5 Effects And Symptoms Of Too Much Transmission Fluid (+ Solutions)

It is usually difficult to refill transmission oil in most car models. This difficulty is a result of not knowing how much you should fill, resulting in adding too much transmission fluid overfilled transmission. Here is what you should do if this happens.

If what you want is a smooth and durable transmission operation, fill it with the correct fluid. Even though having less transmission fluid could lead to many problems, having one that’s overfilled can equally cause you problems.

The consequences of overfilled transmission in your vehicle will be discussed here. Including symptoms, it’ll cause and how you can fix these problems.

Symptoms Of Too Much Transmission Fluid

1. Higher Fluid Level on Dipstick

If you feel you might’ve overfilled the transmission with much fluid, you can easily spot the problem by checking the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out and check its levels, although it is not always an indicator you should rely on.

When the car is heated up and running, it makes the transmission fluid thinner. It’ll have a thicker texture if the car has just been sitting. If you’re planning to check the transmission fluid with a dipstick, it is best you warm the engine up first.

2. Trouble Changing Gears

If you notice any problem while changing gears, it could mean that the fluid in your system is too much. Air and go can form due to pressure building up, and this affects internal parts lubrication.

This mixture can create other problems. Problems like finding it difficult to shift without the correct quantity of lubrication. This might cause you to notice spillage btw gears and also hard shifts.

3. Leaking fluid

The 1st sign people use to detect a problem is spotting a puddle of transmission fluid under their car. This fluid is usually red, so it is not difficult for you to notice it.

Buildup and excessive pressure as a result of the seal’s breakdown tend to cause leakage as the fluid is looking for ways to escape from the system.

4. Strange Noises

Mostly, your transmission is not supposed to make weird noises. However, when you hear whining, humming, or grinding, it can be a signal that there is something wrong.

The transmission being close to your engine can make it difficult to find where those noises are coming from. You might, however, notice these noises and other signs. Typically, the humming or whining happens when there is an off-fluid level, while the grinding shows your gears rubbing each other due to insufficient lubrication.

5. Overheating

If the transmission contains the wrong quantity of fluid, it’ll need to work more, and this inefficiency puts the engine under strain. The transmission could overheat if the situation gets very bad, and this will, in turn, make the engine overheat. Always check your temperature gauge to be indicated on time that something’s going wrong.

Also Read: Can You Add Oil To A Hot Engine? (Expert Answer)

Why Would Someone Add Too Much Transmission Fluid?

Too Much Transmission Fluid

It’s usually a mistake when the transmission fluid is added too much. This happens when the person thinks he might not have drained out his transmission fluid, which is completely old, or his tank is bigger than it’s supposed to be.

Another mistake that is common is that the transmission fluid is checked when it is cold, whereas it should be checked when it is hot. This is because this fluid increases when hot, and the correct way you can check the level of your car’s transmission fluid is when your engine is at its operating temperature.

What Happens Add Too Much Transmission Fluid?

Transmission overfilling can equally affect the transmission’s performance. But if it is overfilled with 1/2″ and 1/4″ quartz, then there’s no need to panic. It should be considered if your transmission is overfilled with one quarter or more and then drained.

However, driving a new car with CVT or DSG transmission might not be a good idea to driving around with overfilled transmission fluid. Draining some fluid is usually easy, and it’s worth it if your car is expensive.

Effecrts Of Overfilling Your Transmission Fluid

You may encounter a few problems when the transmission fluid is overfilled. Other consequences for having an overfilled transmission fluid are listed in more detail below:

1. Overheating

The transmission fluid’s responsibility is to keep your transmission cool. However, using so much fluid can cause an overheating situation.

Even though this sounds backward a little at first, when the transmission is overfilled, the buildup causes leakage. When the leak gets out of the gearbox, it breaks seals, reducing lubrication on the gearbox and, in turn, causing overheating.

2. Pressure Buildup

We just noted that too much transmission fluid increases pressure inside. The pressure does not cause overheating by just making fluids leak; it could equally cause air contamination.

