P0218 Trouble Code: Transmission Fluid Over Temperature
Of all the things that could go wrong with a vehicle, a bad transmission is probably the worst—and the most expensive to repair. That’s why a P0218 code spells trouble.
When a P0218 shows up on a diagnostic scanner, it means that your transmission fluid has reached a temperature that exceeds the manufacturer’s limits. Anything over 200° (F) can cause damage, depending on how long that heat level is sustained. And when it reaches 290° (F), you can probably expect total transmission failure.
Why Transmission Fluid Overheats
The simplest cause for overheating is simple: The fluid’s too low or too dirty. Other than that, it may be the result of heavy towing, especially in mountainous terrain, or it could be a mechanical failure, such as a faulty sensor, solenoid, or torque converter. Replacing the fluid is the easiest problem to fix, assuming there’s been no actual damage. But malfunctioning parts will probably have to be replaced. And, before you add fluid, be sure there isn’t a leak.
The Signs Are Clear
The "check engine" light is a clear indicator of a P0218 code. Spilled fluid on your garage floor, gears that slip or hard-shift, or a burning smell, are other tell-tale signs. Address these signs immediately to prevent further damage.
Avoid A Disaster
Obviously, your best bet is to pull over immediately, let the engine cool, and then check it out. But if you’re in the middle of freeway traffic when you discover a problem, you may not be able to do that.
Some newer vehicles will go into “limp” mode if there’s a pending catastrophic failure, meaning your car will be locked in a low gear, buying you a little time. Keeping the speed down and shutting off the air conditioner will also help until you can pull over. If you run with super-heated fluid, you risk severely damaging, or even destroying, your transmission, and that translates into big bucks. You should get it towed to a qualified mechanic ASAP.
Don't let a P0218 code disrupt your journey. At Sun Transmissions, we offer all the parts you need for a smooth drive. Whether it's automatic transmission supplies or power steering needs, we've got you covered. Can't make it to Miami? No problem. We ship nationwide. Contact us today and drive with confidence!
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