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What are the Likely Causes of Metal Shavings in a Transmission Pan?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What are the Likely Causes of Metal Shavings in a Transmission Pan?

One of the issues a car owner or mechanic fears is finding metal shavings in the transmission pan. Generally, fine metal shavings or dust is acceptable as this is the byproduct of the normal wear and tear on the transmission. The fine gray powder should easily smush between your fingers without you feeling anything. However, when the metal shavings have a sharp or curly like appearance, have a burnt smell, or appear glazed, then you need to be very worried.

What are the likely causes of metal shavings in a transmission pan?

It is normal to have very small quantities of metal dust. This will be minimal especially if the transmission fluid is replenished regularly. There are several reasons that may lead to having abnormal metal shavings originated from the transmission. These are as follows:

  • Late Change of Transmission fluid: 
    • The transmission fluid lubricates the various moving parts in the tranny. Over time, it ages and becomes diluted hence failing to properly lubricate and protect the moving parts.
  • Poor Grade Transmission Fluid: 
    • Use of substandard or low quality transmission fluid also enhances the wear and tear.
  • Over Revving the Engine:
    • Over revving the engine will increase the wear and tear since the fluid does not have sufficient time to fully coat and lubricate the moving parts.
  • Faulty Transmission:
    • A fault in the transmission will also increase the likelyhood of metal shavings. This may include worn-out, poorly balanced parts and also computer malfunction. 

Importance of Engaging a Qualified TRANSMISSION Specialist


One of the biggest mistakes that many people do is either assuming the metal shavings are not a big deal or opting to carry out a transmission flush as part of a Do-it-Yourself project. More often than not this ends up worsening the situation. The best course of action is to visit a competent car mechanic. They will use highly computerized equipment as well as a wealth of knowledge to diagnose the root cause instead of simply focusing on the symptoms. Furthermore, other than correcting the problem, they will also offer advice on what fluids to use as well as how to take care of the transmission.

Your vehicles transmission is one of the most critical components. It works under enormous pressure hence the need to always seek guidance from a reputable and qualified auto mechanic specialist. Although the metal dust may seem mundane, it is always advisable to take your car to a mechanic. Many people have been stranded by the roadside due to a jammed or blown transmission simply because of overlooking metal shavings in a transmission pan.

Do not hesitate to contact the experts at Pro-Tech Transmissions, we can assess the situation for free and let you know the best course of action. 

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