What Are The Symptoms Of Low Transmission Fluid?

May 27, 2020 | By Mister Transmission

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Transmission Fluid?

Keeping a sufficient level of transmission fluid is crucial. If you drive with insufficient transmission fluid, you run the risk of compromising road safety, destroying critical system components, and having to pay exorbitant repair and part replacement costs.

Fortunately, transmission fluid is relatively cheap, and keeping yours at the optimal level is easy, especially if you know how to spot the signs of fluid shortages.

Read on to learn some transmission fluid fundamentals, and find how to spot the signs of low transmission fluid before it costs you an arm-and-a-leg and contact a Mister Transmission technician to book a free inspection and same-day quote at a shop near you.

Transmission fluid fundamentals: 6 reasons to stay on the level

Automatic transmission fluid is the life blood of the automatic transmission. It is also used in continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) and occasionally in manual transmissions, though the latter more commonly uses transmission oil. In all cases, transmission fluids play a similar role, keeping your system running as intended and increasing the service life of critical components by:

  • Lubricating your vehicle’s mechanical parts
  • Maintaining fluid pressure
  • Cooling your transmission system
  • Preventing aeration
  • Conditioning the gasket
  • Preventing rust formation

Given this wide range of benefits, it should come as no surprise that low levels of transmission fluid can cause all sorts of problems. And the more you know about these problems and their warning signs, the greater your odds of preventing minor issues from snowballing into major expenses and safety concerns.

Read on to learn more, or contact your local Mister Transmission to speak directly with a certified transmission specialist near you.

Save on transmission service: 7 signs of low transmission fluid

Insufficient transmission fluid can cause or contribute to a whole host of problems, some of which can be detected without any special training or equipment. To save on transmission service, watch out for the following low-fluid warning signs:

  • Slow Gear Engagement
    With a low level of transmission fluid comes low levels of pressure. This can mean that your transmission is slow to engage when you shift gears. If you find that your transmission takes a second to engage into drive or reverse, it’s time to check your transmission fluid level.
  • Problems Shifting Gears
    Slow gear engagement isn’t the only problem you might encounter when you try to gear up or down. If you feel any resistance, grinding, or friction when you try to shift, something’s awry, and there’s a good chance that low transmission fluid is to blame.
  • Transmission Overheating
    As the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire! While your transmission system may not burst into flames, low fluid can create excess friction and heat that causes varnish to form on metal parts, seals to harden, and clutches/transmission bands to slip.
  • Warning Light Turns On
    If your “Check Engine” light turns on, there’s a chance that your transmission system is acting up. Of course, there could be many other causes, so we recommend looking for symptom clusters (i.e. two or more symptoms of insufficient transmission fluid) to confirm, or booking a free road test and multicheckto pinpoint the problem.
  • Slipping Gears
    Sometimes, instead of making it too hard to shift gears, low transmission fluid causes the opposite problem, making it so shift-sensitive that it slips out of gear on its own, without any input from the driver. As you might have guessed, this is a serious problem, one that can jeopardize road safety for you and nearby drivers. This usually occurs shortly after you have switched gears and it usually slips into neutral, but not always. Again, low transmission fluid can cause this because of low hydraulic pressure.
  • Funny Noises
    Your transmission will often tell you if something is wrong, as long as you know how to listen. Fortunately, even a transmission tyro will have no problem determining when something’s awry—it just sounds wrong, even to an inexperienced ear. Manual transmissions tend to clunk and grind, whereas automatic transmissions whine, whir, and hum. If you hear any of these odd noises while you’re behind the wheel, you could have a faulty transmission on your hands, and low transmission fluid may be at the root of the problem. But you’ll need to contact a transmission professional to know for sure.
  • Transmission Fluid Where It’s Not Supposed to Be
    Another way you can tell if you have low transmission fluid is if the fluid is not where it’s supposed to be, e.g., on your driveway. If you see patches of reddish liquid leaking out of your vehicle and pooling under your car, you could be low on transmission fluid, and additional repairs may be needed.

Where to fill up on transmission fluid near me: Call Mister Transmission

With Mister Transmission on your team, maintaining the correct transmission fluid levels is easy.

