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What Color Is Transmission Fluid

What Color Is Transmission Fluid? Everything You Need To Know

The transmission fluid is dark red in color. Several fluids in vehicles, including transmission fluid, have been dyed for ease of identification. New transmission fluid is translucent, but over time it becomes even darker as it is used.

A vehicle’s transmission is one of its most important parts. It transmits the correct amount of power to the wheels to drive at the right speed.  Additionally, it is the most complicated and expensive component in a vehicle to replace and repair. However, transmission fluid is necessary to operate the system properly. Make sure to use the right transmission fluid for optimum performance. The color of your transmission fluid is a quick and easy way to determine your transmission’s health.

There are many tasks that transmission fluids perform. They prevent corrosion of the planetary gear sets, lubricate the bearings and gears, and maintain the correct friction properties for smooth clutch engagement. Therefore, you should regularly check the color of the transmission fluids. When you see a change in the transmission fluid, it’s a sign that something is wrong. What do the different colors of transmission fluid mean? Keep reading.

What Is The Color Of The Transmission Fluid?

As transmission fluid ages, it collects contaminants such as dirt and debris and is subject to friction. Depending on how contaminated the transmission fluid is and what contaminated it, the color will vary. Failure to properly maintain this fluid can lead to overheating, leaks, or other transmission problems, which will later require repair or replacement.

Why Is The Color Of Transmission Fluid Red?

Red dyes are added to transmission fluid so it can be distinguished from other fluids in the vehicle.  There are several benefits to this.

It is easier to find where the leak is coming from with the red color.

Red transmission fluid can be easily distinguished from oil, so it will be easier to determine why your transmission is leaking.

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What Do Different Transmission Fluid Colors Mean?

Start by checking the transmission dipstick for transmission fluid color. Take out the dipstick and clean it with a paper towel. The color remaining on the rag indicates the condition of the transmission. Your next step will be determined by the color. Let’s examine what the various colors of transmission fluid mean to the system.

Red Transmission Fluid

The new transmission fluid should be red and transparent. Red is the color of transmission fluid that has not aged or been contaminated. You will not experience any major issues with your transmission system when you use this color and the right amount. It is recommended to keep checking your fluid if it is red.

Light Brown Semi-Transparent Fluid

After a while, transmission fluid turns from red to a light brown color. A light brown transmission fluid indicates that it is still in good condition. The right amount of fluid and color will ensure a safe transmission system. Check the transmission fluid on a regular basis for color changes and quantity changes.

Dark Brown Opaque Fluid

Dirty, contaminated, and old transmission fluid is dark brown. This transmission fluid does not provide adequate lubrication to the system. Poor lubrication causes internal parts to wear out prematurely. It may also increase the temperature of the transmission system, causing transmission failure.

If you notice that the transmission fluid is this color, you need to act before serious damage occurs. The transmission fluid and filter should be changed or the transmission flush should be completed.

Very Dark Brown Black

If your transmission fluid is this color, it is in poor condition. It indicates that the fluid is old, dirty, and contaminated. The combination of this color and a burnt toast smell indicates oxidation.

You need to act immediately in this case. Internal damage could have already been done by the transmission fluid. If the transmission is working properly, then you should flush it or change the fluids and filters immediately. You will need to make some repairs before changing the transmission fluid if the damage has been done.

Light Pink Fluid

A light pink transmission fluid indicates a severe condition. This indicates either coolant or water has entered the transmission. This destroys seals and causes friction clutches to fail.

A leaky or damaged transmission oil cooler line allows water to enter the transmission. This may cause the transmission to fail completely. Your transmission will need to be replaced or rebuilt when it is in this condition.

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What Transmission Fluid Problems To Look For And How To Fix Them

Changing your transmission fluid might be necessary if it hasn’t been done for a while. For this, you should first consult your vehicle’s manual to find out whether the engine should be running or turned off. Doing so will ensure an accurate reading. To check transmission fluid, you’ll need a dipstick (different from engine oil). Use a clean white rag to wipe the dipstick after it has been dipped into the transmission fluid reservoir.

When arranging transmission fluid maintenance, you have two options if a fluid change is necessary – a fluid change or a fluid flush. Usually, a fluid change will suffice if your fluid is reddish to dark red in color. If you choose this option, you may still have some contaminants, so you may need to make another change in the future. You may need to consider a full fluid flush if your fluid is dark brown or burnt in color. In this case, the old fluid is completely replaced with fresh fluid. Adding transmission fluid additives to your transmission fluid can reduce the frequency of fluid changes, prevent leaks, and ensure that your system performs at its best.


Make sure you check your car’s transmission level and color regularly. By doing so, you can always ensure that both the transmission and engine are protected. As a result, there will be fewer upfront costs at a mechanic’s shop. If you don’t have a dipstick, there are numerous ways to check the fluid level and color. It is always a good idea to check the nature of the fluid regularly.

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