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Doug, Australia Car Mechanic
Category: Australia Car
Satisfied Customers: 8609
Experience:  ASE Certified Factory trained technician
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Mitsubishi Lancer ES: why has the transmission oil gone black

Customer Question

why has the transmission oil gone black in my 2012 lancer when it has only done 50,000 k. When your recomended service of transmission is 90,000
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Car
Expert:  Doug replied 2 years ago.

The CVT fluid changes color VERY quickly on these and is not a good indication of the health of the fluid.

While the fluid is originally green/bluish green, it will begin turning to a yellow color within a thousand miles or so. This will degrade to a brownish yellow shortly thereafter, and by 10000 miles or so it will be a brown/near black color in some cases, depending on usage etc.

Again this is not an indication of the health of the fluid. To determine the health of the fluid you need to use a scan tool with CVT support and read the oil degradation count. If you see a very high number (100000+) then you would want to change the fluid out (technically Mitsubishi recommends 200000+, that seems a bit much to me though).

As long as the fluid is correct and no additives have been put in it, you can disregard the color as there is a wide range of different appearances it will have as described above that will not mean the fluid is good or bad. Unless you are seeing something really unusual like thick/clumpy black etc, I wouldn't worry about it.