For your convenience, we offer:

To book a free transmission road test and multicheck, and get a same-day quote on any service, you can:

image-reviews image-reviews
Customer Reviews
Ken is a great guy...
Ken is a great guy to deal with, very helpful and honest. Thank you
Date: September 23, 2022
Website: Google
Wes was very knowledgeable and...
Mike Webster
Wes was very knowledgeable and helpful and kept me informed throughout the repair. It was a pleasure to deal with such a professional automotive repair shop. I wholeheartedly recommend them for any transmission issues.
Date: September 22, 2022
Website: Google
Our car broke down upon...
Virginia Tang
Our car broke down upon when we return home. End up car need to get tow to this store. Staff are very friendly and owner PJ is very helpful. He explained very clear about the problem and shown his expertise.They really relieved our stress.
Date: September 22, 2022
Website: Google
Chris and his staff provided...
Glenn Gibbons
Chris and his staff provided excellent service. Quickly diagnosed problem ,clearly explained the repair. estimate was accurate and vehicle was repaired in time framed promised. highly recommend them .
Date: September 22, 2022
Website: Google
Very happy with Carlo and...
Malcolm Ogley
Very happy with Carlo and the work he does. He has worked on both my vehicles and no issues. Will keep going back
Date: September 21, 2022
Website: Google
Great service and friendly staff....
Neal Woelinga
Great service and friendly staff. Definitely will come for servicing my truck again
Date: September 21, 2022
Website: Google
Had a great experience from...
TJ Deering
Had a great experience from the first phone call, very friendly staff. Highly recommended!
Date: September 21, 2022
Website: Google
I have a Toyota rav4...
Kashmir Maan
I have a Toyota rav4 2013 Symptoms were , low speed shudder between 35-45 Km Dealer told me that it has problem with torque converter .So it has to be replaced . the cost would be $2000 . Suddenly I called Mr Giorgio .He at once ask me to come to his shop . He took test drive . Then he told me he will fix it without changing torque converter . He did it . He saved me $1650 and did an excellent job . I am fully satisfied with his services . He is a very professional and honest person . I would highly recommend that you visit Giorgio and his team for assistance with any issues you may have with your auto
Date: September 20, 2022
Website: Google
Sean is amazing. Very sincere...
Patti Mckay
Sean is amazing. Very sincere and honest. I highly reccomend this location. I trust them 100%. Thank you.
Date: September 20, 2022
Website: Google
Highly recommend this location! I...
Scott Bullock
Highly recommend this location! I don't normally post these but Ken was extremely helpful with my repair. He answered every one of my questions. If your car has a problem, go to this location, Ken will fix your problem
Date: September 20, 2022
Website: Google
Featured Services
Transmission Repair

The evolution of transmissions has made these machines and systems increasingly complex. When transmission repairs are required, determining the cause and cure for what ails can be tricky.

Read More
Transmission Technology

At Mister Transmission we have access to leading-edge diagnostic equipment, enabling us to offer you the fastest and most accurate findings about what’s going on inside your vehicle’s transmission.

Read More
Transmission Maintenance & Service

Just as you have other parts of your car serviced, your transmission needs maintenance to ensure a long life and avoid transmission problems.

Read More
Recent Blogs
What Services Do High-Performance Transm...
If you demand a higher level of performance from your transmission, it needs a higher
Read More
August 12, 2022
What Is Transmission Oil, And What Do Yo...
Discover what transmission oil is, what it does, what transmissions use transmission
Read More
August 5, 2022
What Are Technological Diagnostics For T...
Discover what you need to know about technological diagnostics, why they’re
Read More
July 29, 2022
Transmission Service & Maintenance ...
It’s not always easy to get transmission service and maintenance right, but we at
Read More
July 22, 2022
Trust Your Automotive Fleet Maintenance ...
Maintaining and repairing your fleet of automotives has to be top of mind as a
Read More
June 23, 2022
The Big Question Regarding Transmission ...
The transmission is one of the most essential and highly complex parts of any
Read More
June 16, 2022
Important Facts About Transmission Fluid...
The transmission is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. It is directly
Read More
June 9, 2022
Common Transmission Problems: The Transm...
One of the most common problems people tend to experience with their transmissions is
Read More
June 2, 2022
Mister Transmission: Your Transmission T...
Everything seems to be computerized these days and automobiles are no different,
Read More
May 18, 2022
3 Common Transmission Repairs
Transmissions are complex pieces of machinery and there’s a lot that can go wrong
Read More
May 11, 2022