This air contamination results from the rotating gears inside that splash liquid around and causes chemical reactions, producing foam and air bubbles. The situation reduces fluid’s ability to lubricate internal parts, leading to the next two issues we’ll discuss.

3. Excessive Transmission Wear

Transmission moving parts require the correct quantity of lubricity for them to work right. Overfilled transmission makes the level of lubrication not the same, leading to faster wear. In addition, continuous exposure of the transmission to high g pressures brings problems with functionality and shifting. This can bring up the next problem, which is complete transmission failure.

4. Transmission Failure

It is not usual for a transmission to fail overnight due to excess fluid. But then ignoring the problem is asking for more trouble. With time failure occurs from many things. Whether it’s leaking seals, metal parts that aren’t lubricated, or pressure buildup that you’re dealing with, all of them eventually affect the transmission till it stops working.

Fixing an Overfilled Transmission

1. Park the Car

Prompt actions help avoid problems if you feel your transmission is overfilled. The first thing to do is park the vehicle on a leveled surface to enable you to get a correct fluid reading.

Then turn your car engine on and let it heat a little. This is to get your engine very close to the operating temperature that’s normal. The hood should be popped open.

2. Check the Fluid Level

Remove the dipstick from the transmission port, wipe it with a rag, and reinsert it inside the transmission.

Pull out the dipstick again and look out for the fluid. The dipstick should have indicators for quick evaluation. Check your service or repair manual for instructions if you’re unsure how to do it.

3. Drain Excess Fluid

If the transmission fluid is too much, you have to reduce it. Unfortunately, it’s not always simple to reduce the level. You can decide to use a tube to siphon the fluid out. Otherwise, you’ll have to drain the transmission drain port. Ensure you get the changing pan fluid and dispose of it correctly.

4. Recheck the Fluid Level

You have to finally recheck the whole system to make sure it is at the correct level. Then, you’ll have to repeat the 2nd step to make sure your work is successful.

The obvious best way to avoid not doing any of the steps is to be careful when filling the transmission. Putting the right quantity of fluid would ensure the transmission runs accurately.

Why Do I Need To Worry About My Vehicle’s Transmission Fluid?

The quality of fluid in a car is very important because the fluid acts like a lubricant that aids in to smooth running of the car engine. Transmission fluid reduces friction within the transmission, letting the car move backward or forward and even change gears easily.

Apart from reducing friction, it controls the temperature within the transmission and prevents metal surfaces from excessive tear and wear.

Having the right fluid in the transmission also increases the engine’s rotational speed and conditions the gasket. So having a professional amount of transmission fluid in a transmission isn’t something to take lightly.

Also Read: 6 Bad Transmission Shift Linkage Symptoms (And How to Fix)

Can Too Much Transmission Fluid Cause Damage?

Of course, too much fluid can cause damage. It affects performance, and excess fluid in the system could go as far as damaging components.

Now we are taking of few extra fluids here. But then, if it’s just one quarter overfilled, some problems that can happen are: the added pressure can make seals wear out faster, causing a transmission fluid that leaks.

Also, it could lead to engine overheating, which can, in turn, damage different components. Excess fluid can finally lead to parts pitting that will damage different components and equally wear out.

How To Measure Transmission Fluid Levels a Car Can Hold

Most times, the problem with filling the transmission fluid more than usual comes from wrong measurements. In comparison to the change of engine oil, the transmission is more sensitive and less forgiving.

To measure fluid level accurately, you have to heat the transmission by driving your vehicle for fifteen to twenty minutes and also keep your engine running as you take out the dipstick. This way, you will get a correct reading and find out if the transmission fluid is enough.

The level of transmission fluid depends on your car’s type. For example, most cars would take about four to ten quarters of fluid, while some passenger cars take up to seventeen quarters.

Due to this, it is important you’re aware of places to look so you can find out the quantity of transmission fluid needed by your car. The first place to check out is the owner’s manual. There you’ll find out the exact quantity of oil your car’s transmission should take, and it will equally tell you the type of fluid you should use.

