How Do I Check the Transmission Fluid In My Car

Most drivers know the importance of checking the engine oil level in their car regularly. This habit can help you identify leaks and prevent engine damage. Checking transmission fluid levels is another important routine maintenance item that lets you keep tabs on the condition of your vehicle and stay ahead of damage and expensive repairs.

You don’t need to be a mechanic to keep an eye on the fluid levels in your vehicle. Checking your transmission fluid is an easy task you should add to your other vehicle maintenance routines.

Why Should I Check My Transmission Fluid?

For the same reason, you check your engine oil. Transmission fluid lubricates and cools the moving components within your automatic transmission, allowing it to reliably shift gears while you drive.

Prepare To Check

Get a paper towel or white rag and put on some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Park your car on a flat surface and start it. Let it get up to temperature, then pop the hood (the hood latch is normally found on the left-hand side of the driver’s footwell).

Set the emergency brake and put the transmission in the park. With the car still on, get out and open the hood. Be careful, components under the hood can be very hot.

Yellow transmission dipstick handle

Find The Transmission Dipstick

Depending on the orientation of your motor, the transmission dipstick may be toward the back of the engine or to the sides of it. On some vehicles, the dipstick will be marked. Don’t mistake the oil dipstick for the transmission one.

The transmission dipstick is further back than the oil dipstick

Check The Condition Of The Transmission Fluid

Next, lay the dipstick back on the white cloth of the paper towel and observe the color of the transmission fluid. The condition of the fluid can be indicative of the condition of your transmission. New, healthy transmission fluid will have a red or pink color. Fluid that is on the brink of needing replacement may appear brownish-red.

Dipstick covered in pink transmission fluid

Black transmission fluid may mean you have a more serious issue. Brown or black fluid may have a burnt smell, which is never a good sign. If you see metal shavings in your transmission fluid, get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. Metal in the transmission fluid indicates a much more serious issue.

Pink transmission fluid on paper

Keep Track Of Your Transmission Fluid Level Over Time

Regularly checking your transmission fluid will allow you to stay on top of leaks and consumption issues. If the fluid was low, continue to check weekly to get an idea of how quickly your transmission is leaking or consuming fluid. Always look on the ground where you were parked for signs of leaking fluid.

Time For Transmission Service? Come To Matson Point S!

Like the engine, the transmission requires proper lubrication to function properly. Keeping track of your transmission fluid is a good preventative maintenance practice that takes very little time. If it turns out you need a fluid change or other transmission services, give Matson Point S a call or schedule an appointment online. Our team of skilled technicians would be happy to take a look!

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