One of the reasons why some cars fail is because of overheating transmissions. If a transmission is hotter than usual, how can you cool it down fast? We researched the solution for you, and here’s what we found.
One way to cool down a car’s transmission fast is to refill its lubricating fluid. Here are the general steps to add more transmission fluid to a vehicle:
- Park the vehicle and set its emergency brake.
- Open the hood and locate the oil dipstick.
- Place a long funnel on the transmission fluid’s opening.
- Add fluid into the hole. Ensure that you’re adding a small amount at a time to prevent overfilling.
- Once refilled, return the dipstick and close the car’s hood.
Remember that refilling the car’s transmission fluid is only one possible solution to cooling down the vehicle’s system. Continue reading as we talk about another potential answer to this problem.
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We’ll also tackle reasons why a transmission overheats to help you prevent this from surfacing in the future.
Why Is My Transmission Overheating?
Extending the serviceable life of a vehicle’s transmission means knowing the risks of it overheating. Some of the reasons why this system can increase in temperature are:
Low Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid helps lubricate a car's transmission bearings and other metal parts associated with that particular system. A poorly lubricated transmission can make these components grind against each other, causing overheating. If left alone, the parts can develop permanent damage.
Transmission slipping usually occurs when the system feels slow to respond. Sometimes the transmission fails to respond at all. Repeated use of the faulty system can lead to an increase in temperature.
Aside from slow response, vehicle owners should also pay attention to other signs of transmission slippage like:
- Hard shifting
- Failure to reverse
- Unknown smells and sounds
- ‘Check engine light’ error message
Over the Tow Weight Capacity
Towing vehicles that pull loads over the maximum towable weight limit can make their transmissions overheat. Users should check the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), the gross trailer weight (GTW), and gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCVWR) to use the correct tow hitch system.
Take note that other problems can appear if you’re towing a load that’s higher than the tow weight capacity. Some examples include warped chassis, tire damage, and increased brake wear and tear.
The solenoid works by starting the car using electricity from the ignition to ignite the engine. It also regulates the fluid that should pass through the transmission.
Improper transmission fluid control can happen if this part is malfunctioning, causing an increase in temperature in this system and perhaps the rest of the engine block.
Many transmission fluid options start boiling at about 600 degrees Fahrenheit. But hot weather can increase the fluid’s temperature significantly, resulting in an overheating system. Places like Louisiana and Texas have automobiles that are prone to this issue because of hot summer weather.
How Do I Bring My Transmission Temperature Down?
First, stop the car if you’re driving and you notice that the transmission’s temperature is hotter than usual. Otherwise, continuing to drive the vehicle with a faulty transmission can lead to irreparable damage. With the automobile in park, here are some ways to potentially help the transmission cool down:
Add Transmission Fluid
It’s important to note that different car models from various automobile manufacturers may use different steps to refill transmission fluids. For instance, read our guide on how to change transmission fluid in Toyota Tundra to check some of the unique steps involved in the process.
Moving forward, here’s a quick look at the steps on how to refill a car’s transmission fluid to give you a general insight on the task:
What You’ll Need
- Clean rag or paper towels
- Correct transmission fluid
- Long funnel
- Make sure that the vehicle is in Park (P) with the emergency brake set.
- Release the hood to expose the engine block.
- Remove the transmission dipstick and place the small opening of the long funnel into the hole.
- Add the transmission fluid into the opening. Ensure that you only add a small amount at a time.
- Clean the dipstick with a rag or paper towel and frequently insert it into the opening. This step allows you to gauge if you applied the correct amount of fluid to the transmission.
- Return the dipstick and close the car’s hood after refilling the transmission.
You can also watch the video below for additional and valuable insight on this process:
Install a Transmission Cooler
Transmission coolers are ideal for automobiles that are currently in locales with hot weather. But make sure that the transmission cooler you’re about to install is compatible with your vehicle. Specific models have mounts that may not fit the frames of some automobiles, resulting in wasted purchases.
Upon purchasing the correct transmission cooler model, these steps may help you with the installation:
What You’ll Need
- Transmission cooler kit
- Power drill
- Brake line flare tool
- Utility knife (optional)
- If your transmission cooler doesn’t come with pre-drilled holes, use a power drill to create these openings on the main unit. Make sure to follow the guide on the cooling module or the owner’s manual for this step.
- Drill holes on the car’s exceed channel. Ensure that the holes match the ones in the transmission cooler.
- Disconnect the soft line from the hard line of the factory transmission cooler with the wrench.
- Attach the metal part that looks like a small pipe attached to a nut to the transmission system.
- Use the brake line flare tool with the wrench to flare the other end of the transmission line to prevent the cooler from slipping while in use.
- Route, connect, and secure one end of the kit’s hose to the transmission cooler.
- Use the utility knife to cut the hose if it’s too long.
- Attach the other end of the hose to the car’s transmission system.
You may need to refill the automobile’s transmission fluid after this process. It’s because some of the fluid may leak while taking out some of the system’s parts.
Also, let professionals handle this installation process if you think you don’t have the confidence, knowledge, or skill to tackle this job. Tinkering with your vehicle without sufficient expertise can lead to costly mistakes.
Don’t forget to watch the video below to learn more details about this task:
How Do I Check My Transmission Temperature?
Installing a transmission sensor allows you to check your car’s transmission temperature. Some reasonably inexpensive models have straightforward designs. These variants generally have lights that will only brighten to warn drivers if their transmissions are hotter than normal.
Another option is to install a smart diagnostics tool into your vehicle. This kit should also come with a transmission sensor. However, it can have remote features, such as wireless temperature checking with the help of a dedicated app.
Budget-conscious individuals may also apply DIY techniques like the method mentioned in the video below. But keep in mind that this particular technique may not apply to all vehicles.
At this point, you might be curious about how to check transmission fluid on a Honda Accord. If so, read our post on that concern to learn the correct steps.
How Long Does It Take Transmission To Cool Down?
A typical car transmission will take about 30 minutes before it cools down to a reasonable temperature. After that period, the transmission system should be cool enough to use at optimal efficiency.
But take note that different factors can affect a transmission’s cooling time, such as atmospheric temperature. For example, the transmission can take longer to cool in the summer than in the winter.
How Much Does Transmission Repair Cost?
The average transmission repair costs are between $500 and $1,200. Serious transmission problems may require complete replacements, which have overheads of about $1,800 to $3,400, depending on the parts to change.
Cooling down a transmission may only require a quick transmission fluid refilling job. Long-term solutions are available, such as installing an aftermarket transmission cooler.
But make sure that you have the knowledge, skill, and confidence to tackle that job to reduce the risks of committing expensive mishaps.