Transmission fluid (or the transmission for that matter) isn’t the sort of thing most people think of very often. If your vehicle is running well, you probably don’t give it a second thought. But if you’re starting to notice any changes or hesitations in the way your vehicle shifts gears, you might start to think about the transmission. Transmission repair or replacement can be quite expensive, so it’s important to remember to check the transmission fluid regularly. Keeping on top of this vital component can help to extend the life of your transmission and save you from costly repairs.

Transmission fluid is something you can check yourself on most automatic vehicles. But if you’re like most people, you might need a little assistance knowing just what you’re checking. You go under the hood, pull the proper dipstick (not the oil dipstick), and check it out. It could be any number of colors, but what do they mean? To find out, keep reading.

What Color is Transmission Fluid?

Bright Red - Transmission color chip

Bright Red Transmission Fluid Equals New

Brand new transmission fluid is usually a dark red color, so this is a good sign. It should also be translucent or see-through. If your transmission fluid is a deep hue of see-through red and doesn’t have any off-putting smell to it, you’re in great shape.



Pink - Transmission color chip

Pink Transmission Fluid is Good

As transmission fluid starts to age, it will fade slightly in color. If you check your transmission fluid and it turns out pink or pinkish red, you’re still in pretty good shape. In this range, it’s unlikely that your transmission fluid would be to blame for any issues, so if you’re having them, it’s time to bring the vehicle in.


However, if it is a cloudy, foamy, milkshake pink color, it usually means you’ve experienced a failure in your radiator. This could also mean water contamination.

Pinkish Brown - Transmission color chipPinkish Brown Transmission Fluid is Borderline

As the transmission fluid continues aging, the fluid can start to break down. If it’s starting to look more brown than pink, it’s getting close to time to change it.



Brown - Transmission color chipBrown Transmission Fluid is Bad

If your transmission fluid is fully brown, it’s worn out, and you want to get it changed right away. It could indicate that the fluid’s ability to remove heat has been lost. You are starting to run the risk of damage to the transmission if you don’t get it changed soon.



Black- Transmission color chip

Black Transmission Fluid is Burnt

If your fluid is black or has a burnt smell to it, it’s no longer able to do its job, and there is likely some damage to your transmission. You’ll want to get your transmission serviced as quickly as possible. You really want to avoid your transmission fluid getting to this stage. If the transmission is damaged, a repair or replacement will be needed soon.



Blue - Transmission color chipGreen - Transmission color chip

Other Unusual Colors

Some manufacturers have started dyeing certain transmission fluids with bright, translucent blue or green. These colors aren’t cause for alarm, and the continuum works the same. The darker, browner, and more opaque it gets, the more important it is to change.


Contact Our Trusted Master Mechanics at Ace Auto in West Jordan, Utah Today

This handy color guide should help to demystify this process for you. If you’ve checked your transmission fluid and the results are anywhere past a translucent pink, you don’t want to delay and risk a costly transmission replacement. Schedule a service with master mechanics at Ace Auto today! We are located in West Jordan, Utah. Give us a call at 801-803-6016 for a free repair quote. All of our services are guaranteed!

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