How to Add Transmission Fluid to a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta

by Mark Robinson
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Both automatic and manual transmissions equipped in the 1997 Volkswagen Jetta are sealed units. While there is a drain plug and a fill hole for the transmission, there is no dipstick within the engine bay to either check the transmission fluid levels or fill the transmission with fluid. The fluid within the transmission is meant to last for the life of the vehicle, but premature wear can make replacement necessary. It is advised that you take your Jetta to a trained Volkswagen mechanic for transmission-related servicing. However, you can drain and fill both manual and automatic transmissions by following the steps below.

Step 1

Drive the Jetta for at least 10 minutes. This will warm up the transmission fluid. Drive the Jetta into your work area and apply the brake. Move the shifter through each gear, leaving it in gear for 3 to 4 seconds before moving to the next gear. Return the shifter to park (or neutral if it is a manual).

Step 2

Leave the engine running and use a drive-on or four-post lift to raise the vehicle. The vehicle must remain level when reading the fluid level and replacing the fluid.

Step 3

Locate the service plug on the lower right-hand passenger side of the transmission. Place a catch pan underneath the transmission and remove the plug with a ratchet and socket. If the fluid level is normal, a small amount of fluid will leak out.

Step 4

Locate the fill plug on the side of the transmission fluid pan. Loosen the plug with a ratchet and socket and use the VAG 1924 transmission filler tool or equivalent to pump the VW transmission fluid into the pan. Pump the fluid into the pan until it overflows out of the plug. Reinsert the plug into the side of the pan.

Step 5

Move the shifter through each gear again, leaving it in gear for 3 to 4 seconds before moving to the next gear. Return the shifter to park or neutral.

Step 6

Remove the fill plug once again and add more VW transmission fluid until the fluid trickles out of the hole. Reinsert the plug into the side of the pan.

Clean off any excess fluid left on the transmission pan with a shop rag and remove the catch pan from underneath the transmission. Lower the Jetta from the four-post lift or drive-on lift.


  • Instead of using the VAG 1924 filler tool, you can improvise by using a funnel and length of clear plastic hose. Make sure the hose is small enough to fit into the fill hole.
  • Consult your owner's manual for the proper transmission fluid to use in your Jetta.


  • Avoid contact with the engine's exhaust plumbing or other hot surfaces. Doing so can cause burns and serious injury.

Items you will need

  • VW transmission fluid
  • VAG 1924 or equivalent filler tool
  • Drive-on lift or four-post lift
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Catch pan
  • Shop rag

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