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How to Check the Transmission Fluid on a 2003 Oldsmobile Alero

by Tonya Cunningham

Check your 2003 Oldsmobile Alero's transmission fluid periodically to be sure that fluid is running through the system properly. Change the transmission fluid periodically, approximately every 40,000 miles. Dirt roads or inner-city driving are likely to wreak more havoc on your transmission's fluid than highway driving, but the fluid should be monitored regularly regardless of driving conditions.

Run the Alero's engine and shift it into each gear while driving it for approximately 5 minutes. This ensures that the transmission fluid is running through the system and not sitting stagnant, in order to produce a more accurate level reading.

Turn the engine off and remove the key as a safety precaution.

Elevate the front end of the Alero using the car jack and place it on two jack stands, one on each side by the front tires.

Shake your car to be sure that it is stable on the stands and will not fall while you are under it.

Locate the transmission check plug on the side of the transmission pan in the center front end of the car.

Unbolt the cap on your check plug, using the socket wrench.

Press the Alero's emergency brake completely to the floor so that the car will not roll off the jack stands when you take it out of gear.

Shift the gear stick to "neutral." This pushes the transmission fluid through the transmission system and into the check plug for an accurate reading.

Stick the screwdriver into the check plug hole. If the transmission fluid does not reach the top of the screwdriver near the handle, or if it appears thick, red, sticky or corroded, it's probably time for a transmission fluid change. If the fluid is thin, clear or light orange, clean and reaches the top of the screwdriver (near the check plug opening), it is likely fine.

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About the Author

Born and raised in western New York, Tonya Cunningham attended Niagara University until 1992 as a pre-law student. Today, Cunningham is a legal assistant and freelance writer looking forward to the completion of her first book.

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