Dirty Transmission Filter Symptoms (9 Things To Be Aware Of)

The function of the transmission filter is relatively insignificant yet a crucial part of your vehicle. The filter aims to keep pollutants from entering the transmission fluid, preventing damage to internal components.

These filters, which are frequently composed of a screen or “felt-like substance,” aren’t meant to last forever. Find out more about the dirty transmission filter symptoms here!

Dirty Transmission Filter Symptoms

1. Vehicle Rattling

Sometimes you can pinpoint precisely what is rattling your car. A few potential causes include damaged brake pads, corroded heat shielding, defective catalytic converter, and loose exhaust hangers.

However, your transmission may be at fault if you’ve looked in all the tight areas and still get noises like metal jiggling or rattling. At this time, it’s time to open the hood and switch off the engine.

Additionally, check the fluid condition and level. The filter may also prevent flow if the liquid seems thick and black.

Therefore, if it is starting to clog up, it will affect performance and might even harm your transmission.

2. Whirls Or Whines

Your automobile may generate a whining or whirring noise as you move into gear in addition to rattling. A manual transmission makes more noticeable whining or buzzing noises.

Further, your engine will sound as though it is revving while shifting between speeds. As a result, it won’t engage entirely or quickly enough, which signifies that your clutch needs repairing.

As a result, the noise produced by an automatic gearbox is more similar to a high-pitched whine than a whir. When you switch from drive to park or reverse, it’s the most obvious.

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Your car should shift silently and effortlessly. If it gets tedious or noisy, something is wrong with the automobile.

3. Fluid Leakage

Are you parking your car and leaving a slight puddle behind? It might not be water from your air conditioner.

Several different gaskets and seals are in your gearbox, and they may become worn or torn over time and with use.

Additionally, the seal may wear out and leak due to a damaged component or a loose bearing that it rides on.

Any of these problems might lead to a leak in the transmission fluid, which could seriously harm your transmission.

4. Check Engine Light

Your vehicle’s check engine light may be on for several reasons. For example, your transmission filter is blocked, causing the transmission to hesitate or slip. The check engine light can also flash if the gearbox is depleted of fluid.

Therefore, you must monitor the transmission fluid level and top it off as necessary. More fluid may help, but if the problem persists, there could be a leakage in the transmission.

5. Difficulty Shifting Gears

Difficulty Shifting Gears

Your gearbox will smoothly shift gears if there are no issues. However, when it tries to shift, you’ll notice reluctance or slippage if it’s damaged or has a partially blocked filter.

That said, it may be time to examine your transmission filter and fluid if something feels or sounds out of the ordinary.

Additionally, you might notice that your manual transmission’s gears grind rather than smoothly change. The difference may have been tactile, audible, or both.

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Therefore, while this could indicate that your clutch is worn out, other factors, such as the transmission synchronizers or gears, may be at fault.

6. Neutral Noises

You should always take any noise originating from your automobile seriously. It can imply that your suspension, tires, axles, brakes, engine, or gearbox are malfunctioning.

Eventually, your suspicions should be considerably more aroused if it transpires when you’re in neutral gear.

What’s happening when your vehicle should be almost utterly silent now? First, it can be low transmission fluid, so you should change the fluid and your filter simultaneously.

So, if the noise persists, it can signify that a more serious problem is at hand.

7. Strange Smells

Strange scents abound on the road, but if any of them originates from your engine, keep track. A burning smell is a solid clue that something isn’t operating correctly.

In addition, transmission fluid overheats and begins to burn when it becomes depleted or deteriorates. As a result, your engine will run hot, which will cause corrosion, extra debris, and premature wear.

Also, other sources of burning odors include entrapped plastic, antifreeze pouring, and heater cores melting. No matter what the reason, you should always have a burning smell investigated.

8. Decreased Car Efficiency

Your automobile may experience a loss of power and performance due to a blocked transmission filter.

Further, your transmission filter may need to be cleaned or changed if your vehicle is underperforming, has little power, or hesitates when you try to accelerate.

It occurs because the transmission fluid must pass through the filter to maintain the cleanliness and lubricity of everything.

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Therefore, the fluid cannot flow properly when the filter is blocked, affecting the vehicle’s performance.

9. Transmission Fluid Contamination

Your transmission fluid may be contaminated if it seems unclean or discolored.

Of course, this might happen if the filter is clogged and can no longer capture all the pollutants in the fluid. These pollutants will accumulate over time and interfere with your transmission.

That said, when your transmission fluid gets contaminated, it’s crucial to have it cleaned and refilled. Then, to avoid the issue again, the filter should be updated.

To know more, you can also read our posts on Ford Focus AC not working, and Ford Focus horn not working, and Ford Sync Bluetooth not working.


A dirty transmission filter can harm your car in several ways. From minimal faults to severe engine failure, these issues might occur.

So, it is crucial to prevent these problems and replace or clean the filter when it gets filthy or clogged.

Therefore, you should keep your car in good condition and adhere to the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedules.

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