What Color is Transmission Fluid?

The transmission is one of the most prominent components in the vehicle. It has a good impact on the performance of it, and it needs proper maintenance for that. The transmission fluid has come to ensure that performance. It lubricates the transmission to do its job.

You must know everything will be expired one day, and the transmission fluid also has a lifetime. After a period, it can't do its job as expected. Moreover, it becomes harmful to the transmission. When it turns into the worst condition, maybe you will have to replace the transmission. You know what it is an expensive unit to repair and replace.

Now the question stands that how you will be able to notify that the fluid is good or bad. It is simple if you see what color is transmission fluid in your vehicle. You can get five colors there that recommend different status of it. Below, I am going to tell you everything in detail.

How to check transmission fluid?

To check it, you need a clean rag or a few paper towels, a long funnel, and transmission fluid. You should see the owner's manual because different types of vehicles use different types of fluid. It is good to check it when the engine is hot and it is running. So, make sure that the car is in the park, and you set the emergency brake. Now you need to locate the hood release that can be typically found where your left knee is when seated in the driver's seat. If you can't find it, you can take help from the owner's manual.

Now release the hood you want to open it and find the dipstick. The transmission dipstick looks like the oil dipstick. Generally it has a yellow or orange handle. If you are not sure about the location, check your owner's manual. Then pull the transmission dipstick out and wipe it clean with the towel. Once you have cleaned the dipstick, turn it back to the original position and remove it again. Now you will get a clear reading of the fluid.


The possible colors of transmission fluid

  • Red transparent fluid
  • Light brown semi-transparent fluid
  • Dark brown opaque fluid
  • Very dark brown or black fluid
  • Light pinkish fluid

What does it mean when your transmission fluid is red?

When the color of the transmission fluid is red transparent, it is the best. It means that it is new or like-new. If you can maintain this condition of the fluid, it will ensure the best performance of the transmission. Transmission flushes help it to keep this color at all times, and it keeps the transmission in the best state.

What to do: When the color of the transmission fluid is red transparent, you have nothing serious to do. You just need to check it regularly and follow the manufacturer's transmission service procedures and service intervals.

What does it mean when your transmission fluid is light brown?

When you have transmission fluid with light brown color and it is semi-transparent, it is good. But it is not as good as the red transparent one. To keep the transmission in a good condition, you need to maintain this color of the fluid.

What to do: The dark brown color of the fluid tells that there is nothing serious yet. But it can be problematic if you can't maintain it properly. In this respect, you need to flush it at proper intervals. If you don't change or flush it over 50,000 miles, flush it as early as possible.

What does it mean when your transmission fluid is brown or opaque?

When the transmission fluid is dark brown and opaque, you can understand that there is something wrong. Because a good type of fluid is red, and the most important thing is that it is transparent. This condition tells that your fluid is old, dirty, and contaminated. That's why it can't provide adequate lubrication. As a result, excessive wear causes to the internal parts, and It can damage those parts. It also produces heat that can lead to a transmission failure.

What to do: It is going to cause a serious problem to the transmission. So, you should take the necessary steps for that. You can perform the fluid and filter change or a complete flush to the transmission.

If the color is very dark brown or black

It is the next bad step of the transmission fluid. It means it is very dirty, contaminated, or even oxidized. If it is oxidized, you will get a burnt odor there. It is telling that it has already done a lot of unexpected occurrences in the internal of the transmission that may be lead you to replace it.


What to do: It depends on the current condition of the transmission. If your transmission is still working, you should immediately change the fluid and filter or flush it. If problems already exist, maybe you need a transmission rebuild.

Light pinkish fluid

This is the worst condition of the transmission fluid. It happens when water and coolant enter into the transmission. It tells that the friction clutches fail apart and seals are ruined.

What to do: You have missed the opportunity to do something for your transmission. Now you have nothing to do. You can just rebuild or replace it.

Another way to know the condition

You can also understand the current condition of the transmission fluid if there is a burnt smell. When the transmission is overheated and the fluid is oxidized, it happens. It means that the transmission is in the worst condition. If you do not do something right now, you will have to replace it.

Final words

I have come to the end of my article. I have tried to tell you every possible thing. If you read it carefully, you are now able to tell the current condition of the transmission and fluid by seeing what color is transmission fluid. I hope you will be benefited from my article.

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