How to Check the Transmission Fluid Level in a Nissan Pathfinderby Dan Ferrell
In most cases, vehicle manufacturers recommend checking the transmission oil level with the engine and transmission at operating temperature. Thus, it is a good idea to check the oil level soon after you have driven your vehicle for about 20 minutes. However, during the summer, you may check the oil level on your Pathfinder if the outside temperature is around 90 degrees F or higher. Plan ahead of time for best results, and if you need to add oil to your transmission, use the one recommended for your particular Pathfinder model.
Park your Pathfinder on a level surface and apply the parking brake.
Start the engine and shift the transmission selector through every gear and back to Park (P).
Let the engine reach operating temperature or continue with the next step if the outside temperature is warm (transmission oil between 86 and 122 degrees F [30 to 50 degrees C]). Do not turn off the engine.
Open the hood and locate the transmission dipstick tube by the transmission.
Pull the transmission dipstick from the tube and wipe off the oil from the tip using a clean, lint-free piece of cloth or paper.
Insert the dipstick into its tube completely. Then pull the dipstick out again.
Rest the tip of the dipstick on the clean piece of cloth or paper on your hand in a horizontal position.
Read the oil level on the dipstick. If you let the engine warm up to operating temperature, read the side of the dipstick with the “Hot” range scale. Otherwise, read the “Cold” range scale on the other side of the dipstick. Then make sure the oil is within the appropriate range on the scale.
Add oil, if necessary, through the dipstick using a small funnel. Be careful not to overfill the transmission. It normally takes about one pint to bring the level up from "Add" to "Full" on the dipstick. Add only oil recommended for your particular model. If necessary, consult your car owner’s manual.
Insert the dipstick again and read the level again, if necessary.
Drive your vehicle for about five minutes and follow steps 5 through 8 to read the oil level once more. Add more oil, if necessary, and turn off the engine.
- "Nissan Pick-ups: Frontier pick-ups (1998 thru 2004), Xterra (2000 thru 2004), Pathfinder (1996 thru 2004) (Haynes Repair Manual);" Jeff Kibler and Ken Freund; 2007
- "Modern Automotive Technology;" James E. Duffy; 2003
- Your vehicle manufacturer recommends checking the transmission oil level and condition every 6,000 miles/6 months or sooner, depending on your particular Pathfinder model. Consult your car owner’s manual, if necessary.
Things You'll Need
- Clean, free-lint piece of cloth or paper
- Transmission oil, if necessary
- If you find yourself adding oil to the transmission on a regular basis, check for possible leaks. Low oil level may let air circulate within the transmission and cause shifting problems, if the leak is not fixed.
Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.