How to Check the Transmission Fluid in a Dodge Caravanby Jule Pamplin
The transmission of the Doge Caravan requires an ample supply of clean fluid to function properly. The first signs of insufficient transmission fluid levels include slipping. Slipping is when the transmission drops from an appropriate gear to one that either provides too little torque to maintain speed or to a lower gear that causes the engine to rev higher than usual. Slipping could be a sign of more serious transmission trouble but a check of the transmission fluid level is the first step to adequately troubleshooting the problem.
Park the Caravan on a level driveway and leave the engine running. Put the transmission in "Park."
Pull the hood release lever beneath the driver's side of the dashboard to open the hood.
Locate the transmission fluid dipstick, labelled "ATF" (for automatic transmission fluid), located on the right side of the engine.
Pull the dipstick from the transmission fluid reservoir and wipe the metal indicator strip clean with a towel. Return the dipstick to the reservoir and wait 3 minutes.
Pull the dipstick from the reservoir and read the value on the stick. The amount of fluid is read by seeing where the line of transmission fluid stops on the stick in relation to the notches on the stick. There are three dots toward the end of the metal strip. The dot closest to the end of the stick indicates an insufficient level of fluid. The middle dot is the lowest safe value and the upper dot (closest to the dipstick handle) is the "full" indicator. The fluid should be between the middle and uppermost dots.
Add transmission fluid if necessary. Place a funnel into the reservoir opening and pour the fluid into the reservoir. Replace the clean dipstick into the container and read the value again after 10 minutes. When the value shown on the dipstick is at an appropriate level, return the dipstick to the reservoir and close the hood.
- Chrysler recommends using ATF+3 transmission fluid to replenish the Dodge Caravan's transmission fluid supply.
Items you will need
- Towel (paper or cloth)
- Transmission fluid
- "Dodge caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysley Town and Country Auto Repair Manual, 1996-2002"; Haynes; 2003
- Aa1car: Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images