Is Transmission Fluid Flammable? 

This article will answer the question, “is transmission fluid flammable”? It also covers several topics about transmission fluid benefits, their properties, and the precautions for safely handling transmission fluid.

Is Transmission Fluid Flammable?

No. Transmission fluid is not flammable. For transmission fluid to spontaneously combust, it must be heated to a high enough temperature, like many other highly viscous combustible liquids. 

Transmission fluid is classified as combustible fluid rather than flammable. Transmission fluid begins to combust at around 295 degrees Celcius.

What Is the Definition of Transmission Fluid?

Three primary elements make up an automatic hydraulic system. These are the torque converter, the hydraulic control, and the planetary gear. 

Automatic transmission oil, often known as automatic transmission fluid (ATF), is a type of lubricant that is utilized in automatic transmissions and serves some purposes, including the following:

  • On the planetary gear, as a lubricant for the gears, clutches, and other moving parts.
  • The automatic mechanism that drives the instrument in the transmission performs the function of oiling or driving the mechanism.

There are two distinct kinds of oil used in automatic transmissions. The first is called Dextron, a form of lubricant found in automobiles produced by General Motors, American Motors, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, and several other companies.

The other one designated as Type F, can be found in Ford automobiles and vehicles manufactured by Japanese companies.

If the oil flow velocity is higher, then the frequency efficiency will also be higher in dextron type ATF lubricating oil. On the other hand, if the oil flow velocity is lower, then the frequency efficiency will be lower. 

The type F ATF lubricating oil, the efficiency of the frequency will be reduced if the speed of the oil flow is increased, and the opposite will occur if the rate of the oil flow is decreased. 

As a result, it is essential to carefully consider the selection of ATF oil following the specifications that the manufacturer recommends. 

If the choice of usage is incorrect, for instance, the ATF oil that is used is type dextron, but instead, it is filled with ATF type F, the effect will be that when the gear change occurs, it will be harsh. 

At What Temperature does the Transmission Fluid Start to Combust?

The flashpoint of transmission fluid is around 300 degrees, it can catch fire at temperatures higher than that. If a liquid is heated to a temperature at or above its flashpoint, it is emitting sufficient vapors to cause it to catch fire. 

When something can self-ignite at a specific temperature, it can start a fire without needing an additional ignition source.

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standard 29 CFR 1910.106 classifies it as a non-flammable liquid because the flashpoint is above 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Are the Properties of Transmission Fluid?

The viscosity of the lubricating oil needs to be suitable for it to facilitate movement in a manner that is both effective and efficient.

  • It must have a lubricating quality for it to be able to lubricate all of the moving parts of the gearbox that are near one another.
  • Because this automatic transmission contains air, the material used to construct it must be rustproof and anti-oxidation.
  • Not producing foam.
  • Must not have any characteristics that could potentially harm the seals found in the transmission system.

What Are the Safety Precautions for Handling Transmission Fluid?

Safety precautions for handling transmission fluid are:

  • Remove any ignition sources from the area surrounding the spilled material.
  • Training and education are necessities for those working in operating positions.
  • Use exclusively in settings that have sufficient ventilation.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical to staying safe.
  • Review any procedures that are capable of producing an electrostatic charge and allowing it to build up, as well as any techniques that have the potential to create an explosive environment.
  • Smoking is forbidden near the hydraulic fluid source.
  • Children and animals should not be allowed entry.
  • The sun’s rays should not enter stores at any point during the day.
  • The temperature and the ventilation affect how well the container can keep its seal.
  • If it’s not required, avoid making direct contact with your skin, eyes, and clothing.
  • Do not use it in a system that operates at high pressure if any sparks, flames, or hot surfaces are present.
  • When you work with this substance, there is a possibility that you will cause an electrostatic charge to build up, which is dangerous to be in. More information about this.


Transmission fluid is classified as a non-flammable material, but it can combust at specific temperatures and ignite a fire. Safe handling precautions should be conducted to avoid combustibility risks.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs): Is Transmission Fluid Flammable?

Is transmission fluid the same as engine oil?

The primary distinction between engine oil and transmission fluid is that, engine oil is generally used as a lubricant, meanwhile transmission fluid can also be used as hydraulic fluid. 

This is the case because transmission fluid also contains hydraulic fluid. Although they are pretty similar liquids, they are utilized for diverse purposes since their characteristics are not the same.

What issues can arise if the transmission fluid is not regularly changed?

Increasing the frequency with which you change your transmission fluid will lengthen the time that your transmission lasts. 

If you never change it, the liquid will become dusty and grimy, and it won’t be able to lubricate or distribute heat as well as it should.


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