If your transmission is running hot, be aware of possible causes.

Most transmission problems are a result of overheating.

Reasons for overheating include low fluid levels, leaks, burned, old or dirty fluid, or problems with the solenoid. You can ensure the long life and efficient performance of your transmission – and your car – by doing some things to make sure it does not run too hot.

Low fluid is a transmission killer.

Low transmission fluid results in excessive wear and tear, which causes the transmission to run hot, and eventually fail.

Additionally, pressure is crucial to the overall effectiveness of the fluid. Without enough transmission fluid, there will not be enough pressure for the transmission to operate optimally, and it will start showing signs of trouble, such as slipping, hard shifting, strange noises, and overheating.

Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of your transmission.

It cools and lubricates the many moving parts of the transmission. You can check fluid levels by pulling the transmission dipstick. Refer to your owner’s manual for location of the dipstick and the right levels to look for. If you have low fluid levels, you’ll need to add more fluid. Again, check your vehicle owner’s guide for the type of fluid and amounts recommended by the manufacturer.

Related: Automatic Transmission Fluid Overview

image of car on lift, transmission fluid draining out of transmission.

Change or flush transmission fluid at manufacturer’s recommended intervals

Old, worn out, or burned fluid will cause the transmission to run hot.

The color of the transmission fluid will tell you if it’s time for a change.

Fresh, effective transmission fluid will get you many happy miles down the road. Old, worn out, or burned fluid will leave you stuck at the side of that road, possibly with irreparable damage. Transmission fluid wears out over time and can become contaminated with dirt and grit. Additionally, burned transmission fluid results from transmission heat – and transmission heat results from low fluid or old, ineffective fluid that needs to be changed. Either way, low or bad fluid can cause transmission heat, and transmission heat can burn the fluid – a vicious cycle that ends in transmission failure. Keep your transmission fluid clean and fresh and it most likely won’t burn. If the transmission fluid is burning, you will notice a strong smell that is difficult to describe, but can’t be missed. It’s been described as burning plastic or burned toast.

New
Good/OK
Time to Change
Burned/
Ineffective

Though transmission fluid comes in different colors these days, the majority of brands are bright, translucent red or pink. Worn out or burned transmission fluid will be dark red, brown, or even black, possibly thick and filled with gunk. The darker the color, the older and more worn out it is, which is evidence that it needs to be changed. If it’s burned, it will smell strongly and you will know your transmission has been running hot and is need of attention. Good transmission fluid should be translucent and clean, with no visible discoloration or contaminants.

Transmission slipping is another hint that the fluid is low and old.

Reasons for the transmission slipping include things such as worn parts and gears, or a bad clutch, but these are not as common as just plain low or ineffective fluid. Transmission slipping should not be ignored because it’s a sign of problems that should be addressed immediately – including an overheating transmission caused by bad fluid. So, a good examination of the fluid level and its condition might be just what you need. If the slipping persists, then it’s time to take your car to a transmission technician for further diagnosis.

A defective solenoid can cause the transmission to run hot.

The transmission solenoid regulates how much fluid is passed through the transmission. If it malfunctions, not enough fluid is pumped into the transmission, which will result in the transmission overheating. A defective solenoid has to be replaced. A thorough diagnosis of your transmission overheating issues should be able to identify the solenoid as the problem, but sometimes the underlying circuitry can be the issue. Either way, the solenoid should be checked if all other issues have been addressed and your transmission still overheats.

Be aware of other possible causes of transmission overheating.

image of truck towing trailerTowing heavy loads makes your transmission work harder than normal.

Heavy towing means that your transmission should be serviced more often. You should frequently check fluid levels and colors, and be careful not to exceed load limits.

Driving habits, conditions, and weather.

Urban, or city driving involves a lot of stop and go traffic. The constant accelerating and slowing, shifting up and down through gears, causes your transmission to work harder than normal. Hot weather contributes to an overheating transmission by raising the resting fluid temperature, so it’s warmer than normal from the get-go. Combined with city driving, your transmission fluid is bound to heat up and wear out sooner, so it pays to check it frequently.

What you can do to prevent transmission overheating.

Check the transmission fluid level and color.

By checking the fluid level about once a month, you’ll not only ensure there is always enough fluid for adequate lubrication and pressure in the transmission, you’ll get to examine the color of the fluid. By simply checking the transmission fluid, you’ll be able to spot low fluid levels, as well as dirty or burned fluid before they become problems and cause expensive damage. It’s a good preventative measure you can take that is easy and quick. The more often you do it, the more smoothly your transmission will run, and the more efficient your car will be overall.

Change the transmission fluid according to your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

The frequency of fluid change can be from 30,000 to 60,000 miles, but is dependent on the type of vehicle you drive, your driving habits and requirements, and the conditions in which you drive. If you tow heavy loads or drive in harsh conditions, the frequency of transmission fluid changes will probably be higher than average.

