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Use this guide to discover the signs of low transmission fluid and learn how to check transmission fluid quickly and effectively. Knowing how to check transmission fluid and maintain the proper levels is crucial to your vehicle's performance. Regular fluid level checks and maintenance can also help to extend the life of your vehicle. Read on to learn more about how to check automatic transmission fluid.
Function of Transmission Fluid
Transmission fluid lubricates the gears in your vehicle's transmission. The viscous and slippery fluid also acts as a coolant by reducing friction between moving metal parts. Some vehicles require a specific type of transmission fluid. Check your owner's manual before purchasing transmission fluid for your vehicle.
Access to the transmission fluid on a vehicle with a standard engine or stick shift is under the vehicle. In most cases the car needs to be level and raised to access it. If you don't have the proper equipment, consult a mechanic for guidance on how to check transmission fluid.
This guide teaches how to check levels and add transmission fluid in an automatic vehicle.
Safety Tip: This project should only be performed outdoors or in a well-ventilated space. oil.
Check Your Transmission Fluid
The transmission fluid dipstick looks like the engine oil dipstick. The location will depend on your vehicle. Here’s how to locate the dipstick:
- Open the hood to your car.
- If you have an inline engine, look behind your oil dipstick toward your windshield to locate the transmission fluid dipstick
- If you have a front-wheel drive, look to the right of your oil dipstick. The transmission fluid dipstick is usually close to your car’s battery
- Transmission fluid stains easily, so avoid drips and protect your workspace with a drop cloth if possible.
Once you’ve located the dipstick, it’s time to assess your fluid levels. The process should take only a few minutes if you’re familiar with your vehicle. Here’s how to check transmission fluid:
- The engine must be warm when you check the transmission fluid.
- Start your engine, keep it in park and set the emergency brake on.
- Wearing gloves, open the hood, locate the dipstick and remove it.
- Touch the tip of the dipstick with your finger. Rub the fluid between your thumb and index finger.
- Check to see if the color is clean and clear or pink. Look for burnt particles or a dark color. If you notice burnt particles or a dark color, you should have your transmission fluid changed by a professional. If not, proceed to the next step.
- Wipe the dipstick clean with a lint-free cloth and re-insert it into the transmission fluid.
- Remove the dipstick again and check the level. The fluid should reach the “FULL” line or be within the hash marks at the end of the dipstick.
- If not, add a small amount of transmission fluid at a time. Don’t overfill it. Excess fluid inhibits proper lubrication and slows down the engine, similar to trying to run in water.
Frequency of Transmission Fluid Maintenance
Maintaining proper transmission fluid levels keeps your vehicle running smoothly.
Check levels at least once per year. Many mechanics will do this as part of a routine service. You can check your transmission fluid levels monthly to ensure optimal performance.
Many experts recommend changing your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
Signs of Low Transmission Fluid
Here are the common signs of low transmission fluid:
- A burning smell inside or outside your car
- Grinding or vibrating when shifting gears
- Vehicle is shifting gears slowly or not accelerating properly
- Car feels rough, particularly when shifting gears or performing tasks like accelerating onto the freeway
earning how to check your transmission fluid is simple. It can help you keep up with your car's maintenance while saving you money on repairs. Check out our selection of automatic transmission fluid today.
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