One of the essential things every car owner must be confident with is how to know if gearbox oil is low. Many people are familiar with the need for regular engine oil checks. But cars use another liquid that is no less important than the engine oil – gearbox oil. Serious and devoted car owners should know if their gearbox oil is low. In manual transmission cars, it is called gear oil while in automatic vehicles – transmission fluid. But regardless of what you call it, a problem with this essential car liquid can result in many costly repairs. But don’t worry, we will explain to you how to know if the gearbox oil is low.

As we already mentioned, both automatic and manual cars use a form of gearbox fluid to serve their way of operation. However, the two types of cars show different signs when needing transmission fluid. Here are some of the ways your manual ride will act when it needs to be checked by a gearbox specialist.

How to know if gearbox oil is low – the signs

Late engagement

Low levels of gearbox oil usually result in 2-3 second delays when shifting between gears.

Your car is lurching

There are many reasons for your car to experience jerks, but if you can’t see an obvious cause for such movements – you might want to check the quantity of the gearbox oil in the transmission as a possible reason.


The gearbox fluid acts as a lubricant, so if you sense vibrations in the shifter when changing gears, then a gearbox oil change may be needed.

Issues with the clutch

People think that the springs return the clutch into its normal position after you press the pedal. In fact, low transmission fluid levels will halt its moves and your clutch may even get stuck in an abnormal position.

Apart from the problems that you can sense via the shifter or the clutch pedal, automatic cars share the same signs. Nevertheless, these vehicles also have some typical indicators that their transmission fluid is low.

Dark-coloured fluid

Gearbox specialists agree that the normal colour of the liquid in the automatic gearbox should be pink. So if your transmission fluid is brown or black, then your gearbox has been compromised.

Transmission slipping

If your vehicle fails to accelerate when pushing the pedal, this may be another sign that the gearbox oil needs to be changed.


The gearbox liquid has to lubricate, but without enough fluid, the transmission will overheat due to friction and you may hear mechanical noises as a result of this grinding. Your best bet is to consider a gearbox service as soon as possible.

Gearbox Replacement: The Professional Way

So now you know that driving on low transmission fluid may result in a variety of problems and a need for gearbox replacement. In order to avoid that, we will give you a few extra signs that may be linked to such insufficiency. Nowadays, cars use various electronic systems to detect problems. The “check engine” notification on the dashboard isn’t reserved solely for engine issues. You will see this indicator light up when you are low on gearbox fluid as well.

Friction due to the lack of gearbox oil may produce some burnt smells and even smoke. We sincerely hope that you notice the unusual scents before you see any smoke because this will mean that you have to pull off and call for a tow truck or roadside assistance.

Can you prevent gearbox replacement?

It is possible but you have to pay careful attention to your car. Кeep an eye on your parking spot for any puddles and stains. They are usually caused by transmission fluid leaks. Also, make sure to check your car’s transmission fluid regularly. Remember to always do it when the vehicle is in operating temperature since liquids tend to expand when hot and contract when cold.

If you ever end up in a car garage with transmission problems, keep in mind that not everything is up to you. Many times, water damage can cause a need for gearbox replacement and such things are clearly out of your control. Luckily, we have the needed expertise and tools to revive every car no matter how bad the condition may be. Our gearbox specialists will also consult you on whether to change the transmission fluid or not. Some mechanical myths claim that cars only need their stock transmission fluid. Other myths preach regular replacement of the gearbox oil, thus boosting the local garage profits with sometimes unnecessary oil refills. Our expert approach is different. We will evaluate your car model needs and current situation to ensure that you are safe on the road without spending more money than needed.
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