Q: found a patch of transmission fluid on the ground burning smell below my radiator

asked by on February 15, 2017

Was driving down the highway at 65mph, When the cars heater turned cold. The motor was losing speed so I turned off the road into the breakdown lane. Car engine was giving off a burning odor of transmission fluid.

My car has 104000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle is likely experiencing a leak or other malfunction with the cooling system. It is difficult to say without performing an inspection, but you can perform a basic one just by visually looking at the system. When the heater goes cold, it means the hot coolant is not flowing through the heater core to warm the air passing through. This can occur from a leak (internal or external), a failed water pump, a failed heater core, or a failed thermostat. With that being said, check the level of you coolant first. While there are aftermarket transmission cooling systems you can easily install on the vehicle, this would not have been a stock (OEM) component. You should still check for a secondary "radiator" looking component next to the vehicle’s main radiator. If you do have one, there is a chance transmission fluid is what you are smelling. Due to the fact you are smelling burning fluid, you are likely low on one of them (either coolant or transmission fluid). You can take corrective measures after you know where the leak is coming from, and obtain more accurate quotes at that point as well. For more help with the leak, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

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