Is It Safe to Drive With the Transmission Temperature Light On? | YourMechanic Advice

Is It Safe to Drive With the Transmission Temperature Light On?

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Most people don’t know very much about vehicle transmissions, and realistically, why should they? All you want to do is get in your car and drive, and feel assured that you can get from Point A to Point B safely.

Having said that, you should be able to recognize the signs that indicate your transmission may be about to fail. The most obvious sign is that your Transmission Temperature Light has come on. And what does that mean? Simply this – your transmission is overheating. And heat is, without a doubt, the worst enemy of your car’s transmission. In fact, heat is responsible for more transmission failures than anything else.

Here are some facts to know about Transmission Temperatures:

  • The ideal temperature for your transmission is 200 degrees. For every 20 degrees past 200, the lifespan of your transmission is reduced by a factor of 2. In other words, if you hit 220 degrees, you can expect to get about half the normal life out of your transmission. At 240 degrees, your transmission will last about 1/4 the time that it should. And if you get up to 260 degrees, you are down to 1/8 the normal life.

  • Hot transmissions give off an odor. Ideally, if your transmission overheats, your Transmission Temperature Light will come on. But keep in mind that warning lights are not infallible, so if you smell something out of the ordinarily (usually a sweet odor), pull over. You need to let your transmission cool down.

  • Checking your transmission fluid can help you to determine if your transmission is overheating. Transmission fluid isn’t like engine oil – it doesn’t burn up under normal circumstances. If the fluid level is down, then there is a very good chance that something is wrong. And if the fluid is dark, it is almost certain that you are overheating.

Needless to say, you want to catch transmission problems as early as possible in order to prevent any further problems. So don’t rely exclusively on your Transmission Temperature Control Light, but by the same token, don't disregard it either. If it comes on, it has come on for a reason. While you can probably drive safely to your next destination, you want to have your transmission system inspected right away to stave off further issues and ensure optimal vehicle performance.


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Travis

12 years of experience
426 reviews
Travis
12 years of experience
Volkswagen Beetle - Warning Light is on - Stillwater, Minnesota
Unbenoest to me when you change a battery on a 18 yr. old car you also need more than a code reader to reset the new battery.
Audi A8 Quattro - Warning Light is on Inspection - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Very helpful and very knowledgeable will be using this service again thank you Travis for everything trumbs up

Nicholas

10 years of experience
364 reviews
Nicholas
10 years of experience
Chrysler 300 - Warning Light is on - Durham, North Carolina
Excellent diagnostician. Knowledgeable and caring. Created a desire for him specifically, to do the job. Hope we get him every time!
Honda Accord - Warning Light is on - Garner, North Carolina
I was very happy with Nicholas and his knowledge and expertise about diagnosing the issues with my car. He is honest, reliable and professional. He is now my Mechanic that I will call on for all my car's needs.I will also recommend him to my friends whom have been taken advantage of by other car shops as I have been, and are looking for someone honest , that will not take advantage of them Thank you so much Nicholas for resolving my issue with my car. I feel relieved and happy with the outcome

Robert

15 years of experience
26 reviews
Robert
15 years of experience
Chrysler 300 - Warning Light is on - Maricopa, Arizona
Very professional, knowledgeable. Explain everything in great detail. Will definitely use Robert again.

Arturo

26 years of experience
185 reviews
Arturo
26 years of experience
Volvo XC90 - Warning Light is on - El Cajon, California
Arturo was very professional and friendly. Diagnosed my problem immediately, and I feel confident the service will be to my satisfaction when my radiator arrives for installation.

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