And, your transmission should be running well. 

As time passes, the fluid will begin to turn a bit darker red. While it is still ok, you don’t want it to get any darker or turn brown. This is the time you should be contacting your local transmission experts to have your fluid changed. 

What Transmission Should Not Look Like

If you decide to check your transmission fluid on your own, it is imperative that you know what it should not look like. If you pull out that dipstick and you see any of the below, it is time to reach out to your trusted transmission specialist. 

  • Brown. If your transmission fluid is brown, this means that oxidation has begun. You will want to have your transmission serviced. 
  • Dark Brown/Black. As the transmission fluid gets darker it is a sign that it has fully oxidized and is contaminated. This means it is likely causing damage inside your transmission. Immediate attention is required. 
  • Pink fluid or a foam-like fluid. If you see a pink fluid or foam-like fluid when checking on your transmission, this is a sign that it may have moisture in it. This could seriously put the health of your transmission at risk. Immediate attention is required.

Having your transmission cared for routinely is the best way to avoid any of these situations.   

Need Healthy Transmission Fluid? 

If your transmission fluid is the wrong color or if your transmission itself is showing signs that it may be ailing, then it is time to reach out to the pros at Circle D Transmission

We have been serving the transmission needs of residents throughout the greater Houston area since 1976 - and we are here for you. 

Contact us today at (713) 895-7019. Or, schedule an appointment online.

What is a Transmission Solenoid?

transmission solenoid

On average, your car is made up of about 30,000 parts - from the engine itself all the way down to the nuts, bolts, and bearings that keep everything together. And each of these parts works with the others to create the nice ride that you have.

One very necessary component is your transmission. Using a combination of sensors, gears, fluid, and hydraulics, your automobile is very easily able to drive at various speeds with smooth transitions. And much of this is thanks to the transmission solenoid within it. 

A solenoid is a small part with a big role. Let’s take a closer look at what this transmission solenoid is - and how to tell when it is not performing well. 

What is a Transmission Solenoid? 

Simply put, a transmission solenoid controls the flow of fluid throughout a vehicle's transmission system. Often having two or more, these small valves open and close to allow fluid to flow into and throughout the transmission when it is electrically signaled to do so. 

When running smoothly and allowing the flow of transmission fluids, solenoids will let the vehicle's speed accelerate and decelerate smoothly. However, when they aren’t as efficient in moving the fluid - or they stop altogether - problems can occur. 

Being aware of any signs of potential issues with your transmission solenoid should prompt you to seek repairs before things get worse. 

Signs of a Transmission Solenoid Problem

Transmission solenoids are designed to last - some even for the life of the vehicle, But, it is not at all uncommon for them to fail. This is especially true since there are multiple parts that make up the unit. 

Below are a few signs that your transmission solenoid may be struggling: 

  • Delayed Shifting. Your car should automatically switch from gear to gear smoothly as your speed increases and decreases. 
  • Skipping Gears. If there are issues with certain gears, they may be skipped over. This could be due to a bad solenoid. 
  • Unable to Move Out of Gear. If your car is stuck in the same gear and will not shift, this is a big indicator of a bad solenoid. 
  • Check Engine Light. If the check engine light is illuminated on your dash, it is always a good idea to get your car checked as it could be your solenoid. 
  • Sluggishness. If your automobile suddenly seems to lose its ability or gumption to move when you want it to, it could be protecting itself from gear trouble due to a bad solenoid. This is often referred to as limp mode. 

In general, having a bad solenoid will often impact how well (or poorly) a transmission shifts between gears. If you start to notice anything different as you hit the gas - you should have your car examined by a transmission specialist. 

Can You Drive with a Bad Transmission Solenoid?

Continuing to drive an automobile that is showing signs of an ailing transmission solenoid can be dangerous and can lead to bigger issues down the road. For instance, it could cause you to drive in gears that do not match your speed. Doing so can also lead to an overheating - or transmission failure.

In other words, this is never a good idea. 

Having Transmission Solenoid Trouble? 

If you are experiencing signs of trouble with your transmission solenoid, then it is time to contact Circle D Transmission at (713) 895-7019. Or, schedule an appointment online. 

We are here to diagnose an issue with your transmission, as well as offer preventative service to the residents in and around the Houston area.