How To Check Transmission Fluid

You might be wondering why you should learn how to check your transmission fluid. Well, proper transmission maintenance can mean the difference between a car that runs smoothly and a car that doesn’t. If your transmission fluid runs low, not only can it drastically (and negatively) effect the operation of your car, it can also shorten the life of your transmission, which isn’t a good thing. Checking your transmission fluid about once a month is one way to make sure it doesn’t run too low. Luckily, checking transmission fluid is simple once you know how to do it.

Things you'll need:

  • Car
  • Clean rag or paper towel
  • Funnel
  • Transmission fluid
  1. Park your car on level ground. For safety’s sake, make sure the parking brake has been set.
  2. Start the car’s engine. Popular wisdom says your car should be running when you check transmission fluid.
  3. Wait for the car to reach the operating temperature during normal driving. Consider checking the transmission fluid right after driving it around for a bit.
  4. Open the hood and find the dipstick. Most dipsticks can be found behind the car’s engine. However, many modern cars don’t have dipsticks because checking the transmission fluid in those cars is a little more complicated and can’t really be done in the traditional way. If that’s the case with your car, you might have to take it to a mechanic for a transmission fluid check at least twice a year.
  5. Thoroughly clean the dipstick. Don’t use a rag or cloth that’s already dirty for this. A clean rag or paper towel is a better choice.
  6. Stick the dipstick back into the transmission fill tube. That’s the place where you got the dipstick from to begin with. Make sure you slide it all the way in.
  7. Check transmission fluid level by taking a look at the markings on the dipstick. These markings will tell you whether or not you car is low on transmission fluid.
  8. If the dipstick says your car is low on transmission fluid, add more. You do this by placing a funnel in the transmission fill tube. Just make sure you don’t add to much.
  9. Replace the dipstick and close the hood. And, as simple as that, you’ve made sure the transmission fluid is at the right levels to keep your car running smoothly. 
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