How To Check Transmission Fluid | [Step by Step]

In this article, we are going to explain how to check transmission fluid with complete information.

What is Transmission Fluid?

Now, transmission fluid is a type of fluid that is actually used in automobiles with different kinds of transmissions.

Now this one has not to be confused with motor oil because motor oil has to look after combustion relation products where trans mission fluid works up for smooth movement of the parts of your vehicle.

Transmission fluid multi-tasks, both as an oil and a fluid help the parts to move smoothly by lubricating them, which indirectly cuts down the damage that can be done to the parts by friction and heat.

Now, this fluid, as it is very important as it helps the parts of your vehicle to function smoothly, has to check from time to time, if said more precisely then it should be checked every 30000 to 60000 miles and according to that changed as well.

Though it is important to change your transmission fluid, if not done frequently it turns up being slippery. And by the time the dirty fluid will obviously not be very effective and will scatter less heat resulting in damages.

how to check Transmission Fluid
how to check transmission fluid

Now checking your transmission fluid is extremely necessary if you drive under really stressed conditions because that is one time when your vehicle goes under a lot of fluctuations and just by keeping the vehicle go smooth among all of it, it gets highly damaged.

Another thing is, that if in case you don’t check the transmission fluid on time what can eventually happen is it will start emitting a burned odor that can indicate its needs to be changed.

Also, after a certain period of time, it can change its color and basically get darker which is another indication that it should be changed.

How To Check Transmission Fluid

Now to check your automatic transmission fluid,

Most modern cars do not have a fluid dipstick and automakers instead of which it is recommended to take your car to a service center to check the fluid level because it is pretty tricky as it has to be checked from underneath the car.

But in case you want to check it on your own,

Step 1

First and foremost use your car’s user manual to check if it has a dipstick and if it is easily accessible or not.

Step 2

Now use your owner’s manual to get to the procedure of checking your transmission fluid.

Step 3

Park your vehicle in a way that it is on the level surface from where it can give the perfect reading.

Step 4

When performing the task, be watchful about the engine cooling fans as they can continue to run even when the engine is turned off. Also, you gotta be careful with the hot components of the engine as they can cause injury.

To check up, the most recommended temperature is said to be the operating temperature which is 195 – 220 degrees Fahrenheit when checking the transmission fluid.

Step 5

After taking all the precautions properly about the cooling fans and temperature, check up on your car if the fluid has to be checked with the engine running or engine off because this is that one thing that varies from vehicle to vehicle and affects the results too.

Step 6

There are some vehicles that recommend the gear selector to be moved up into each gear for a time span of a few seconds before the fluid gets checked. Also, before getting out of the vehicle, return to neutral or park and then apply the parking brake.

Step 7

Spot the transmission dipstick handle, which is usually brightly colored. Now its specifications will be found in your user manual itself so you can take its help to recognize the one.

Step 8

Now unfasten the transmission dipstick handle taking precautions not to drop or spill any liquid on the engine which is extremely hot or exhaust parts and once you get it out, wipe it off using a clean piece of cloth.

Step 9

Now after cleaning the dipstick properly, insert it back this time to actually check the fluid.
Insert it back properly and then remove it to check the level of the fluid which should eventually be between the low and full marks.

Now when you remove the dipstick this time, you gotta check the color of the fluid if its darken or not, the smell of the fluid, if it has a tinge of burnt oil or not, you gotta touch it and see if it has become slippery or not, also you can check if the fluid has particle sort of things on it and etc.

Again your user manual will have all measures you would want to check on to see the state of your transmission fluid and then based on them you can analyze if you have to change it or not.

Step 10

In case you spot any leak and you gotta refill the fluid, make sure you use the recommended one only and not any fluid according to you because it can highly affect the working of your vehicle. Fix the leak as soon as possible by refilling it up to the appropriate level.

Step 11

After you are done checking, analyzing, refilling, and changing your transmission fluid, reinstall the dipstick.

transmission fluid change
how often to change transmission fluid

Things To Be Kept in mind While Performing the Task

One important thing is that even if sometimes you take your vehicle for an oil change and the service person shows you the transmission fluid darkens and urges you to get it changed.

Before making any decision first and foremost check the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual and check out the schedule that your manufacturer has up for your vehicle for the change of your transmission fluid, then only proceed.

This way you will have a real value for money work as nothing is getting wasted but utilized at the correct place.

Now another important thing you should take care of is that there are many repair shops that use a specific flush system.

What this system does is force out the old fluid completely and pump in a whole new batch of new fluid rather than letting the old one simply drain out. Now it might seem very normal and you might find no difference in the fact of the oil being flushed and not drained.

How it eventually affects the system is, that it causes trans mission failures and another misconception that has to be cleared is replacing your old fluid with a fresh one isn’t a cure for the slippery gears which are caused by the aging of the old fluid, rough shifts, and various mechanical problems, so the new fluid is nowhere a magic elixir.

Some transmissions (where the fluid is put) have filters that are to be cleaned, repaired, or might be replaced when you change the fluid.

Final Words

So, there are several measures that are to be taken care of whenever you gotta deal with mechanical stuff so make sure you have done your complete research.

While you are performing such stuff so that you don’t end up creating a mess that can eventually lead to a huge expense. So firstly become completely sure about all the details and parts of your vehicle and then perform the task.

What are the warning signals that there is not enough transmission fluid?

While you wait for the transmission fluid to be replaced, it is a good idea to get aware with the warning signals that indicate you may be running short on transmission fluid.

What happens if you run out of transmission fluid?

If there is no fluid in the system, there will be no hold; hence, the gears won’t be able to spin, and the vehicle won’t be able to drive. In the event that your car reaches the point where it has no transmission fluid, you will almost certainly be looking at the prospect of significant transmission repairs or perhaps a complete transmission replacement.

How much does it cost to change the transmission fluid in a car?

The price that a dealer, service shop, or independent technician will charge to replace your vehicle’s fluids may vary anywhere from $80 to $250. The price for both automatic and manual gearboxes is often close to one hundred dollars.

How much longer can a vehicle be driven while the transmission fluid level is low?

Even though there is little to no transmission fluid in the car, it is still technically possible to drive it for ten to fifteen miles. However, doing so may cause breakdowns in the vehicle’s transmission system and may cause irreversible damage to the vehicle.

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