Transmission Temperature: What To Do If Your Transmission Temperature Light Comes On

Drivers frequently check the temperature of the car’s engine to ensure everything is functioning correctly, but they only sometimes think to check the temperature of the automatic transmission.

Despite the transmission’s significance, forgetting about essential maintenance is simple. A healthy engine and information will help your car transport you from point A to point B.

What is Normal Automatic Transmission Temperature?

The ideal temperature range for an automatic transmission is between 170 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature may surpass 240 degrees if the information slips or you drive aggressively. Nonetheless, your transmission is better protected with every 20-degree dip. The torque converter has the highest internal temperature.

By pulling bigger weights, temperatures can occasionally reach above 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the lack of gauges in most contemporary automobiles, it can be challenging to keep track of the temperature of the gearbox fluid. To alert you if the transmission is overheating, cars utilize a Check Engine Light or other warning light instead.

Symptoms of Overheating Transmission

1.     Lagging mode

You may notice signs when the transmission overheats once the car enters limp mode. The limp-home way is initiated when the onboard computer detects a problem that could severely damage the engine or transmission.

Limp mode lowers the power to ensure that these crucial components are not overworked. You can use it at the closest service center or drive home.

2.     Shifting irregularly

Picture of female hands and gear lever.

The gears may slip if the fluid loses its ability to lubricate the interior parts. The same holds if any impurities enter the fluid. A slipping transmission might indicate worn-out gears, a failing clutch, or broken transmission bands. It would help if you had the transmission inspected to be sure there isn’t a severe mechanical problem.

3.     Reduced Reaction Time

The temperature won’t be controlled, and the gears won’t function properly if the fluid levels drop. The lack of fluid makes it difficult for the gears to react as rapidly as usual.

Because there isn’t enough fluid to convey pressure, you will sense a delay when the transmission shifts. But, a slower transmission could also indicate a mechanical issue that must be quickly identified.

4.     Burning Odor

Power is produced by the transmission using gears. To correctly transfer force, this hydraulic system depends on the liquid. The automatic transmission fluid maintains the gearbox properly greased and operating at peak efficiency.

To control the interior temperature, fluid is also required. Yet as it ages, the fluid deteriorates. The internal composition starts to disintegrate as it oxidizes. When this happens, the fluid’s ability to reduce friction and heat is diminished. Also, it facilitates the transmission’s tendency to overheat.

Prevent The Transmission From Overheating

A transmission that has overheated may sustain irreparable damage. It is crucial to keep the transmission from overheating in the first place because of this. To monitor internal activity, it is ideal for adding an aftermarket gearbox fluid temperature gauge.

Knowing when the fluid temperature increases lets you act quickly to stop damage. Also, it’s critical to check the transmission fluid level regularly.

Temperature gauge displayed in the car dashboard.

It must always be full and have a crimson appearance. The fluid has to be changed if it starts to turn darker. Unless you have a sealed unit, most manufacturers advise changing the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles.

Your owner’s manual contains the suggested schedule. Pulling or moving freight frequently puts more strain on your transmission, so you should change the fluid more often.

Installing a deeper exterior pan will improve the transmission’s efficiency. This improved mechanism enables the transmission to use more fluid, which might be beneficial if driving in a hot environment or under extreme conditions. Use an aluminum pan over a steel one since it distributes heat more effectively.

Also, since your car’s cooling system is crucial to the transmission’s health, you must maintain it correctly. Always top off the coolant levels, check for leaks, and wear regularly. Most vital, pull over and let the car cool down if you see the engine or transmission beginning to overheat. You can avoid future, more expensive repairs by taking this easy action.

How Do I Check My Transmission Temperature?

You’ll need an infrared temperature gun or a transmission temperature gauge to check the temperature of your car’s transmission. The majority of car parts stores sell these. Use the indicator as directed by these steps:

  • Turn off the engine and park your automobile on a level surface.
  • The transmission fluid reservoir’s dipstick should be removed and cleaned with a rag.
  • Push the gearbox temperature gauge into the reservoir.
  • The engine should be started and left idle for two to three minutes.
  • Please take note of the transmission temperature after reading it on the gauge.
  • Replace the dipstick after removing the indicator from the reservoir.

How Long Does a Transmission Take to Cool Down?

A transmission needs between 30 and 60 minutes to cool down. This is why it’s crucial to check the transmission fluid level frequently.

Why It’s Important to Monitor Your Car’s Transmission Temperature?

Monitoring your car’s transmission temperature is crucial because doing so can prevent significant harm to the transmission. Also, it can increase your transmission’s lifespan, ultimately resulting in cost savings. Using a digital gauge is the most effective way to check your transmission’s temperature.

How Do I Know If My Transmission Needs to Be Replaced?

These gauges are reasonably priced, and they are simple to install. They also offer data in real-time and are accurate. You may periodically check your transmission fluid level even if you don’t wish to use a digital gauge. That may indicate that your transmission is overheating if the level is low.

Your transmission could need to be replaced if it is sliding, grinding, or producing odd noises. Also, if your transmission fluid smells burnt or is black, the transmission is likely failing.

Ultimately, taking your transmission to a mechanic for an evaluation is the best approach to determine whether it has to be replaced. If the transmission has to be replaced or not can be determined with certainty by them.


Cars are frequently referred to as wheels because, ultimately, a car’s wheels allow you to travel anywhere. Power is transferred from the engine to your car’s wheels through the transmission.

Therefore the transmission temperature is crucial. An overheated car might damage the transmission, rendering you unable to operate the vehicle. Many issues with the car may result from it. It could get quite hot very rapidly if the transmission is leaking.

To stay cool, transmissions need fluid. The fluid thickens and burns due to the pressure created by overheating. The transmission will become hard since it won’t be cooled and lubricated. Many issues may result from overheating.

Avatar photo
About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!