Five Easy Steps on How to Check Transmission Fluid

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how to check transmission fluid

Transmission fluid tells about the health of your vehicle. It is an oily substance which helps the steering system to keep its part moving smoothly. You cannot use the same transmission fluid for all vehicles. The type of transmission fluid to be used differs from model to model. It depends upon the model and capacity of your vehicle. 

Also, the requirements of transmission fluid are different for automatic and manual vehicles. As we all are aware that motor oil is important for the proper functioning of engine the same way transmission fluid has a significant role to play in an automatic transmission system. All the moving components require timely lubrication. Transmission fluid fulfils their needs.

Automobile enthusiasts will agree that proper maintenance is key to ensuring that your car has the longest life. Proper maintenance is everyone’s cup of tea. It demands proper skill, passion, care and concern. Nowadays, we all are so busy with our professional life that we don’t have enough time to look after our vehicles. Neither we were taught nor we get enough time to learn how to do certain tasks.  How to check transmission fluid is one of these tasks.

Just like our body, timely check-up of vehicles is also important for their proper functioning. Automobiles can run smoothly only if they are lubricated consistently. Fluid leakage degrades the functioning of any vehicle. Owning a vehicle brings responsibility for their maintenance too. You should check your vehicle’s transmission fluid more often regularly. If you don’t know how to check the transmission fluid. Don’t worry. This article is for you. This article will explain to you all about transmission fluid like how to check the transmission fluid level.

how to check transmission fluids

You might wonder Why Do You Need to Check Automatic Transmission Fluid?

Well, here are a few things and functions in your vehicle which demands proper transmission fluid level to be present. Apart from knowing the vehicle’s model and features, it is also significant to understand why it’s important to check the transmission fluid. Automatic transmission fluid is the lifeforce of the transmission system. The hydraulic pressure needed to operate the transmission is generated by transmission fluid. Also, it cools and lubricates the transmission. The pump draws air into the system when the fluid level is low. This air causes disruptions in the working of the hydraulic system and also, interrupts the proper flow of automatic transmission fluid. This might result in a breakdown.

The transmission fluid keeps the transmission in vehicles lubricated. Which in turn results in the proper functioning of your vehicle. Proper functioning here means when you wish to change gear, it changes smoothly when you use steering, it works smoothly too. Not checking Transmission fluid leads to putting your car in danger of breaking down. To ensure your vehicle has a proper amount of transmission fluid, keep checking the level of transmission fluid regularly. As recommended by most of the automobile manufactures, you should check the fluid level every 40,000 miles or as per the vehicle manual. The vehicle’s engine needs oil to lubricate its different components and protect them against wear and corrosion, same way transmission is lubricated by a special fluid called transmission fluid.

Do you know what are the symptoms of low transmission fluid?

Under normal circumstances and operations, vehicles normally do not lose transmission fluid. If you find the transmission fluid level of your vehicle low, it might be because of some leakage. Immediately, get in touch with a service professional and ask him to address the problem to avoid any possible damage to your vehicle. In some vehicles, you might not find a dipstick. In that case, you are required to consult some service professional to inspect the automatic transmission fluid level. You can also refer to the manual.

 We are going to explain the Five Easy Steps on How to Check Transmission Fluid?

Park the Vehicle

The first step you are supposed to do is to park your vehicle on a flat and firm surface. Make sure the parking brake is set. Starting the engine to warm up is optional. It might take about 5 minutes to warm up. As some automobile manufacturers don’t recommend starting your engine before checking the transmission fluid, while some recommend. Again, it is different for different models and automobile companies.

Look for the Dipstick

Open the bonnet of the vehicle. The actual location of the dipstick may vary for different models. Now, look for the transmission dipstick. As identification, the handle of the dipstick should have a coloured ring on it.

The location of the dipstick is different for front-wheel and rear-wheel drive vehicles. For a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, you need to check toward the back of the engine and you can find dipstick easily. If your vehicle is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, you will find the dipstick for the transmission usually towards the front of the engine or it can be found sticking out of the transaxle.

Checking the Fluid Level

The way to check fluid level is different for Hot Engine and Cold Engine. We are going to explain checking the fluid level for both engines separately.

  • When the engine is “Cold”       

  • Make sure the engine is warmed up.
  • Once you find the dipstick, pull it out.
  • To clean the dipstick, wipe it with a rag and reinsert. 
  • Pull out the dipstick again.
  • Now, Observe the markings on it.

The dipstick has two marks on it. They are usually labelled as “Cold” and “Hot”. However, they may be labelled as “Add” and “Full”. Here, as the engine is merely warm, you find the level to be somewhere near to the “Cold” range.

  • When the Engine is “Hot”

  • Go for a normal drive, so that the engine gets hot.
  • Find the dipstick, pull it out.
  • Clean it with a rag and then reinsert.
  • Pull out the dipstick again.
  • Now, Observe the markings on it.

To measure the precise value of transmission fluid level reading, make sure the engine is hot. In this case, both the fluid and engine are hot, you need to take special care to avoid burning. When you look at the dipstick measurement, you will find the transmission fluid level to be somewhere in the “Hot” range.

The transmission fluid is required to be added in both scenarios. 

  • When the engine is “Cold” and the dipstick measurement shows fluid level below “Cold” range, your vehicle needs more transmission fluid to be added to avoid any danger of breaking down.
  • When the engine is “Hot” and the dipstick measurement shows fluid level below “Hot” range, your vehicle needs more transmission fluid to be added to avoid any danger of breaking down.

Reinsert the Dipstick

Once you are done with adding transmission fluid to your vehicle, don’t forget to reinsert the dipstick. As to check transmission fluid level at any time, you will need it.

Many automobile manufacturers no longer provide an automatic transmission dipstick to check the fluid level. Automatic transmission dipsticks are getting eliminated. On the other hand, the newer automatic transmissions are way too complex than older models. The transmission fluid levels are also more critical. To check the automatic transmission fluid level in these models, special procedures are required.

Wrapping it Up

I hope you found this article helpful. There are few more things which you need to take care of. As you might be aware of the fact that not all fluids are a good fit for all vehicles. You need to make sure you choose the right transmission fluid for your vehicle. You can figure out which fluid to use for your vehicle just by referring to its manual.