7 Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms, Causes & Solutions

Jerry Wilson
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Causes of Low Transmission Fluid

The more the transmission fluid is used, the more it becomes contaminated by the components that it comes into contact with. Since the transmission is responsible for transferring all those components through the gears, the fluid is affected by all the dirt, grime, and torque it comes in contact with. Over time, those contaminants become so thick that they seems to be suspended, and it’s hard to clean them out because they’re already part of the grease.

If you’re driving a vehicle with a worn-out transmission, you’ll experience major issues like a failure to shift gears, premature wear on the clutch plates, and even a complete breakdown of the transmission. When it comes to dealing with these problems, preventative measures are the best course of action, and the best preventative measure is regular fluid replacement.

Low Transmission Fluid Symptoms

Low transmission fluid can be a signal of one or more of the 7 things listed below:

  • Low fluid itself
  • Transmission filter plugging
  • Fluid leak caused by restriction
  • Bad seal (due to seal wear, fluids or transmission fluid leak)
  • Worn or damaged transmission component
  • Low Oil Pressure
  • Transmission failure

The most common is low fluid itself which can be caused by one or more of the following reasons:

  • Slow transmission leak
  • Loose drain bolt
  • Broken transmission pan plug
  • Frequent fluid top offs
  • Failing transmission filter
  • Transmission filter housing fluid level low

Any one of these can cause low transmission fluid level. Find the culprit and fix it.

Different causes may have similar symptoms, so focus only on the causes related to transmission and not the symptoms. Find the real problems and resolve them.

Possible solutions for low fluid itself are:

  • Add the correct transmission fluid
  • Replace the transmission fluid drain bolt
  • Replace the transmission pan plug
  • Flush and replace the transmission filter


Now that you understand the benefits of low transmission fluid, it’s up to you to take that knowledge and act on it.

Hopefully, this guide has already convinced you to start searching for your transmission fluid dipstick. But the best way to ensure the success of your endeavor is to get the support of your friends and family. And you don’t want to wait until they ask you directly … you want to be prepared.

So I recommend that you have a “prepared” message ready, in the event someone asks you, “Why are you interested in checking your transmission fluid?”

In all the times I’ve experienced this, I’ve found it’s best to think about who I’m talking to and to tailor my answer to their personality.