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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8594
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: My Mitsubishi 2012 Outlander Sport

Customer Question

My Mitsubishi 2012 Outlander Sport has only 44,000 miles on it. Yesterday, on trip back from shore, about 150 miles, transmission overheat warning light came on, lost power a bit, had to drive slower, got off highway sooner, light eventually turned off, what's wrong, something obviously is
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mitsubishi
Expert:  Doug replied 2 years ago.
The transmission over heat warning is a common issue on these vehicles if the vehicle is driven under certain circumstances.
Specifically, long high way drives combined with particularly high outside temperatures are very common to cause this fault to appear.
The problem has to do with the fluid expansion that occurs as the fluid temperature increases; as it gets hotter of course the fluid expands but when combined with heavy use (1-2 hours on the highway) this causes more heat, and when combined further with very hot ambient temperatures it can become too much for the cooler to compensate for. As the fluid expands, it goes beyond the capacity of the cooler, resulting in the fluid coming out of the cooler at too high of temperature etc.
On most models if this becomes a recurring trait (where the customer has to drive in these situations frequently), we reduce the fluid level by about 1/2 quart and this resolves the issue (And still keeps it within normal operating range). On older models we actually reduced about a quart and installed a new dipstick to reflect it, however your 2012 should already have that dipstick.
If you are seeing this occur under any OTHER circumstances than I described (for example ambient was 70F, driving time was 20 minutes or less etc), then you would want to consider other possibiltiies... a blockage in the cooler, or an internal issue in the transmission causing higher temperatures (very unlikely unless you had the wrong fluid changed in it or something like that).
Realistically though... it is usually just the combination of hot ambient temperatures and long high speed driving. If it is not something that you do frequently and you are not seeing it under any other circumstances, you can just leave it be. If you do not see it under any other conditions but anticipate repeating the circumstances, then you can slightly reduce the fluid level to compensate. Just do not go outside of the operating range on the dipstick, and do not use any other brand fluids if you have to add back.