What To Do If Your Transmission Fluid Is Leaking


If you want to avoid a high transmission fluid change cost, you can handle the task yourself. It’s relatively easy, even if you suspect repairs. With the proper knowledge and a little elbow grease, you can get your transmission back into shape.

How To Fix a Transmission Fluid Leak

A transmission fluid leak can be dangerous because it decreases the pressure used to change gears. Additionally, it protects parts from rust, oxidation and friction. When it gets low, you have less control over your vehicle and risk damaging your transmission.

Determine Leak Source

The first step is to figure out what’s leaking. You’ll need to look under the hood to pinpoint the source. Once you find it, you’ll know what part to replace.

Drain Transmission Fluid

Next, drain the transmission fluid. You need the system empty before you can take it apart. Place a pan or bucket underneath the transmission to catch the liquid, then unbolt the transmission pan or take out the plug. Allow the fluid to drain completely.

Replace Your Transmission Pan

If your transmission pan is the problem, you’ll need to replace it. You can either get a used yet serviceable one from a salvage yard or purchase it new.

Replace Fluid Lines

Sometimes the culprit is a hole in the fluid lines. You can get replacements in a transmission rebuild kit or purchase them separately. Once the line is in place, double-check the fittings to ensure they’re tight.

Install New Pan Bolts and Drain Plugs

Drain plugs should fit snugly. If not, they may leak. Similarly, loose pan bolts can allow fluid to escape.

In some cases, loose drains and bolts result from regular wear. However, if you’re replacing them often, you may have alignment issues causing excessive vibration.

Install New Seals

Sometimes the line isn’t the problem — it’s where the line connects to the pan. Old seals may crack from exposure to heat and dirt, leading to leaks. If your transmission line seals look worse for wear, it’s time to replace them.

Replace Your Fluid

Once you’ve fixed the issue, you can fill the lines with new, clean transmission fluid. You should notice smoother shifting and no strange noises. If those things persist, there’s a deeper problem.

How To Tell If You Have a Transmission Leak

Since transmission fluid is so important, you’ll notice right away when it’s running low. The following are the most common signs that you need a fluid change or line repair.

Dark Stains on the Driveway

If something is leaking from your car, you’ll see it on the driveway. Transmission fluid is red, unlike engine oil, which is amber when clean and brown when dirty.

Frequent Low Fluid Levels

Have you changed your transmission fluid recently, but the dipper shows the levels are low again? You may have a leak on your hands.

Whether you have a 2001 Honda Accord transmissionor a brand-new vehicle, you can save money by learning to fix a leak yourself. Additionally, you get to know your car, which helps you identify issues before they become expensive.


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