What Does it Mean if My Transmission Fluid Is Brown?

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Your transmission fluid is old if it is brown. Most of your automotive fluids change colors as they age, and your transmission fluid is no exception. Padron Automotive says that the general recommendation for a transmission fluid flush and refill is that it should be done every 30,000 miles. Your vehicle’s manufacturer may recommend a different duration between the changes, so check your owner’s manual for the directions specific to your automobile. Aside from brown, transmission fluid is a variety of colors throughout its life. Let’s talk about these colors below.

Bright Red or Red

When the transmission fluid is new, it is translucent and bright red or red. This is an indication that your vehicle’s transmission fluid is in its best stage. This fluid does not need to be changed because it is more than capable of protecting the transmission. Transmission fluid is also hydraulic fluid, which means it assists your transmission and shifting gears.

Light Brown or Orange

The transmission fluid will turn from red to light brown or orange once it starts to get a little bit old. The fluid will still be see-through, so it hasn’t filled with air bubbles yet. As long as the fluid is in good condition and only light brown or orange, you can leave it in the transmission a little while longer. It’s still aiding the transmission and shifting gears and protecting it.

Brown or Dark Brown

Once the transmission turns brown or dark brown, it has oxidized. This is when it has filled with air bubbles that prevent it from doing its job. Rather than protecting the transmission, the fluid is damaging it. In fact, you may start to have transmission problems as a result of this old and dirty fluid. These problems include your transmission having difficulty shifting through the gear cycle and making rough shifts with grinding or squealing sounds.

It’s important that you get this transmission fluid changed immediately. Failing to do so is going to cause unnecessary damage to your transmission that can be expensive to repair. Usually, if you have driven more than 30,000 miles between transmission fluid flushes, the fluid will oxidize and turn brown.

Black or Pink

Black or pink transmission fluid is a sign of serious transmission damage. If you fail to get the brown transmission fluid changed, it will eventually turn black. This fluid is doing nothing for the transmission but causing it harm.

Pink transmission fluid is diluted transmission fluid. Engine coolant has leaked out of the cooling system and into the transmission and created the pink and frothy mess. Naturally, this can destroy your transmission.

Call Padron Automotive in Topeka, KS, to schedule a transmission service if it has been 30,000 miles since your last one.

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