Motor oil or tranny fluid?

Asked by Sep 09, 2016 at 03:19 PM about the 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe 2 Dr STD 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My vehicle is leaking and fluid under the
motor and tranny. I caught some of it in a
pan and it's a strange darkish brown color,
can anyone tell me how to be sure what
kind of fluid this is? It has known tranny
issues but the oil is also a little low.

3 Answers


It is likely engine oil. Pull the transmission dipstick and compare the fluid color between what is on the transmission dipstick and what is on the ground. Transmission fluid is usually red colored unless it is burnt.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

dark brown would suggest a well burnt tranny oil, which should be cherry red if been changed often enough, however engine oil which has been changed not too long back would also be a dark brown colour, get underneath and look for obvious moist areas and this will give a good indication whether its tranny or motor oil

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thank you for the quick responses guys, I really appreciate it!

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