Every car owner needs to know how to use transmission fluid properly. There are no two ways about it. Unless your car is built to drain excess transmission fluid, you must always gauge the fluid level to avoid overfilling. Why is this important?
Adding excess transmission fluid causes various damages that attract expensive repairs. That’s why we have detailed what you need to know to help you use transmission fluid correctly. If you recently bought your car, check its user manual to learn the correct type of fluid to use.
What is the Function of a Transmission Fluid
Firstly, let’s understand what it does in a vehicle. Colliding parts in your moving car needs to be lubricated to ensure smooth running. That’s what transmission fluid does! It reduces the friction produced during transmissions, so your vehicle will run smoothly.
While lubrication is the primary function of transmission fluid, it also serves other purposes in your car. They may include:
- Temperature regulation
- Increasing the rotational speed
- Conditioning the gaskets
- Protecting metal surfaces from wear
How Much Transmission Fluid Does My vehicle Need?
Sometimes, the dip-stick might show full when it isn’t. That’s why you need to check the level when the engine is warm. Start your car and allow the engine to run for five minutes. Then add fluid until the dip-stick indicates full.
It’s best to pour half a quart of transmission fluid into your vehicle at a time. In a warm engine, the fluid level should be between the cold mark and the hot mark. The level needs to be at the upper end of the hot mark in a hot engine. Also, in a cold engine, it should be at the upper end of the cold mark.
The amount of transmission fluid you need to add depends on whether you’re topping it up or just draining/replacing it all. Generally, you will need to add nine to thirteen quarts for a complete fill. But whatever you do, ensure not to add too much fluid.
What happens if you add too much transmission fluid?
Since transmission fluid helps a car move more smoothly, you may be tempted to add a little more than the needed amount. But does more fluid make a car smoother? Not at all. It’s not good to add more than the recommended amount of transmission fluid.
When you do this, you will put your vehicle at risk of many problems, which could cause irreparable damage in the long run. Excess fluid in your car can cause issues such as:
- Erratic shifting
- Failure of the pressure valve
- An overall unstable vehicle
- Oil starvation
- Some parts might wear off prematurely
- Transmission and engine damage
- Snap rings, brake parts, and other components pushing out
Overfilling an automatic transmission causes the fluid to foam, leading to gear shifting issues, oil starvation, and transmission damages. In the case of a manual transmission, overfilling can cause leaking from the vent. Also, you will face issues with the gear when depressing the clutch. Whether your car has a manual or automatic transmission, it needs to relieve excess pressure.
You need to know your car’s manual or automatic fluid transmission capacity, as too much fluid leads to excess pressure. As a result, some parts may fail or damage early. In addition, some components in your car might become unstable due to pressure shifts. The damages might worsen when you change gears in this situation.
If you keep driving your car without fixing the issues caused by overflowing transmission fluid, it will become worse. The worst part is that your warranty won’t cover all the damages accrued. Why? It’s because your warranty doesn’t cover problems caused by negligence or ignorance. So, you must avoid making the mistake of overfilling your car.
How to know when your Transmission is overfilled
Now that you know the dangers of overfilling your transmission let’s talk about how you can prevent it. There are three ways to identify an overfilled transmission:
- Formation of fluid under the transmission due to leakage
- Overheating of your engine because the transmission fluid can’t negate friction
- Shifting is difficult due to the formation of foamy fluid
Try to learn how to use transmission fluids correctly. It will help you prevent many issues that could occur due to ignorance. You may also take your car to a professional to help you maintain its fluids.
What to do when you add too much transmission fluid
Some cars are designed to make overfilling with transmission fluid impossible. If that’s the case with your vehicle, it has a hole that drains excess transmission fluid. You’re lucky, as most cars are not built that way. Nonetheless, people whose cars cannot drain excess transmission fluid can fix the problem in a few ways.
It involves draining excess fluid manually. And you can do it by:
- Using a pump to siphon out excess fluid
- Using an extraction pump
- Removing the pan drain plug, if applicable
- Siphoning the fluid out using your mouth and thumb
- Taking out the cooler line
Don’t use your mouth and thumb to siphon out fluid if you don’t know how to do it. It’s a dangerous task and also time-consuming. You will also find it challenging to get the exact amount of fluid required to fill your transmission when using this method.
The transmission fluid in your car keeps it running smoothly. But when you add too much or less than required, it can damage vital elements in the car. If you have the right tools, you can quickly assess your vehicle’s transmission fluid. The tips we provided will help you prevent unnecessary expenses on transmission replacements and repairs.