What Is the Color of Transmission Fluid?

Chances are, you won’t see your transmission fluid unless it is leaking out of your automobile, and this is an entirely different problem. If you do have a transmission fluid leak, call Accurate Auto right away. Driving with low transmission fluid can overheat and damage the transmission. In addition, the color of the transmission fluid leaking out of your car, truck, or utility vehicle will reflect the overall health of the fluid and your transmission. Keep reading to find out what we mean.

Red, Translucent, and Bright

Transmission fluid that is red, translucent, and bright is fluid that is protecting your transmission exactly the way it should be. This fluid does not need to be changed, but your transmission leak needs to be identified and repaired as soon as possible. It’s important to ensure that you change the transmission fluid when it needs it to protect the gears and internal mechanisms of your transmission.

Light Brown and Translucent

Your fluid still does not need to be changed if it is light brown and translucent. While the darkening of the colors suggests that the transmission fluid is aging, as long as it is only light brown and still translucent, the fluid is still doing its job. Even though you do not need to change the transmission fluid right now, it’s important to keep an eye on it because it will need to be changed soon.

Dark Brown and Opaque

Once the fluid becomes brown or dark brown and is no longer translucent, it needs to be changed right away. The reason why transmission fluid goes from translucent to opaque is that it is oxidizing, and this oxidation can damage your transmission, including the gears. Schedule an appointment to have brown transmission fluid changed immediately. Your transmission needs fresh fluid to avoid getting damaged.


Black transmission fluid needs to be changed immediately, as well. This transmission fluid is old, dirty, oxidized, and likely burnt. It is not protecting the transmission as it should be, nor is it helping it shift gears. Rather, it is actually damaging the transmission by griming up the internal mechanisms. If you keep driving your automobile with black transmission fluid, you are sure to damage the transmission.


The same holds true if your transmission fluid is pink. Pink indicates that there is a serious leak between your vehicle’s transmission and cooling system and this leak is introducing engine coolant into the transmission fluid. This dilutes the fluid to the point that it will damage your transmission if you try to drive. It’s important that you call Accurate Auto in Beaverton, OR, right away.

We also have auto service shops in Lake Oswego and Hillsboro, Oregon, and we’d be happy to check your transmission fluid for you. In fact, it’s a good idea to schedule a transmission service every 30,000 miles to ensure your transmission is a-okay.

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