Consider a transmission cooler to help your car’s cooling system.

Your car’s radiator does the job of cooling the transmission, so be sure to maintain it. You should check the coolant from time to time, and change it about every two years. If you tow or haul heavy loads, consider getting a transmission cooler. A transmission cooler provides extra cooling power to your car’s cooling system, assisting it in preventing the many hot, running systems in the engine from overheating. The best transmission cooler is a stack plate cooler. It is attached to the front of the radiator to help keep the transmission fluid cool, thereby helping the performance and extending the life of your transmission.

Related: All About Automatic Transmission Coolers

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Find Your Locally Owned & Operated AAMCO Colorado Auto Repair Center

 
AAMCO Greeley all north

2445 West 29th St. | Greeley, Colorado, 80631

(970) 330-4858
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:30pm
Saturdays: 9:00am to 1:00pm
Also serving: Loveland, Windsor, Evans, Fort Morgan, and Johnstown.

At AAMCO of Greeley, Colorado you can expect the best quality service for Greeley transmission repair, Greeley oil and filter change, cooling and radiator service, Greeley brake repair and service, fluid service, strut and shock repair, Greeley car tune-up service, and all your other Greeley auto repair needs. Come visit a Greeley mechanic at your neighborhood Greeley AAMCO Center today and see why we stake our reputation on our award-winning customer service.

AAMCO Colorado Springs all south

432 W. Garden of the Gods Rd. | Colorado Springs, CO, 80907

(719) 599-8843
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Serving Colorado Springs, Manitou, Fort Carson & surrounding areas.

At AAMCO Colorado Springs transmission center we specialize in transmissions, but we can handle all your car repair and maintenance needs. From tune ups and factory recommended maintenance, to oil changes, brakes, exhaust system and muffler repairs, shocks and struts, radiators, cooling systems, and air conditioning, we’ll keep your car in top operating condition. Your vehicle will receive total car care and transmission repair by knowledgeable, well-trained, expert technicians.

Honda Acura Expert
AAMCO Colorado Springs has in-house experience in Honda Acura transmissions and repairs. Our expert can help you with any issues you have, from Civic to Pilot, ILX to MDX, Integra to Legend. Call or make an appointment today with our expert Honda Acura service technician.

AAMCO Aurora - Hampden & Tower all metro

18355-A E. Girard Avenue | Aurora, CO, 80013

(303) 400-4842
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 8:00am to 5:30pm

At AAMCO of Aurora, Colorado transmissions and car care center (located on E. Girard Ave, at Hampden and Tower Rd.) we care about your vehicle as much as you do. We specialize in affordable transmission rebuilds and replacements, but we also provide complete auto repair and maintenance services such as oil and filter changes, cooling and radiator services, brakes, shocks and struts, exhaust systems and much more.

AAMCO Aurora - E Colfax Ave all metro

14871 E Colfax Avenue | Aurora, CO, 80011

(303) 366-4842
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 8:00am to 5:00pm

As your local, independent AAMCO of Aurora (East Colfax Ave.) we stake our reputation on our award-winning customer service and high-quality auto repair. Come in to your neighborhood Aurora, Colorado AAMCO Center today for affordable, reliable auto repair and maintenance. From cars and trucks to 4x4's and AWD's, we've got you covered!

AAMCO Arvada all metro

6437 Miller Street | Arvada, Colorado, 80004

(303) 431-1991
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 7:30am to 5:30pm,
Sat: 8:00am to 12:00pm
Also Serving: Westminster, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Idaho Springs, and Georgetown.

At AAMCO transmission and auto repair of Arvada, Colorado we know what it takes to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Let us provide you with the best transmission repair and service, oil and filter change, cooling and radiator service, brake repair and service, fluid service, strut and shock repair, car tune-up service, and much, much more.

AAMCO Lakewood all metro

8808 W Colfax Avenue | Lakewood, Colorado, 80215

(303) 234-1263
Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 8:00am – 1:00pm
Also Serving: Golden, Evergreen, Wheat Ridge, Conifer, and Edgewater.

At AAMCO of Lakewood, Colorado, we work hard to provide you with the best transmission repair and auto maintenance services around. From oil and filter change, cooling and radiator service, brake repair and service, to fluid service, strut and shock repair, tune-ups and more, your locally owned and operated Lakewood AAMCO center is your one-stop shop for auto repair and maintenance. Whether you need exceptional auto repair or just want to talk with a mechanic, your local, independent AAMCO of Lakewood, Colorado dealer can help. Come in to your neighborhood Lakewood AAMCO Center today for affordable, friendly, and reliable auto repair and maintenance services.

