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Auto transmission question
Old 10-31-2014, 10:27 AM   #1
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Auto transmission question

I know there are a lot of car guys on here... so, got a question.

Took my DW's car in for an oil change... they showed me some of her auto tranny fluid which looked brown... from what I remember, it should not look brown... am I correct?

Car has 53K miles and the recommended change interval is 60K.... so I want to see if I should change it now or wait the miles... she is about to go on a trip of 3K to 4K miles...

Thanks
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
I know there are a lot of car guys on here... so, got a question.

Took my DW's car in for an oil change... they showed me some of her auto tranny fluid which looked brown... from what I remember, it should not look brown... am I correct?

Car has 53K miles and the recommended change interval is 60K.... so I want to see if I should change it now or wait the miles... she is about to go on a trip of 3K to 4K miles...

Thanks
ATF is typically red in color and turns brown as the internal clutch plates wear (normal). The filter in the pan is not good enough to capture extremely small particles, hence the color change. What you should worry about is if the ATF smells "burnt", but it takes a good nose to determine that.

I'd get it changed along with the filter.
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Old 10-31-2014, 02:16 PM   #3
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If the fluid is discolored, it usually smells bad too.

I change trans fluid about twice as often as recommended. Cheap insurance.

I usually drop the drain pan , clean out the "muck" sitting on the bottom of the pan (As stated before , clutch material , completely normal). New gasket and refill. I don't change the filter , as stated before, it does not filter much , it's more like a strainer to prevent large debris. Then refill.


This will change only about 70% of the fluid. I steer clear of the oil change places offering overpriced "Trans Fluid Exchange" or "Flush" services.

P.S. in order of preference : A trusted independent repair shop , a true "transmission" repair shop, or the Dealership $$. The oil change places can barely change oil without screwing something up , or just $crewing the customer.

Make sure the correct fluid is used. many late model cars require a specific fluid.
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:42 PM   #4
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Color probably not the best gauge, does it smell burnt and/or is dirty. Can depend on the brand. This is a TSB from Dodge ATF+4, TSB 21-010-06

FLUID COLOR

Mopar ATF+4® has exceptional durability. However, the red dye used in ATF+4® is not
permanent; as the fluid ages it may become darker or appear brown in color. ATF+4® also
has a unique odor that may change with age. With ATF+4® fluid, color and odor are no
longer indicators of fluid condition and do not necessarily support a fluid change.


Check forums for your specific vehicle. For mine I do a drain and fill similar to coolant change. It's more of a partial change but it keeps the fluid fresh and it is cheap/easy DIY job.
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Old 10-31-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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I usually "test" by the burned smell. It's not hard to detect. I also look for any fine dark grit in the fluid but I haven't seen much of that in years with the newer cars and transmissions. However, I typically drop the pan, check the collection magnets and change my cars trans fluid and filters at 35k miles so I haven't seen many (if any) discolorations.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses....


I have thought about it and will get it changed... changing it 7K miles early is not that big a deal for me... I want to keep the car for many years...
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