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How to Check Transmission Fluid

How to Check Transmission Fluid

Have you ever been driving down the road, and you step on the gas, but before it kicks into another gear, it hesitates? Maybe you feel a physical slipping sensation before it shifts. These are signs that you could have a transmission problem. You should immediately check your transmission fluid when this happens, and contact your mechanic.

If you’re wondering how to check transmission fluid, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about what they need to do, if it’s difficult, and if it’s something they can handle. In truth, checking your transmission fluid is just as easy as checking your oil, and has a very similar process. Let’s take a look at a step-by-step of how it’s done.

Checking Your Transmission Fluid

How to Check Transmission FluidThe process for how to check transmission fluid is substantially the same as checking your oil: you’ll locate the transmission dipstick and look at the levels. There are some basic differences between checking transmission fluid and checking oil, and we’ll look at those below.

Locating the Dipstick

If you have a rear-wheel drive, the dipstick for your transmission will be located towards the back of your engine. If you have a front-wheel drive, you’ll find it near the front of the transaxle. The dipstick looks like the oil dipstick, though it’s a bit smaller. If you have a manual transmission, you may need to have a technician check it, as they’ll need to rise it up to reach the plug located at the bottom.

Check with the Engine Running

How to Check Transmission FluidYou must check your transmission fluid with the engine running and warm. Checking it when it’s off and/or cool won’t give you an accurate reading. Put the car in park and make sure the parking brake is on, keep the engine running, and pull out the dipstick.

Check the Fluid Itself

Whenever you check your transmission fluid, you’re checking more than the levels. Get a little bit of the fluid on your finger and rub it between forefinger and thumb. You want it to be pink or red, and fairly clear. If you see or feel particles in it, or it smells burned, it should be drained and replaced.

Wipe, Re-Insert, Check

Now, take a clean rag and wipe off the stick. Then re-insert it into the housing, withdraw it again, and check the fluid level. If it is clear and reaches the line that says “Full,” you’re in good shape. If not, add just enough fluid into the housing (use a funnel) to bring it to the line. Never overfill it!

When to Seek Help

Any time you notice problems with your transmission you should have a mechanic look it over. A transmission that slips could do so due to low fluid or because there are any number of problems. In some cases, a fluid leak can be cheaper to fix than replacing your whole transmission. In others, it may be needed. Regardless, you should call your service center.

If you’re in the Philadelphia, Mechanicsburg, Doylestown or Flemington areas and you need help with your transmission issues, contact Fred Beans. Give us a call to schedule your appointment today.


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