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Transmission Leak Repair: Can I Do It Myself?

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A damaged transmission is one of the most expensive car parts to repair. Drivers don’t want to hear from their car’s mechanic that their transmission is in need of a replacement. Not only does it cost thousands of dollars to repair, but just one mechanical failure involving it can cause your engine to shut down completely. That is why you need to be aware of the early signs of a bad transmission so you will be able to detect it early, preventing further damage to your transmission.  One of the leading causes of transmission problems is low fluid level which can be caused by a transmission leak. When this happens, a transmission leak repair is needed. A transmission leak repair can be done by replacing the damaged parts that caused it.

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The transmission leak can be caused by a damaged transmission pan, loose thread drain plugs, broken transmission fluid lines, worn out gasket, or issues with the torque converter. If the problem is caused by any of these parts, a transmission leak repair is done by replacing the faulty parts. But if the leak is caused by small cracks, the transmission leak repair can be done by using leak sealers. You can buy these products and put it in your transmission to help create a seal on small cracks and stop the leak. Depending on the cause of the leak, you can fix the leak yourself, but if not, you better let the professionals handle the transmission leak repair.

Transmission Leak Repair:  How Serious is a Transmission Leak?

The transmission is an important component of a car. It uses the rotational force from the engine and transmits it to the drive wheels. Without a working transmission, the car might not be able to run and in order for the transmission to function properly and efficiently, it needs to have an uncontaminated transmission fluid.

The transmission fluid needs to be uncontaminated and at the right level to work efficiently. If not, the transmission will experience significant wear as well as all of its components. If your transmission is low on fluid, it can lead to a number of transmission problems. Aside from significant wear of the transmission and its components, problems like difficulty in shifting, transmission won’t shift gear, vibrations, odd noises, gear slipping, and transmission overheating will start to occur.

Since driving with a low transmission fluid can lead to various problems, it is important that you make sure that it is always at the proper level. One of the leading causes of a low transmission level is fluid leak. One might ask, how serious is a transmission leak? It is very serious, a problem that should be taken seriously and not ignored. It can lead to problems that will cost thousands of dollars to repair. The moment you spot a leak, a transmission leak repair should be done as soon as possible.

The transmission fluid is very important since it does not only lubricate the components of the transmission, it also helps reduce heat and friction. The transmission has many moving parts inside it such as gear sets, clutches, and valves. When these parts move about, doing their tasks, they generate friction which creates heat. The transmission fluid takes all this heat as it flows around the different parts. The fluid will then be cooled as it is pumped forward to a cooling chamber located in the bottom of the radiator where the heat gets released into the air.

Imagine what will happen if you drive with a low fluid level because of a transmission leak. It is for this reason why you should have a transmission leak repair the moment you spot a fluid leak. But what causes a transmission fluid leak?

  • Bad transmission pan gasket.

A car’s transmission has a transmission pan that stores the transmission fluid. It is built with a transmission pan gasket which is a mechanical seal that is set between the pan and the transmission. It is the one that keeps the transmission fluid from escaping while it is being transferred from the pan into the transmission. If this transmission pan gasket becomes damaged or is cracked, it will result in a fluid leak.

This problem needs to be fixed right away. If the needed transmission leak repair is not done, the crack on the pan gasket and the leak can get worse. To fix this problem you will have to replace the damaged transmission pan gasket.

  • Bad transmission pan.

The transmission pan is susceptible to wear and tear over time since while you are driving, it can be hit with loose rocks or other small objects on the road. If the pan takes a hit and gets punctured, even just a small one, it can cause a fluid leak. A leak can also happen if the hit has gotten the drain plugs or bolts loose. When you spot a fluid leak, check the transmission pan for any signs of damage. Also check the bolts or drain plugs if they are loose. It is best that you take your car to an auto service shop and have a transmission leak repair to prevent any further damage.

  • Broken seals.

A transmission consists of a lot of seals that sustains the hydraulic pressure. Over time, these seals wear out and will crack since they are often exposed to much heat.  Cracked and worn out seals can create a gap which can cause a fluid leak. You will usually find these leaky seals on the input shaft or the output shaft. You might need to inspect other areas as well to look for the leaky seal such as the transmission pan, plug seals, shifter housing seal, sensors, tail housing seal, speedometer input seal, or valve body.

  • Torque converter leak.

The torque converter moves the transmission fluid into the transmission. If it becomes damaged or cracked due to normal wear and tear, it can cause a fluid leak that would warrant a transmission leak repair. Repairing a torque converter leak is a bit complicated so it is better to let a professional handle the transmission leak repair since the problem can only be fixed by replacing the damaged component.

