What is the Normal Operating Temperature for Automatic Transmissions?

The temperature of their car's engine is often monitored by drivers to make sure that it runs properly. But, the operating temperature for the automatic transmission is seldom taken into account. Despite the importance of the transmission, it’s easy to overlook its basic care.

You want your car to run smoothly so that it can get you to where you need to go. That’s why we are going to look at the temperatures within the transmission and determine the symptoms of an overheated transmission. You will be given some tips to help prevent transmission damage. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. What is normal automatic transmission temperature?
  2. Warning Signs that Overheating Transmission is Possible
    1. 1. Burning Smell
    2. 2. Slower response time
    3. 3. Slipping Transmission
    4. 4. Limp Mode
  3. Stop the Overheating of Your Transmission

What is normal automatic transmission temperature?

The fluid temperature of the automatic transmission should be between 170 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures can go above 240° when the transmission is moving or if you push the vehicle too hard. Your transmission will be better protected with each 20 degree drop. 

When the torque converter turns on, the temperature is at its highest. When pulling heavy loads, temperatures may reach over 350°F. 

It can be difficult to monitor the temperature of the transmission fluid because most modern cars don’t come equipped with gauges. To tell you whether the transmission is heating up, the car uses a Check Engine Light and other warning lights. 

Warning Signs that Overheating Transmission is Possible

1. Burning Smell

To create power, the transmission employs gears. The hydraulic system depends on the fluid to transfer power. Automatic transmission fluid is essential to keep the system running smoothly. This fluid also regulates internal temperatures. 

The fluid begins to degrade as it ages. The fluid becomes less elastic as it gets older. oxidizesThis causes the internal structure to begin to fall apart. The fluid becomes less capable of decreasing heat and friction. The transmission can also overheat more easily.

If the transmission fluid becomes clearer, unusual odors will be evident under the hood. This darker fluid starts to burn, leading to a strong odor you won’t be able to deny. 

2. Slower response time

When the fluid levels drop, the temperature won’t be kept in check and the gears won’t operate as they should. Because of this lack of fluid, the gears can’t respond as quickly as normal.

You will notice a delay occurring when the transmission shifts because there isn’t enough fluid to transmit pressure. But a slow transmission is also a sign that there's a problem with the fluid. This should be checked immediately. 

3. Slipping Transmission

The fluid can cause the inner components to lose their ability to lubricate, causing the gears to slip. If contaminants enter the fluid, it can cause gear slippage.

Slippery transmissions can be an indication of worn gears or a malfunctioning transmission band. To be sure it isn’t a major mechanical issue, you will want to have the transmission evaluated. 

4. Limp Mode

Sometimes, you don't notice any symptoms until your car is in a limp state. The onboard computer activates the limp-home mode whenever there is a problem that may cause serious damage to either the engine or transmission.

The power of the engine is reduced in Limp Mode to reduce load. This allows you to go home, or the closest service center. 

Stop the Overheating of Your Transmission

Transmission Temperature Warning Light
Alert Light for Transmission Temperature

Permanent damage may occur if the transmission heats up. That’s why it’s so important to prevent the transmission from overheating in the first place. Ideally, you will want to install an aftermarket transmission fluid temperature gauge to keep track of what’s happening internally. Knowing when fluid temperatures are rising allows you to take immediate action and prevent any damage.

Additionally, it’s important to check the transmission fluid level often. The fluid should be always filled to the top and appear red. It should not get any darker and you need to change it. If your transmission is sealed, the majority of manufacturers suggest changing the fluid at a rate of 30,000-60,000 miles. You can find the recommended schedule in your owner’s manual. Regular towing and hauling of cargo can cause your transmission to work harder, so you may need to have the fluid changed more often.

An external pan that is deeper can be installed to increase transmission efficiency. The upgraded system makes it more efficient to use fluid. It is especially useful in hot climates or when you have to push your vehicle to extremes. Because aluminum dissipates heat more efficiently than steel, choose an aluminum pan. 

You must also ensure that your cooling system is maintained properly. This is crucial for the health of your transmission. Coolant levels must be maintained at a constant level and should also be checked for any wear. 

First, let the engine and transmission cool off if they are starting to heat up. You can avoid costly repairs by doing this simple thing.

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