5 Transmission Fluid Colors Chart

Bright Red

New transmission fluid is crimson and slippery. While the red color will fade over time, transmission fluid should be kept near to its stock color and consistency.

Dark Red

Transmission fluid darkens with age. This is normal, so don't worry. Proactive action is recommended. At this time, drivers should schedule a transmission fluid change, especially if their vehicle's service interval has passed. These services can prolong practically any transmission.


Brown transmission fluid shows oxidation. This signifies your transmission fluid lacks additives that maintain viscosity and prevent wear.

Very Dark Brown (or Black)

Transmission fluid that's dark brown or black is bad. This means your transmission fluid is polluted and oxidized. Lack of critical lubrication means internal transmission is impending.

Pink or Foamy

Pink or frothy transmission fluid indicates excessive moisture. This usually indicates a faulty transmission fluid cooler. Adding engine coolant to gearbox fluid reduces viscosity.

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