  • Cracked transmission fluid line.

The transmission fluid lines are the ones responsible for transporting the transmission fluid to the cooling chamber inside or outside the radiator from the transmission pan. This back and forth flow lets the fluid release the heat it absorbed as it flows around various components before pumping it back into the transmission.

Although these fluid lines are built to be sturdy, they still tend to wear out over time since they are often exposed to too much heat. They can also become damaged when they get hit by loose rocks and other road debris. When this happens, the fluid lines will develop cracks that could lead to a transmission fluid leak.

A fluid leak caused by damaged fluid lines will need a transmission leak repair that involves a fluid line replacement. It won’t cost that much to replace fluid lines but if you continue to drive your car with a leaking transmission fluid, it can quickly escalate to a much serious problem that can cost you thousands of dollars to repair.

Transmission Leak Repair: Is it Expensive to Fix a Transmission Leak?

When you are dealing with a transmission fluid leak, one tends to worry about the cost of the transmission leak repair. Many people are asking if it is expensive to fix a transmission leak. The answer to that question can vary depending on what caused the fluid leak. To find out the cost of the transmission leak repair, you will have to determine first the source of the leak.

You don’t just determine where the leak is just by looking where the leak drips. Like when you see the transmission fluid dripping off the bottom, you quickly assume that the source of the leak is there. It can happen that the drip is found on the bottom but in reality, leak is coming from the top and running down the sides. It is for this reason why you need to thoroughly inspect the location of the leak, or take your car to a service shop and let the professionals visually inspect it.

The transmission leak repair cost can vary depending what caused the leak, but transmission problem repairs can cost around $150 to $200. If you have detected the fluid leak early, the transmission leak repair cost won’t be that expensive. Fixing the problem before it gets worse, quickly patching it up will be less costly compared to ignoring it. When you ignore transmission fluid leaks, you will most likely experience severe problems that will require you to replace your entire transmission. When this happens, you will have to shell out thousands of dollars for the parts and labor costs.

There are also some products sold on the market today that can seal small cracks on your system that are causing the fluid leak. These leak sealers are specially formulated to seal small cracks as well as restore the seals on the input and output shafts of your transmission. They work to permanently seal the transmission leaks. However, the leak sealers only work if the leaks are caused by small cracks or loose seals. If the leak is caused by some damaged transmission components, you will have to replace them to correct the problem.

Transmission Leak Repair: How Do You Fix a Transmission Leak?

A transmission leak repair is best done by the professionals. But if you want to do the transmission leak repair, here are some of the things you can do.

  • Make sure that it is the transmission fluid that is leaking.

You need to determine if the leaking fluid you are seeing is the transmission fluid and not the engine oil. It is easy to determine if it is the transmission fluid since it usually has a translucent reddish color and is sweet-smelling. However, when the transmission fluid ages, its color will turn brown or blackish and will give off a toasty smell.

If you still can’t tell the difference between the transmission fluid and engine oil – since old and contaminated oil can sometimes have a brown and blackish color too – you can check both the engine oil and the transmission oil levels to know which is which.

  • Determine the source of the leak.

Finding the source of the leak can be hard. To make it easier, you can clean the entire undercarriage of your car with a brake cleaner or a degreaser. Once clean, drive your car around for a few minutes and park it on a piece of cardboard. When the leak starts, get a bright LED type flashlight and check the transmission and its components. You can also use a store-bought automotive leak detection kit to determine the source of the leak.

  • Determine your fixing skills.

If you have located the source of the leak and found out what caused it, you need to decide if you trust your fixing skills and do the transmission leak repair yourself. If the cause of the problem requires some part replacements, determine if you are confident to do it. If not, better let the professionals do the transmission leak repair. If you can still drive your car, take it to the nearest auto repair shop. But if you feel that it won’t be safe to drive it, have it towed instead.

If you decide and are confident that you can do the transmission leak repair yourself, you will need to buy the replacement parts and get the right tools. To start, you will have to drain the transmission fluid by unbolting the transmission pan or removing the drain plug. Make sure that you have a catch pan underneath. When you’re done draining all the fluid, you can then proceed to replace the damaged components. After that, you need to refill your transmission with a fresh transmission fluid. Make sure that you use the right one.

A transmission leak repair is something that has to be done immediately when you spot a fluid leak on your car. Fixing the problem early can help prevent severe problems and unnecessary repair costs. Always check your fluid level regularly and follow the manufacturer’s recommended fluid change interval to make sure that your transmission will last for a long time.

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