What Color is Transmission Fluid?

mechanic pouring transmission fluid

Your vehicle uses all sorts of different fluids to help it function properly on North Charleston roads. Each fluid has a different color to make them easily distinguishable from each other, but this leads many car owners to ask questions like “what color is transmission fluid?” When this particular fluid is new, it’s dark red in color with a translucent appearance. This means if there’s red fluid leaking from your car, it’s probably transmission fluid. Learn more about transmission fluid and how its color can change depending on the life cycle stage it’s at with Rick Hendrick Chevrolet.

What Does Red Fluid Leaking From a Car Indicate?

If you head out to your Mount Pleasant driveway to discover a red fluid leaking from your car, you can safely assume it’s transmission fluid. These additional indicators can help confirm your suspicion:

  • Odor: Does the fluid smell a bit like petroleum? This is a clear indication that it’s transmission fluid. If the fluid smells burnt, it needs to be changed soon.
  • Consistency: When you check your transmission fluid it should have an oily appearance and feel, sort of like engine oil and brake fluid.
  • Where is the Leak?: If the leak originates toward the front and middle of your car, this is another strong indication that you’re dealing with transmission fluid.

What Color is Transmission Fluid as it Ages?

Transmission fluid starts out with a dark red color, but the color will change as the fluid ages. Here is a quick guide describing what color transmission fluid should be at each stage:

  • Brand-new fluid: Dark red
  • Normal: Darker brick red
  • Service your vehicle soon: Deep blood red/rust red
  • Service your vehicle immediately: Burnt/almost black

If you just recently had the transmission fluid changed but it’s already turned a rusty or black color, there could be a bad transmission filter that’s allowing contaminants to sneak past and muddle up the fluid. This is why it’s important to schedule service without delay if the transmission fluid is that dark.

Maintaining Your Transmission

Avoid future problems with your transmission by following these maintenance tips:

  • Use the Proper Fluid for Your Vehicle: Modern vehicles now have more advanced automatic transmission systems, so it’s important that you’re using the right type of automatic transmission fluid.
  • Trust Your Owner’s Manual: If you’re unsure what type of fluid to use, you can find the most reliable info in your owner’s manual.
  • Don’t Skip Transmission Service: Keep up with transmission maintenance as outlined in your maintenance schedule. Regular inspections and fluid flushes/replacements will help prevent transmission problems in the future.

Need Transmission Service in Charleston?

If your transmission fluid looks like it needs to be changed or there is red fluid leaking from your car and you’re looking for transmission service near James Island, look no further than Rick Hendrick Chevrolet. Our service center has the knowledgeable technicians and state-of-the-art equipment to care for your vehicle. What’s more, we offer ongoing service specials to keep your maintenance budget-friendly!

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Hendrick Vehicle Disclaimer:
$699.00 Closing Fee is not included in advertised price.

All prices exclude all taxes, tag, title, registration fees and government fees. Out of state buyers are responsible for all taxes and government fees and title/registration fees in the state where the vehicle will be registered. All prices include all manufacturer to dealer incentives, which the dealer retains unless otherwise specifically provided. Dealer not responsible for errors and omissions; all offers subject to change without notice; please confirm listings with dealer.

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Additional Disclaimers:

Well-qualified customers who purchase a new, used, or certified pre-owned vehicle, 4 model years or newer with less than 60K miles between May 1, 2024, and May 31, 2024, and finance through a participating dealer and lender have the option to defer monthly payments for 90 days from contract date. Finance charges begin to accrue on the date you sign the Retail Installment Sale Contract at the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the contract. May not be combined with other preferred lender financing offers. 72 months maximum term limit. Equal monthly payments only. Not available to Pennsylvania residents; see your dealer for details. Must take retail delivery by May 31, 2024. See dealer for complete down payment options and details.

*Finance charges accrue from date of financing. Deferred monthly payments for 90 days. 1.9% APR for 36 months. Monthly payment is $28.60 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment varies by model. Must finance with GM Financial. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Not available in PA. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 6/3/24.

*Offer valid on 2024 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LT 5.3L models.1.9% APR for 36 months. Monthly payment is $28.60 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment: 10.3%. Must finance with GM Financial. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 6/3/24. Savings off MSRP includes $5,750 total cash allowance + $1,000 trade assistance. Based on an MSRP of $57,745. Must trade in a 2010 model year or newer vehicle. Not available with special financing, lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 6/3/24.


Rick Hendrick Chevrolet 32.7856, -80.0086.