problems after transmission fluid change

Problems After Transmission Fluid Change: Causes & Solutions

Your transmission is one of the most critical parts of your car, and keeping it in good working condition is crucial for the longevity and performance of your vehicle. Changing the transmission fluid is a simple maintenance task that can provide many benefits for your car, including improved performance, smoother shifting, and extended transmission life. 

However, it’s important to note that there are also potential risks involved in changing the transmission fluid, such as using the wrong type fluid or not correctly draining the old fluid. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of regular transmission fluid changes, the benefits they can provide, and the potential risks involved so you can make an informed decision about your vehicle’s maintenance.

Common Problems After a Transmission Fluid Change

Transmission Fluid Leaks

Leakage is one of the common problems that can occur after a transmission fluid change; this can happen due to various reasons, such as loose or damaged transmission lines or failure to seal the transmission pan during the fluid transition properly. 

If the leak is not fixed, it can lead to a loss of transmission fluid, which can cause damage to the transmission and lead to poor performance or even failure. It is crucial to address any leaks as soon as they are noticed, to prevent further damage and ensure the proper functioning of the transmission.

Shifting Problem After Transmission Fluid Change

Shifting issues can occur after a transmission fluid change due to a lack of proper lubrication. 

This can cause gears to grind or slip, leading to a lack of power or loss of speed, which can be dangerous while driving. If the transmission is not adequately lubricated, the gears may not engage or disengage properly, causing the vehicle to stall or not shift. 

This can also happen if the wrong type of fluid or air pockets are present in the transmission. It is crucial to address any shifting issues as soon as they are noticed and have the transmission inspected by a professional to determine the cause and take appropriate action to fix it.

Check Engine Light After Transmission Fluid Change

Check Engine Light coming up on car dashboard
Check Engine Light

A check engine light can come on after a transmission fluid change due to a lack of proper lubrication or a problem with the transmission control module. 

The transmission control module (TCM) is a computer that controls the transmission. It can be affected by the lack of proper lubrication or debris/dirt entering the transmission during the fluid change process. The TCM can also be concerned if the wrong type of fluid is used or if air pockets are present in the transmission. This can cause the check engine light to illuminate, suggesting a gearbox problem.

Suppose the check engine light turns on after changing the transmission fluid. In that case, it is critical to get the vehicle evaluated by a specialist to establish the problem and take corrective action.


a man holding hood of overheating car
Car overheating

Overheating can occur after a transmission fluid change if the wrong fluid type is used. Different types of transmissions require different types of transmission fluids, and using the wrong type can lead to overheating.

The wrong fluid can be too thick or too thin, which can cause the transmission to work harder than it should and generate more heat. This can result in the gearbox and other component damage, such as the torque converter.

Overheating can also happen if the transmission is not adequately lubricated, which can cause the gears to grind or slip and increase the temperature in the transmission. It is vital to use the correct type of transmission fluid and ensure the transmission is properly lubricated to prevent overheating.

How to Prevent Problems After a Transmission Fluid Change

Properly Disposing of Old Transmission Fluid

  • Always verify with local legislation to guarantee compliance with disposal laws and regulations.
  • Use a container specifically designed to collect used oil, such as a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Do not mix the old transmission fluid with any other fluids or chemicals.
  • Take the used transmission fluid to a recycling center or an authorized collection facility for proper disposal.
  • Call the local waste management company for proper disposal instructions if a recycling facility is unavailable.
  • Some auto parts stores and mechanic shops may also accept used transmission fluid for recycling.

Importance of Cleaning of Transmission System

Cleaning the transmission system before refilling it with new fluid is crucial for maintaining its overall health and longevity.

One of the primary reasons for cleaning is to remove contaminants. The transmission system can become contaminated with debris, such as metal shavings and sludge, which can cause damage to internal components. A thorough cleaning helps to eliminate these contaminants and prevent further damage.

Another important reason for cleaning is to improve fluid flow. Contaminants can also clog the transmission’s oil passages, which can impede fluid flow, causing poor lubrication and increased wear on the transmission’s components. A clean system can improve fluid flow and extend the transmission’s lifespan.

Cleaning also allows for early detection of problems, such as leaks or worn components, which can prevent costly breakdowns. Additionally, cleaning the transmission system can enhance the vehicle’s performance by allowing for smoother and more efficient transmission operation, leading to improved fuel economy and an overall better driving experience.

Lastly, cleaning the transmission system before refilling it with new fluid can also extend the life of the new fluid. Removing contaminants can prevent them from breaking down the transmission oil and causing it to lose its lubricating properties, resulting in increased wear on the system.

Seek the Service of A Professional Mechanic

Seeking the service of a professional mechanic is essential in maintaining your vehicle’s longevity and reliability.

A professional mechanic has the knowledge, training, and tools necessary to diagnose and fix any issues with your vehicle correctly. They can also perform regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, and brake inspections to keep your car running smoothly.

Using a professional mechanic can avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary repairs. They can also give you an honest assessment of the condition of your vehicle and advise you on any potential future problems that may need attention.

Additionally, having a regular mechanic that you trust can also be helpful in case of an emergency breakdown. They are already familiar with your vehicle and can quickly diagnose and fix the problem. 

Overall, seeking the service of a professional mechanic can save you time, money, and peace of mind. Don’t wait for problems to occur; schedule regular maintenance and inspections to keep your vehicle running at its best.

How to Address Problems After Transmission Fluid Change

If the vehicle is experiencing issues after a transmission fluid change, several steps can be taken to address the problem:

  1. Evaluate the fluid levels: Check for leaks and correct the transmission fluid level. Add the right type and amount of fluid if the fluid level is low. For the right fluid kind and level, consult the owner’s handbook.
  2. Check for other issues: Inspect the transmission for any other issues, such as leaks, loose or damaged hoses or connectors, or worn or damaged components.
  3. Take a test drive: Drive the car to check whether the problem remains. Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations and note any Transmission Fluid warning lights or error messages that may be displayed on the dashboard.
  4. Inspect the Filter: Check it to discover if the filter is blocked or unclean. This could be the cause of the problem. It’s essential to ensure the filter is clean and working correctly.
  5. Seek the advice of a mechanic: If the problem persists, seek the advice of a professional mechanic. Describe the issue clearly and accurately, and provide any information about the transmission fluid change and any other work that has been done on the vehicle.
  6. Don’t Drive if the problem is severe: If the problem is intense and the vehicle is unsafe to drive, it’s important to have it towed to the mechanic shop for repair.

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It is essential to take preventative measures when changing the transmission fluid to avoid potential problems that can arise. These include checking the fluid levels, inspecting the transmission for leaks or other issues, taking a test drive, and seeking the advice of a professional mechanic if the problem persists. 

Proper maintenance is crucial for the overall health and function of the vehicle. Cleaning the transmission system and refilling it with new fluid can improve fluid flow, increase the transmission’s lifespan, detect problems early, enhance performance, and extend the life of the new fluid.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the expertise, reputation, quality of service, price, warranty, location, and communication of the professional mechanic when seeking their services.

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