Automatic Transmission Fluid


#1

This is something I’m just curious about . Years ago a friend was looking to buy a used car off a car lot . He asked me to go along to look at cars with him . One car he liked the looks of was a Chrysler product , If I remember correctly a Dodge & we test drove it . It ran well & the transmission shifted fine & seemed to work properly .
When we got back to the lot I checked the transmission fluid & it was brown , about the color of engine oil after a fresh change . It didn’t look dirty or burnt & didn’t smell burnt . I advised him against buying the car because of the color of the transmission fluid & he didn’t buy it but probably would have otherwise . Has there ever been automatic transmission fluid that was brown & supposed to look brown ? I’ll add , it was definitely the transmission fluid I checked & not the engine oil .


#2

I get my transmission fluid exchanged every 30,000 miles. It goes in bright pink. A week later, it’s pinkish-brown. Why? Because exchanging the transmission fluid never gets all of the old stuff out, and then what’s left mixes with the new stuff and gets dulled down right quick.


#3

I don’t think I remember seeing fluid that looked & smelled clean that didn’t have any hint of a red look to it .


#4

I tend to misremember many things. But I think Type F (Ford) ATF was amber verses Dexron (GM) that was red. I don’t remember which color Chryslers used.


#5

Chrysler used ATF3, now ATF4, which are pink/red. Could be the Dodge had the wrong fluid in it, which, according to the allpar.com site is a major mistake. I think it was reasonable to see a big caution flag in that off-color trans fluid.


#6

Transmission fluid is bright red when it comes out of the container.

Here’s a chart that shows when to service the transmission fluid by it’s color.

Tester


#7

The dye used in some automatic transmission fluid is not permanent;

FLUID COLOR

Mopar ATF+4® has exceptional durability. However, the red dye used in ATF+4® is not permanent; as the fluid ages it may become darker or appear brown in color. ATF+4® also has a unique odor that may change with age. With ATF+4® fluid, color and odor are no longer indicators of fluid condition and do not necessarily support a fluid change.


#8

I don’t think that should have been a deal breaker. It was due for an ATF change, but it was not to the point of doing any damage. It would have been a good negotiating point though as the ATF should have been changed ASAP.


#9

I’ve never thought that tranny color was an indicator of if it’s still good. The only indicator I’ve ever used was did it smell burnt.


#10

http://myautomatictransmission.com/how-to-check-condition-of-atf.htm

Tester


#11

I have bought quite a few used cars with 20-40K miles on them where I am sure nobody changed the fluid before me and the fluid has always been brown with almost no trace of red in it. I just do 3 drain and refills when I get them and keep doing one drain/refill at around 20K miles after.