How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

by Contributor

Checking the automatic transmission fluid level in your car is something every car owner should learn to do. Maintaining the proper transmission fluid level is important in keeping your transmission shifting properly and your car running smoothly.

Locate the dipstick for your transmission. It is usually near the back of the engine, and the stick handle is either a T-handle or a ring handle.

Start your engine to check the fluid level.

Grasp the dipstick handle and pull straight up until the end of the stick clears the housing tube. Wipe the stick off with a rag, and push it all the back down into the tube.

Pull the stick all the way out again and hold it so you can see the end of the stick and the film of fluid that clings to it.

Look for the level indicators stamped or drilled into the dipstick. You should see two sets of indicators. One set is for checking the fluid when the engine is cold, and the other set is for checking the fluid when the engine is hot. Each set of indicators is marked with a "full" line and an "add" line.

Determine whether your transmission fluid is at the proper level by finding the spot on the dipstick where the film of fluid ends. If the film ends near the "full" mark or somewhere near the halfway point between "full" and "add," your transmission has an adequate fluid level.

Return the dipstick to the holding tube and push it all the way back down into the tube. Fully seat the dipstick in the holding tube.

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