Is Transmission Fluid Flammable?

The transmission unit is a crucial part of the car, which converts rotational energy from the engine to the wheels to initiate motion. For the system to perfectly perform its duties, transmission fluid steps in, playing the significant role of lubrication. Other functions this fluid plays include cleaning and protecting metal surfaces, improving the cooling, reducing operating temperature, conditioning of gaskets, and boosting rotational speed. So, is transmission fluid flammable? This is an important query, looking at this fluid’s safety factor, a key aspect in its handling and storage.

Transmission fluid is flammable, though, like many highly viscous flammable substances, it requires high temperatures for it to ignite automatically. The high temperature required for its flammability is the main reason many experts consider it to be more combustible than flammable. This is a debatable issue, which we are going to deal with in this article.

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Flammability of Transmission Fluid

Before tackling this fluid’s flammability, you need to know it exists in two types, depending on the type of transmission system. That is, there is automatic and manual transmission fluid. Back to the question at hand, is transmission fluid flammable or combustible? Combustible is more of an umbrella term, and all flammable fluids are combustible, meaning they will support a burning flame, so long as the temperatures are right. To understand more about a fluid’s flammability, there are two things to look at; the flashpoint and boiling point. A flammable substance has a flash point lower than the boiling point.

transmission fluid flash point

The flashpoint of a substance refers to the temperature where it gives out vapors capable of igniting. The transmission fluid flashpoint is around 383-degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than its boiling point of around 550-600-degrees Fahrenheit.

The flashpoint is quite high; does this mean transmission fluid cannot easily catch fire? While the high limit makes it a rare cause of first vehicle fires, if the temperatures go past the 383-degrees F value, it may cause a fire. It may be a secondary cause; if a car is already on fire, it may contribute to the burning.

Spilled transmission fluid on the engine can lead to fire, considering that it can sometimes get extremely hot. This can cause a fire. You should also know that if it sprays, the mists are very volatile and can auto-ignite even below the flashpoint. This calls for safety when handling transmission fluid. If you notice a transmission fluid leak, you need to sort it out in time as it is a looming fire hazard. A leak may mean that plugs are loose or a punctured plug.

How to Safely Handle Transmission Fluid

Despite transmission fluid having high-temperature requirements for it to auto-ignite, you need to be careful in its handling. Here are some of the ways to safely handle it.

  • Store it in a clearly labeled package, preferably its original container, and keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep it away from naked fire sources as it may heat and start a fire. Be aware of transmission fluid spraying and mists as they can light below the flashpoint.
  • You also know how to dispose of transmission fluid, where you can rely on the same process of disposing of used motor oil. When used, put it in a container and drop it off at the right mineral oil disposal place. You can take it to an oil incinerator for burning, a good way of disposal. You can also clean it and store it in a clean container for reuse. Pay attention to the transmission fluid color to know if you can reuse it.
  • Be keen on a leak to prevent hazards and a bad driving experience. Some of the transmission fluid leak symptoms include noticeable leaks, grinding gears, clunking sound, burning smells, and problems in acceleration, where it may delay. If there is a leak, make the necessary consultations to sort it out immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Flash Point Of Automatic Transmission Fluid?

A fluid’s flashpoint is the temperature where they give vapors, which can start a fire if near an open flame. Automatic transmission fluid has a flashpoint in the 300-383-degrees Fahrenheit range, meaning it can auto-ignite at this temperature. A thing to note is that the automatic transmission fluid flash point is lower than its boiling point, and despite being a high value, it is safe to consider it as a flammable substance.

What Happens If My Transmission Fluid Is Burnt?

When your transmission fluid burns, it means the transmission system is overheating, and you need a mechanic to check out this car component. The mechanics can check the gears, though, at times, the problem may be the fluid. You may have an exhausted fluid, or it is of poor quality.

What Temperature Is Too Hot For Transmission Fluid?

The flashpoint is the temperature limit too hot for transmission fluid, as it is more volatile and can auto-ignite. Its flash point is around 383-degrees Fahrenheit, meaning at this limit, it supports burning.

Can Transmission Fluid Catch Fire?

Yes, transmission fluid can catch fire if the temperatures are past their auto-ignition level. If the heat goes past 400-degrees Fahrenheit, it will catch and support the flames. This fluid’s mist and spray can light at temperatures lower than the flashpoint.

What Makes Transmission Fluid Overheat?

Overheating transmission fluid is one of the issues you will encounter with the transmission system. Some of the signs of transmission fluid overheating include a burning smell and a rough driving experience. Among the causes of transmission, fluid overheating include a low amount of fluid, dirty fluid, and a malfunctioning solenoid. If you experience these issues, you should visit a mechanic to check out your car.

How Well Do Automotive Fluids Burn? YouTube

Final Word

The transmission system is the vehicle component that connects the engine to the wheels, transmitting the rotational energy. The transmission fluid is an essential utility of this car unit, where it provides lubrication and helps clean the metal parts, among many other applications. This article looks at the flammability of this liquid, a significant aspect of its handling. It is a flammable substance, meaning it will burn at the right temperatures. Handle it safely to curb fire hazards and pay attention to its disposal to conserve the environment.

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Tito

Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanics (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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