AAMCO Brighton all metro

10500 Havana Ct Unit A | Brighton, CO, 80601

(303) 287-5181
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 8:00am - 5:00pm

When you bring your car to AAMCO of Brighton, Colorado you'll see firsthand how much we care about giving you the best service possible for all your transmission and auto repair needs. We offer a full range of automotive maintenance and repair services, including transmission rebuilds, oil and filter changes, air conditioning repair, engine cooling system and radiator service, brake repairs and service, fluid service, suspensions, tune-ups, exhaust systems, and more.

AAMCO Littleton all metro

10168 W. Chatfield Ave. | Littleton, CO, 80127

(303) 933-1535
Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 9:00am – 1:00pm

At AAMCO Transmissions of Littleton, Colorado, our mission is to provide the best customer service and auto repair in Littleton. We provide total car care – from oil and filter change, cooling and radiator repairs, to brake service, struts and shocks, exhaust systems, and more. Your locally owned and operated AAMCO of Littleton, Colorado transmission center is your one-stop shop for transmission repairs and auto maintenance and repairs.

AAMCO Fort Collins all north

3737 S. Mason Street | Ft. Collins, Colorado, 80525

(970) 226-4477
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Also Serving: Loveland, Estes Park, Windsor, Wellington, and Laramie.

As your local, independent AAMCO Fort Collins, Colorado transmission repair dealer, we promise you’ll find the help you need and a local Fort Collins auto repair experience you’ll want to repeat. Come in to your neighborhood Ft. Collins AAMCO Transmission Center today to visit an expert mechanic for honest and affordable auto repair and maintenance services.

AAMCO Evergreen all metro mountain

27659 County Hwy 74 | Evergreen, Colorado, 80439

(720) 708-6954
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 8:00am to 5:00pm,
Also Serving: Kittredge, Idledale, Morrison, Idaho Springs, and Georgetown.

AAMCO transmission and auto repair of Evergreen, Colorado provides you with the best local transmission repair and service, oil change, brake repair and service, cooling and radiator service, fluid service, struts and shocks repair, car tune-up, and much more. We know what it takes to keep your vehicle running smoothly - in the mountains or down in the city. Come to AAMCO Transmission Repair and Auto Service Center in Evergreen, CO for the best service around.

AAMCO Pueblo all south

1910 W US Hwy 50 | Pueblo, Colorado, 81008

(719) 542-8040
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Sat: 8:00am – 4:00pm

At AAMCO transmission and auto repair of Pueblo, Colorado we know what it takes to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Let us provide you with the best transmission repair and service, oil and filter change, cooling and radiator service, brake repair and service, fluid service, strut and shock repair, car tune-up service, and much, much more.

AAMCO Northglenn all metro

11450 Huron Street | Northglenn, Colorado, 80234

(303) 451-5400
Hours of Operation
Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Also Serving: Dupont, Westminster, Welby, and Henderson.

When you need affordable, expert auto repair, visit your local AAMCO of Northglenn, Colorado. We work hard to set the standards in tranmission repair, rebuilds, and auto repair by offering you superior service, technology, and expertise at a price you can afford. From oil and filter changes, cooling and radiator services to brake repairs, fluid services, struts and shock repairs, tune-ups and more, your locally owned and operated Northglenn AAMCO transmissions and total car care center is your one-stop shop.

AAMCO Longmont all metro

1611 Vista View Dr | Longmont, Colorado, 80504

(303) 651-0443
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5:30pm

When you visit your locally owned and operated AAMCO of Longmont, Colorado, you’ll see why we stake our reputation on our award-winning customer service and superior auto repair. With high-quality service in areas like transmission repair and auto maintenance, we are your #1 shop for oil and filter changes, cooling and radiator service, brake repair and service, fluid service, strut and shock repair, and tune-ups, and more. We offer the fast, reliable maintenance you need at an affordable price.

AAMCO Denver all metro

187 W. Alameda Ave. | Denver, CO, 80223

(303) 462-2626
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Fri: 8am – 5pm, Sat: 9:30am – 1pm
Also Serving: Edgewater, LoDo, Cherry Creek, Glendale, Park Hill, & Stapleton.

At AAMCO Denver Transmission Shop we take the difficulty and hassle out of your Transmission Repair. We have a simple mission: provide the highest quality transmission repair, rebuilds and customer service in the Denver metro area. When you visit your local AAMCO center in Denver, Colorado you can be sure your auto repair is in the hands of experienced, well-trained auto mechanics. AAMCO Denver also serves the greater metro area, including Glendale, Cherry Creek, Park Hill, and Englewood.

Foreign Car Transmission Experts
AAMCO Denver has in-house experience servicing transmissions for many makes and models of foreign cars. Our mechanics can help you with any transmission issues you have, from Audi and BMW to Mercedes and VW, Honda and Hyundai to Kia and Toyota. Call or make an appointment today with our expert service technicians.

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