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How to Check the Transmission Fluid Level on a Ford Van

by Jeffrey Caldwell

Checking the transmission fluid level is probably the most important factor in helping your Ford Van’s transmission live a long and healthy life. Low fluid levels can put a tremendous amount of stress on a transmission, especially in an automatic transmission, where the fluid is used to transmit torque. Fortunately, checking the fluid level in your Ford Van is a simple task that can easily be accomplished by the vehicle owner. Doing so regularly, will help to keep your van on the road and out of the shop.

Automatic Transmission Equipped Vehicles

Step 1

Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake.

Step 2

Turn on the engine, and allow it to warm up to normal operating temperature.

Step 3

Move the gear selector through the all of the gears ending in "Park".

Step 4

Open the hood.

Step 5

Pull the transmission fluid dipstick from the dipstick tube, using your hand. The dipstick will be located near the firewall. Be careful not to confuse the transmission dipstick with the engine oil dipstick.

Step 6

Clean the transmission dipstick with a clean rag. Then reinsert it into the dipstick tube.

Step 7

Pull the transmission dipstick from the tube and examine the fluid level on the dipstick. The fluid level should be between the "Add" and "Don’t Add" marks.

Add fluid to the transmission by pouring it through the dipstick tube, if necessary.

Manual Transmission Equipped Vehicles

Step 1

Park the engine on a level surface, and set the parking brake. The engine must be completely cold before performing this procedure.

Step 2

Locate the check plug on the driver’s side of the transmission.

Step 3

Clean the check plug and the area around it with a clean rag.

Step 4

Loosen the check plug with a wrench. If oil begins to seep out, immediately tighten the check plug. The oil level is correct.

Step 5

Unscrew the check plug if oil does not begin to seep out.

Step 6

Insert your little finger into the plug hole. You should be able to feel the oil level even with the bottom of the plug hole.

Step 7

Add fluid to the transmission through the check plug hole, using a squeeze bottle if any is needed.

Screw the check plug into the plug hole and tighten using a wrench.


  • Checking the transmission fluid level immediately after towing or stop and go driving will throw off the results.


  • Always take special precautions when working around a running engine. Keep your hands away from moving parts on the engine, such as the fan or accessory drive belts. In addition do not touch any parts of the engine, which may become excessively hot, such as the engine block or exhaust manifolds.

Items you will need

  • Clean rags
  • Wrench set

About the Author

Jeffrey Caldwell has been a freelance writer for over five months and has published over 250 articles on websites like eHow and Caldwell writes articles on a wide range of topics including travel, camping and automotive mechanics. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Millersville University.

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Photo Credits

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