What the Color of Transmission Fluid Tells About Your Car

Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid color says a lot about your car. A new transmission fluid has a distinct color before you add it to your car. After several miles and lots of roads you have traveled, the transmission fluid will certainly change color, and this will suggest something about your car.

You will know on this article the color of the transmission fluid before and after it undergoes rigid process inside your car and other facts about this helpful liquid.

What transmission fluid does?

The transmission fluid lubricates your transmission system so it functions smoothly with minimal of friction. The Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) also acts as a coolant for vehicles with self-shifting or automatic transmissions. For vehicles with manual transmission, fluid use may vary, you can use either an ATF, an ordinary motor oil or a transmission oil (called heavyweight hypoid gear oil).

The automatic transmission fluid also does the following to your car’s transmission system:

    • It conditions the gasket.

    • Lessen high operating temperature and allows for more cooling effect. Sometimes you can check how hot does a car engine get.

    • Keeps metal surfaces clean and minimizes wear and tear.

    • Further increases the speed of rotation while also widening the temperature range.

Let view video How to check your transmission fluid on Moveras:

What is the color of a new (unused) transmission fluid?

The modern transmission fluids vary in color depending on the manufacturer. But some of the today’s fluids come in blue, green, and yellow, although these colors are not very common. The colors that dominate the market come in bright translucent pinkish red and bright to dark red in translucent color.

The red pigment is usually industrial dye added to the transmission fluid as distinguishing color to identify the fluid among other fluids. So there is no other significant reason why new transmission fluid comes in red (the dominant color) except really for identification.

What the color of transmission fluid tells about your car?

This fluid suffers one of the most brutal conditions inside your car during its journey lubricating, cooling, and circulating around the transmission system. Most car manufacturers recommend changing the transmission fluid every 60,000 to 100,00 miles for automatic transmission, while for manual transmission vehicles, the range is between 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

During the course of time running your car, the transmission fluid changes in color due to heat, age, and worn. The fluid might be brownish tint as you packed a significant mileage on your car which is basically normal. Checking the transmission fluid, when it becomes light brown, you might be considering to make a good servicing soon.

A color approaching dark brown tells you that the oil is not effective anymore and should be replaced as soon as possible. Experts recommend that the best time to change transmission fluid is before it turns dark brown so you avoid the uncertainty of running your car on ragged fluid. Although the color is not always the reliable gauge to depend upon when changing the fluid, it is advisable that you change your fluid when it turns light brown.

Expert mechanics across the United States recommend the use of the Genuine Honda Fluid 08200-9008 ATF-DW1 Automatic Transmission Fluid as a good replacement for cars with inferior quality ATF. Try this one now (check it out if it fits your car), available from Amazon Prime.

For manual transmission vehicles, try the best-selling Genuine Ford Fluid XT-M5-QS Full Synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid (6), also available from Amazon.

What are the indications of bad transmission fluid?

Some other factors you must consider, aside from the color of the transmission fluid after a significant mileage had been run by your car, are the smell and consistency. Here’s our explanation to these:

  • 1. Smell
  • 2. Changed in viscosity

The transmission fluid may become thicker over time because of its exposure to heat and cold. But the fluid should not have any contaminants, such as metal shavings and other large particles. When this happens, you might have worn out gears or damaged torque converter. This is also enough cause for alarm and the car must be serviced immediately by a qualified mechanic.


The color of the transmission fluid is not enough basis to the true state of your transmission. The smell and its consistency (viscosity) must also be considered before you make a move. However, the changing color of transmission fluid overtime really tells something about the condition of your car, you can certainly make the necessary routine check up and act quickly if you sense something fishy is going on.

Please do send us your questions and comments about this article, and we are just glad to answer back.

About the author

Carolina - Care My Cars

Car, from a long time ago is the main transport vehicle for people which help to move faster and protect users from the unstable of weather such as sunlight, heat, or rainy. So that, the demand of car and the search for the best and a suitable car in the market are higher than ever and you also are one of the people who is looking for the answers from the market. Welcome to caremycars.com and I hope that my articles can help you to solve the problems that you are in with the most effective way. Donate: - Bitcoin (BTC): 1Eoz8vhfAjD4cCrq2jec3V38mmaHehedXU - Etherium (ETH): 0xd10809ae634117bf6c52Af884a8bc8B84D436e3b - BicoinCash (BCH): qqp4yjqx2g57exes0stsnkgk5e9uyu5clvrjj4ew44


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