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How to Check the Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Saab

by Amelia Allonsy

The Saab automatic transmission consists of a three-element torque converter and a hydraulically operated gearbox. This gearbox contains a planetary gear set that provides three forward gears and a reverse gear. The differential is incorporated into the transmission and the entire unit is bolted up beneath the transmission. The automatic transmission dipstick is located on the right-hand side of the engine, in the front of the engine compartment and just in front of the air filter housing tube. Part of the transmission case serves as the engine oil sump.

1

Set the handbrake and run the engine for at least 15 seconds at idling speed with the gear selector in the D position. Then run the engine at idling speed for 15 seconds in the R position and then finally for 15 seconds in the P position. The fluid check is performed with the selector lever in the P position (engine running).

2

Pull the dipstick out of the transmission dipstick tube and wipe it off with a shop rag. Reinsert the dipstick back into the dipstick tube and pull it out again. Some transmissions will give a false reading the first time the dipstick is pulled; always reinsert and pull again to get an accurate reading.

3

Read the marks on the dipstick to determine the current level of transmission fluid. There are min and max marks on the dipstick to indicate the target level.

4

Top off the transmission by inserting a funnel into the dipstick tube and pouring the fluid in the funnel; do not overfill the transmission. Overfilling the transmission can cause slippage, overheating, and transmission failure.

5

Check the transmission fluid in the final drive, the second part of the transmission that is the differential gear and axle assembly that turns the wheels. To check, remove the filler hole plug on the side of the transmission case at the right gear. Fill with transmission fluid to at or just below the bottom of the filler hole.

Tip

  • For suitable grades of transmission fluid, refer to the “Specifications” section of the vehicle's owners manual or service manual. The service manual will also tell you how much oil is required.

Items you will need

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

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