What Causes Transmission Fluid Leaks?

What Causes Transmission Fluid Leaks?

October 15, 2022

Transmission leaks are costly problems with vehicles, and they usually end up with the driver needing to visit a transmission repair shop. These are some reasons transmissions leak and what you can do if you notice you have such an issue.

A Bad Transmission Gasket

Bad transmission gaskets are common causes of fluid leaks. Gaskets are rubber items that seal the area between the transmission pan and the transmission. These items can wear over time and start leaking when they degrade. Alternatively, they can leak if someone performs a transmission repair and removes and reinstalls the pan without replacing the seal with a new one. 

A Damaged Transmission Pan

Damage to the transmission pan can cause leaks to occur as well. Pan damage can happen from accidents, improper jacking, or running over hard objects with the car by mistake. Transmission pans can also get rusty with no one’s interference. Another way a transmission pan can leak is if a mechanic uses an inappropriate method to remove it and bends it as a result.

The bend causes an uneven seal, allowing the fluid to seep freely. A damaged pan will need to be replaced at a reliable transmission shop before the leak stops. Most likely, it had shifted in a way that separated it from its seal and left a hole between the pan and the transmission. 

Damaged or Loose Transmission Plug

Transmission plugs can also leak if someone performs a service and doesn’t tighten them appropriately. The O-ring on the plug can wear and allow fluid to leak through, too. Your vehicle may or may not have a transmission plug, and if it does, you could likely develop a transmission leak from that area one day. 

Rusted Pipe Lines

Some transmission systems have fluid coolers. If you have one, you have pipes that lead to the cooler in front of the vehicle. All pipes are prone to rusting, and rusting typically causes holes to appear in the pipes. If you see a transmission leak, it might not be coming from the pan, as you suspect. You’ll need to look and see if you have cooler lines and then inspect them. You could have a rusted area in one of the pipes causing your fluid to leak out. 

What To Do if You Spot a Transmission Leak

The most important thing is to ensure that you keep transmission fluid in your car until you can get the repair done. Ensure you check the owner’s manual and refill your fluid with the right kind. Some newer cars aren’t set up in a way to easily top off the transmission fluid. In that case, you will need to get your vehicle towed to a specialized transmission repair shop. 

Try to find the location of the fluid leak so you can relay that information to the technician when your car arrives at the shop. Then contact a reliable transmission repair shop with a strong reputation and positive customer reviews. 

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