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What causes a transmission fluid leak in a vehicle?

Category : FAQ · by

April 15, 2018

Transmission fluid leak is a problem that doesn’t occur more often in vehicles. And, there is a pretty good chance that you will notice this issue after a long time of its occurrence. It is a rare problem in which the gasket, seal or a hose start to leak small amounts of transmission fluid.

Most of the time vehicle owners take notice of this issue only when the mechanical condition of a vehicle gets worse. However, it is a very rare situation that you will have a broken or cracked gasket leaking. After leaking the fluid usually flow away from the transmission oil pan or race down a transmission cooler line and splits on the ground.

Even after this, you may not be able to detect that its transmission fluid. When you observe the red spots on the ground it would have been just a few weeks that your transmission is leaking. You will observe a decreased fluid level and you will need to fix the transmission leak.

oil leaking issues

What would cause transmission fluid to leak?

In the transmission system of an automobile, there are a number points that need to be sealed tightly. There are a number of spots that you can look for in your transmission fluid leakage:

  • Transmission cooler hoses

In advance vehicles there are automatic transmissions in which fluid is cooled down by passing it through a device which looks like a radiator and is located behind the front grille. The transmission cooler is usually nourished by the steel lines and rubber produced by the transmission. And., most often a leakage may develop at various joins along the transmission cooler hoses.

  • Valve body

This is the part where shifts are controlled inside the transmission. In automobiles like the 4WDs the body of the valve is connected to the side of the case it appears just like an oil pan at the bottom. In this a gasket can develop a fluid leak.

  • Transmission oil pan

The oil pan is usually located at the automatic transmission bottom. It serves as a reservoir from where the transmission fluid is taken out and returns. It is sealed with a gasket or silicone and bolted to the transmission case. When the oil pan gasket starts deteriorating the fluid start leaking from it.

  • Axle shaft seal

The axle shaft or driveshaft is attached to the transmission and provide power to the drive wheels. A seal used at a point where the shaft enters the transmission in order to keep the fluid on the right side. However, the seal can get damaged or even break down over years, due to which the fluid begin leaking.

It doesn’t matter what is the cause of your transmission fluid leaking, you will need to repair it anyways.

How do you repair a transmission fluid leak?

It is wise to detect the leak sooner and get it fixed quickly as it can make a huge difference in the overall repair costs. In fact, if you keep on driving your vehicle on a low transmission fluid level for a long time, it can lead to severe damage.  However, the transmission leak repair can be a small issue in most situations.  For instance, the transmission oil pan can be sealed again and a new fluid can be installed which would cost only a few dollars.

It is advisable to change the transmission fluid when you take your vehicle for routinely service and maintenance. The same can be said for the leak in transmission cooler hose or an axle shaft seal. It may take only a few hours to repair it and about 100 dollars to get into a good condition. But if you choose to neglect this problem, then the transmission in your automobile could start to slip. This will put you in big trouble and you may even cost a large amount of money to get fixed. In such cases you can go for extensive transmission rebuild.

Additionally, whatever problem you encounter, it is a good idea to remove the dirty fluid from your transmission and replace it with a new one. This process is referred as a transmission flush because it involves the removal of all the contaminants and metal filings.

How much does it cost to do a transmission flush?

It is generally based on the type of automobile you are using and the quantity and type of fluid used in it. Basically, a typical automatic transmission can consume up to 71/2 quarts of fluid. In addition to this, you will also need 2 or 3 quarts of fluid in the torque converter and lines. The automobiles of premium brands usually need special type of fluids in their transmission. While a continuously variable transmission will need a very little and more costly fluid.

You can also perform the transmission flush when getting the transmission fixed. The transmission flush would cost anywhere between $100 to $500 or more for expensive automobiles.

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