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Most people know that oil and coolant leaks can develop on older vehicles, but transmission leaks are potentially a major issue as well. If your car is equipped with an automatic transmission, then the fluid contained within is vital for its smooth operation. Not only does this fluid help to lubricate the internal parts of your transmission, but it also keeps the transmission fluid and is responsible for helping to get power from your engine to your wheels. If fluid leaks are left unaddressed over long periods of time, your transmission will both function poorly and eventually begin to suffer permanent damage.
Why Do Leaks Happen?
As with most fluid leaks, transmission leaks occur due to old seals, gaskets, and liners wearing out and no longer making a tight fit. The purpose of gaskets is to seal surfaces that contain fluid (or air), and once this seal fails, the fluid inside can begin to seep out. In some cases, these leaks are minor and may go unnoticed for quite a while. The loss of a very small amount of transmission fluid usually will not affect the operation of the transmission and may not be obvious even if you routinely check the fluid level. Most leaks will get worse over time, however, leading to serious issues.
Where Are Leaks Commonly Found?
Automatic transmissions include a huge number of locations where leaks can potentially occur, but on most vehicles, these leaks are limited to a few vulnerable areas. One of the most common areas for a leak is around the pan gasket. The transmission pan generally needs to be dropped to change the transmission filter, and it is sometimes not properly tightened afterward. The removal of the pan can also cause an old, weakened gasket to fail completely, leading to leaks after this service is performed. Luckily, this is usually an inexpensive fix.
Unfortunately, transmissions are sometimes also vulnerable to leaks in transmission cooling lines or in the areas where the transmission seals to the torque converter. Although not as costly as a full transmission replacement, these repairs are often more difficult and labor intensive. Depending on the severity of the leak, they may sometimes be more difficult to spot as well.
Spotting Transmission Leaks
The best thing you can do to stay on top of leaks is to regularly check your car's transmission fluid level. Many modern cars are not equipped with fluid level dip sticks, however, and this can make checking the level difficult or impossible. If this is the case, then it is important to be aware of any changes in the behavior of your transmission. If it begins shifting more harshly, making noises, or taking longer to engage a gear, then you should have your car checked out by a professional as soon as possible.
Probably diagnosing a transmission leak is a job that is usually best left to a well-equipped shop. The area around the transmission will need to be cleaned entirely and then checked carefully for signs of leaks. A professional mechanic will do this with your car raised on a lift, making it much easier to spot the problem. While this may lead to an expensive repair, it is a much better option than leaving a leak unaddressed for long enough to cause serious damage to your even more expensive transmission.
For more information and resources, visit a site such as actiontransmissionpros.com.Share