If your manual isn’t with you, you could track it with Google or try reaching out to the local dealership. But then be careful if you choose to use Google so you don’t get the wrong information from the wrong source.

How To Extract Too Much Transmission Fluid

Too much transmission fluid can be extracted in 2 ways: Draining the excess from underneath and siphoning the excess from the top.

The advantage of getting your drain plug unscrewed and draining this excess fluid is it wouldn’t cost you extra money, just time for prepping, and it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll drain much fluid.

When you approach this problem from the top, it gives you better control over the quantity of fluid you’ll drain, but you will need to spend on a siphon pump if you don’t have any.

1. The Drain Plug Method

It is not ideal for releasing the drain plug and extracting excess fluid, but someone quick could get the work done quickly. You need to access the undercarriage, which can only be possible if you can access a lift or mechanics trench. If not, you’ll need to use a car stand and jack to elevate the vehicle.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Allow the car to be completely cool before you start.
  2. Raise the car behind your left front wheel, then put the 1st stand under an area that’s reinforced.
  3. Repeat this process on your right front wheel, and place wheel stops at the back of your rear wheels
  4. Wear disposable gloves on both hands.
  5. Lose the car’s drain plug using the socket
  6. Place a drain pan under, then continue unscrewing the plug till it’s loose enough for you to continue by hand
  7. You will need to hold the plug as the fluid drains out so you’ll be able to seal the space quickly. It is important to do this when the transmission is cold to avoid burning your hands.
  8. After sealing the drain plug tightly, lower the car.
  9. Drive the vehicle for fifteen to twenty minutes so the transmission fluid can heat up, and finally, check out the levels.

The only problem with the draining method is you can’t tell the quantity of fluid you need to drain. I’ll advise you to check out the forums for anyone that has figured out a correlation btw dipstick level & quantity of fluid.

Not letting enough fluid out means you will repeat the process, which will take up time and energy while letting too much out means pouring some oil back, which can lead to excess filling again.

I only had to explain this method because of its existence, but I’ll strongly advise you stick to siphoning excess fluid from the top. How you can do that will be explained in this next section.

2. The Siphoning Method

A cheap pump that transfers fluid, making removing excess fluid much easier. You could use a makeshift pump made of a rubber hose and a large syringe.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. A large container for the pump and hose to fit in to keep it clean through the process should be made ready first.
  2. Allow the engine and transmission to cool off before inserting the hose inside the dipstick’s hole
  3. Pull the transmission fluid out using the handle of the pump.
  4. Start the vehicle, then drive for fifteen to twenty minutes so the transmission can heat up. After that, check out the levels.
  5. Repeat this process if need be till you get a fluid level that’s normal.

Although this method still has the same problem of not being aware of the quantity of fluid to be pulled out, it is more convenient than the draining method and could be completed with fewer steps.

If you want to speed up this process, give the pump measurements that can tell you the quantity of fluid in the canister and hose. Take measurements btw the point the fluid currently rests on and the max fluid level.

Once the fluid is drawn out for the 1st time, the correlation btw the quantity of fluid that was removed and the level can be made and adjusted accordingly.

Too Much Transmission Fluid

What Happens If My Transmission Fluid Becomes Foamy?

Transmission fluid gets foamy if there’s excess fluid. Too much fluid stops cooling and proper lubrication, slowing the crankshaft’s rotation. This is similar to the effects of running through water. When the air above gets mixed up with the excess fluid, a foamy substance is created, and this substance saturates transmission. It could lead to:

  • Seal failure
  • Part pitting
  • High internal temperature
  • Poor shifting

Note: When your transmission seals and engine starts failing, it could mean that the transmission has to be rebuilt

On an occasion of late discovery, the eventual consequences of putting excess transmission fluid in your car could end up making you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars just in repair bills, then headaches as you await your transmission repair.

In a situation where you’re unsure of the quantity of fluid your vehicle has, simply find your transmission dipstick, then bring it out as your car is on but in the park.

