What Color is CVT Transmission Fluid? Details Guide for Drivers

A vehicle has several essential components, and the transmission system is one of the crucial ones. It helps the engine get the correct power level to tires to drive the car at your preferred speed. Repairing or replacing this component requires you to spend a handsome sum of money.

However, the system needs the correct type and suitable level of transmission fluid. You can effortlessly determine the current health of your transmission system by checking its color. Here we will talk about “What color is CVT transmission fluid?” Let’s dive in!

CVT transmission fluid involves various types of tasks for your engine. For example,

  • It ensures proper lubrication for the gear and bearing systems.
  • It also helps quick and smooth clutch engagement control by providing the accurate frictional properties.
  • They ensure extreme protection for the planetary gear sets.

CVT transmission fluid color

What Color is CVT Transmission Fluid?

The importance of checking the CVT transmission fluid color is essential. If something is wrong inside the transmission system, you can figure it out by observing the transmission fluid color.

Why Transmission Fluid Color Changes Overtime?

So, why does the color of transmission change over time? A contamination process occurs when you drive the vehicle for mileage. The frictions system collects air, dirt, and debris from outside and modifies the color gradually.

Several Steps of Color Changing

The color of transmission fluid is changed to several types over time. A particular color of the liquid will indicate the current transmission system and what you should do at that moment. Additionally, you can determine how much contamination occurs for the transmission liquid.

When to Replace CVT Transmission Fluid

As long as the transmission fluid is fresh, you don’t need to use it. Most brands recommend changing transmission fluid after driving 30k miles. However, you should always check the transmission fluid color after riding 15k miles. Many users may need to change it and they should also know transmission fluid changing time and procedure.

How to Check CVT Transmission Fluid

At first, find out the transmission dipstick from the passenger side of the engine bay and take it out. Take a fresh white towel. Wipe the dipstick properly. The towel color will tell you the current condition of the transmission fluid. Depending upon the color, you will take appropriate action.

Are you wondering what color is transmission fluid? Let’s learn what each color tells you through the transmission fluid color chart.

Red Transmission Fluid

Ever wondered why is transmission fluid red? If you ever fill the transmission fluid on your own, you will notice red transparent color. The fresh and clear red indicates that it doesn’t become old and no contamination incurred.

This clear red color may stay for several hundred mileages. As long as it remains in that condition, you don’t need to change. But the color will vary soon. So, regularly checking it is essential.

Light Brown Semi-Transparent Fluid

The clear red will turn into light brown after using the car for several hundred mileages. But that doesn’t mean you have to change the fluid because it is still satisfactory. The freshness is slightly compromised. But you can still use your vehicle smoothly by changing it. Just give regular inspection for further changes.

Dark Brown Opaque Fluid

The transmission fluid gets into the third stage if the light brown color turns dark brown. It indicates significant contamination incurred inside the liquid, and they contain dirt and grimes.

The transmission system may not be supported appropriately to lubricate the moving components efficiently. So, it may lead to slight or heavy damage to the inner parts of the automobile. Additionally, it will raise the heat of the transmission system, and you may fail to drive your vehicle smoothly.

Changing the transmission fluid during this condition is a rule of thumb. It prevents further damage.

Very Dark Brown Black

When the transmission fluid turns into very dark brown-black from regular dark brown, the situation is worse. The contamination of the liquid moved to further. It becomes extremely dirty and old. It may smell like burnt toast. This happens due to the oxidation process.

Taking quick action is mandatory. The current condition has already caused slight or moderate damage to the moving parts. Delaying to change the fluid will worsen the situation of the internal components.

You may already see some issues while driving the vehicle. Even if you don’t see any problem, take quick actions to filter the old fluid and add fresh transmission fluid.

Light Pink Fluid

This is the worst situation for transmission fluid. However, most people change the fluid before going into this situation.

When the transmission fluid turns into light pink color, the situation is dangerous. Coolant or water must be entered inside the transmission system and cause this color. It will cause severe damage to the friction, and the seal might be crushed.

At worst, it may entirely damage the entire transmission system when water gets inside it. You have the probability of seeing brown fluid leaking from car. The oil leak color, which is light pink, will either enter through the cooler line or the leakage. In the end, you may don’t any option but to change the entire system. If you find excess transmission fluid in your system, remove transmission fluid after keeping the required level.

What color is transmission fluid?

Fresh transmission fluid is supposed to be fully clean red or dark red. Its colors change over time, and you can tell about bad transmission fluid color.

However, some transmission fluid colors might be blue or red, but red is the most common one. It varies based on the car brand, model, and the particular fluid you use from a specific brand.

We think you have already understood that the darker the fluid color, the more contaminated it is. However, the transmission oil color may also be changed due to the water inclusion or oxidation procedure.


1. What is the standard color of transmissions fluid?

The standard color of transmission fluid is dark or transparent red, which will change over time.

2. What does bad CVT fluid look like?

A bad CVT fluid will have a bright red color which means the fluid is slightly or moderately contaminated. Changing the fluid soonest is necessary.  

3. What color should Nissan CVT transmission fluid be?

The Nissan CVT fluid color for its transmission system should be red. Having red color means it is fresh. The dark red color will change over time when it is contaminated after a mileage of usage.

4. What color is transmission fluid leak?

When the transmission liquid is leaked, the color will look reddish-brown. Plus, if the liquid has become quite old, it is likely to contain a thicker viscosity. But if the fluid is still brand-new or at least fresh, it will have a thin density.

5. How much does it cost to change CVT fluid?

Changing CVT fluid requires you to spend a considerable quantity of money. For every quart, you may need to speed $15-$30 depending upon its brand. Generally, most transmissions need 4 to 5 quarts of fluid.

Final Thought

Are you still wondering about this question: What color is CVT transmission fluid? Your vehicle transmission system plays a crucial role in overall engine efficiency. Changing the transmission fluid after a specific time is necessary when it is contaminated. Regularly check your transmission fluid condition and change it if necessary.


Mr. Rubel is an Engine Mechanic. He has more than 15 years’ experience on repair and maintenance of different kinds of vehicles. He is also providing training to mechanics and works as a Senior Mechanic of a well-known organization. He is sharing his knowledge to support the car lovers to solve the vehicle issues.

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