Is Transmission Fluid Flammable?

Transmission fluid is an automobile lubricating fluid prepared from base oil and other special additives. However, is the famous transmission fluid flammable, as some vehicle owners claim? Let’s discover.

What Is Transmission Fluid?

We know an important unit of a vehicle that starts the rotational motion of its engine wheels as the “transmission system.” This unit comprises a transmission fluid that lubricates the engine and carries out a lot of activities.

The transmission fluid carried several activities, such as enhancing the cooling effect of vehicles, minimizing the operating temperature, safeguarding the metal surfaces, and many more out.

Transmission fluid works under certain extreme conditions to protect automobile systems. This fluid operates well at relatively high temperatures. Plus, there are two forms of transmission fluid depending on the transmission system. We have automatic and manual transmission fluid.

However, since gasoline is a flammable automobile fluid, especially when spilled, most car owners assume all automobile fluids are flammable. The big query comes in, is transmission fluid flammable?

So dear car owners, let’s dive deeper into the concept of transmission fluids’ flammability to answer your question. Shall we?

Now, Is Transmission Fluid Flammable?

Under normal conditions, transmission fluid will not flare up. However, when exposed to a temperature above its flash point, the fluid becomes highly flammable. If transmission fluid is spilled at this temperature and in the presence of naked fire, it will combust rapidly.

Owing to this extreme flammability of transmission fluid, experts describe it as more of a combustible fluid than a flammable fluid. Combustibility is a general term that covers flammable tendencies. Thus, all flammable substances are combustible.

In the light of the above explanation, the short answer is yes, transmission fluid is flammable.

What Is The flash point Of Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid has both a high boiling point and a high flash point. The flash point of the transmission fluid is the temperature at which the fluid will catch flames in the presence of sparks or any other ignition source.

At the flash point temperature, transmission fluid releases flammable vapors that catch fire.

Also, the flash point of the transmission fluid is usually lower than its boiling point.

Typically, the fluid’s flash point is about 383°F, while its boiling point falls within the 550°F and 600°F range. Moreso, the flash point for automatic transmission fluid falls between 300°F to 383°F.

That said, the relatively high flash point of transmission fluid is the major reason the fluid doesn’t catch fire easily. However, if the transmission fluid is in such a condition where its flashpoint temperature is exceeded, it will burst into flame instantly. How can the flash point of transmission fluid be exceeded? It’s quite simple.

When an ignition source is brought close to the transmission fluid causing the fluid temperature to proliferate, the flash point will be surpassed along the way.

Can Transmission Fluid Catch Fire?

Absolutely yes! Transmission fluid can catch fire, most especially when it spills or leaks on the floor/engine.

Spilt transmission fluid will ignite in the presence of bare flames. This is because auto-ignition occurs when transmission fluid becomes too hot. When the transmission fluid temperature is greater than 400°F, automatic ignition sets in.

Hence, you need to be very careful while handling the transmission fluid. A slight mistake while handling transmission fluid can cost a fire explosion. When a transmission fluid leaks, it’s probably because of a faulty or loose plug in the transmission system.

So always watch out for a faulty plug in your vehicle’s transmission system to prevent transmission fluid leakage and a fire outbreak you never signed up for.

Is Transmission Fluid And Engine Oil The Same?

No, the transmission fluid and engine oil are not the same. Although they might have a common function, they have some discrepancies, too. While engine oil is solely an automobile lubricant, the transmission fluid is more than a lubricating oil.

Besides serving as a friction medium between moving surfaces of vehicles, transmission fluid is also a hydraulic fluid that helps minimize the transmission as well as enhances gear shifts.

Engine oil and transmission fluid are prepared differently even though they are both hydrocarbon products.

Some ingredients in transmission fluid have been improved upon by passing it through a series of chemical reactions. Owing to this, the transmission fluid has many features that enable it to withstand stress than engine oil. Thus, transmission fluid is difficult to oxidize and break down even at ambient temperatures.

What Makes Transmission Fluid Overheat?

Whether you just bought a car or you’ve been a car owner for a while now, overheating engines is an experience you surely can not escape. And overheating usually occurs in the transmission system (the transmission fluid, to be precise). Meanwhile, overheating of the transmission fluid occurs when there is a faulty solenoid, impurities occur in the fluid, or if the fluid level is too low.

The shortcomings that accompany overheating are always more than you can ever imagine. First, an overheated engine gives off a burning odor. Later on, it might trigger rough driving because of a lack of friction.

Rough driving is equivalent to sending an invitation to a road accident, you know. You won’t want that to happen, right? So, if possible, check on and change your vehicle’s transmission fluid regularly or rather see a mechanic when you notice any signs of overheating.

Final Recommendations

In a nutshell, this article reveals that transmission fluid is indeed flammable. We are sure you’ve also learned all the important information about transmission fluid. At least, now you know you should always handle your vehicle’s transmission fluid with nearly 100% precautions.

Below are some effective tips you can observe to handle transmission fluid successfully:

  • Store transmission fluid in a labeled container and ensure you keep it out of reach of your kids or pets.
  • Make sure you don’t bring the transmission fluid near an ignition source. e.g., naked blaze, sparks, etc.
  • Dispose of the fluid properly using an oil incinerator or any other effective method.
  • Lastly, watch out for transmission fluid leakages and stop them as fast as possible.

Visit here to learn how to stop a transmission fluid leakage.

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