Don’t forget to be careful as the fluid can be very hot, especially if your car engine has been on and running for a long time. Clean it with a rag, then put it back in your transmission dipstick tube before bringing it out again. Ensure the fluid reaches up to its fill line. Make sure you don’t let the transmission fluid pass that ‘fill’ line.

If you’re not sure you have too little or too much fluid or what you should do if there’s excess fluid, the safest decision to take is to consult a professional mechanic specialized in the repair of transmission. The mechanic will help you get the level right where it’s supposed to be.

At Express Transmissions, we have a longstanding reputation for being one of Toledo’s top transmission repair shops in the region. Our experts will confidently help you identify the exact problem with your transmission and quickly provide you with the best solution to the issue, honestly and efficiently.

We know that not all transmission repair services are the same, but we would like to prove ourselves as the best to you. Call us today to find out what a quality repair service should feel like

Seek Help From A Professional

There is nothing wrong with cutting your loss and seeking the help of a professional to sort out this problem. But first, make inquiries and explain the situation to find the cheapest mechanic. The labor cost for full transmission fluid change should be up to a hundred dollars, but it’ll be cheaper if it’s just the fluid level they’ll correct.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for transmission fluid to circulate?

How long does it take to flush a transmission? Professional mechanics can carry out a simple flush within 3 to 4 hours using a pump inlet or commercial flushing machine. On the other hand, the change of transmission fluid takes about thirty minutes.

What color should transmission fluid be?

The color should be dark red.

Most car fluids have been dyed so they can be identified easily, and transmission fluids are included. The newer ones are translucent dark red color, but they become darker with time through use.

Can you mix old and new transmission fluid?

Mixing new and old transmission fluid will not give you reduces the transmission system’s performance. This fluid loses its standard property and is supposed to be changed for the smooth performance of transmission parts.

What happens if you mix synthetic transmission fluid with regular?

Is it OK to mix synthetic ATF with conventional or synthetic blend ATF? Yes. Synthetic ATF and conventional fluids are 100 percent compatible with each other.

Do you check your transmission fluid when it’s hot or cold?

If you’re checking the transmission fluid level at home, it’s best to warm up your car before doing that. Checking the car when the engine is cold might give you a reading that is not accurate when the dipstick is being used. Park your car on an even surface after driving for ten minutes but keep it running.

Does changing transmission fluid help shifting?

Although changing fluid cannot fix mechanical problems, it makes shifts smoother and can extend your transmission’s life. And even though manufacturers recommend you change your car fluid at 150,000 miles intervals under normal conditions, it might be a good idea to change it frequently.

Does transmission fluid circulate in the park?

The torque converter, which turns anytime the engine runs, drives the pump, so there’s the flow of transmission fluid through the transmission. One difference between a park and neutral is that rk, the parking pawl is eng while in the packaged.

What color should transmission fluid be on the dipstick?

A healthy transmission fluid will be very close to clear with a little pink in it. If the transmission fluid is dirty or you smell burning, then it is time for the transmission fluid to be replaced. Clean the dipstick with a rag and return to your car. Pull out the dipstick again and check the levels.

Should I change my transmission fluid if it’s brown?

when it is Dark Brown/Brown. Usually, at about thirty thousand miles, transmission fluid becomes brown, and this means it is time for it to be changed. Then, the brown transmission fluid becomes opaque, and this means you cannot see through it again.

What causes transmission fluid to brown?

When the transmission fluid turns brown or deep red, it means the transmission fluid is old and likely to cause extra damage within the transmission. Dark brown is a sign that you have a burnt transmission fluid caused by overheating. Check to see if there are any particles within the transmission fluid.

Final Thoughts

Transmission overfilling or adding too much transmission fluid can cause very serious damage. When addressed on time, then there should not be any problem. It may take 1 or 2 hours for you to get transmission fluid levels right with heating ups btw checks. But correcting it yourself will help you save money & most importantly, keep your car’s transmission in optimal condition.

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