How to Check the Transmission Fluid in a Geo Trackerby Josh Baum
Your transmission fluid is what keeps your Geo Tracker's entire transmission from wearing out prematurely, overheating or otherwise locking up. It's important to check it regularly to make sure it's full and that the fluid isn't getting too old or dirty. This process is fairly simple, but it's important to prepare your Tracker just right prior to checking the fluid levels, or else you run the risk of getting an inaccurate reading.
Start your Geo Tracker and drive around for a bit. Shoot for about 10 miles or 20 minutes of driving time, whichever comes first. If possible, take the car to a highway or high-speed road so that you can run it through all the gears.
Park on the most level ground you can find, leave the engine running, pop the hood and prop up the hood with the support arm.
Locate the transmission fluid dipstick, which is at the back of the engine block, in the middle of the engine. If you're not sure what you're looking for, it is either a round plastic ring or a T-shaped plastic handle, and it may even be labeled "TRANS." Dipstick design varies among model years, and your Tracker may even have an after-market dipstick, so there is no one design type you should expect to see if you've never done this before. If necessary, refer to your owner's manual for an under-hood diagram.
Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a rag, then reinsert it. Make sure it's in all the way, then pull it out and look at the end. There should be separate fill lines for a warm or cold engine, so look for the lines marked "warm." If the fluid level is at the full line, your level is fine. If it is closer to the end of the dipstick, you need to add fluid.
Look at the color of the fluid and see if it has a strong odor. Dirty fluid will be dark brown or black and will smell burnt.
- If you must add more fluid, add it a little at a time by pouring transmission fluid through a long plastic funnel and into the transmission fluid dipstick hole. Check the level frequently as you add fluid to make sure you don't overfill. Refer to your owner's manual for the type of transmission fluid to use, as this varies among model years and versions of the Geo Tracker. If your fluid is dark and dirty, take it to a mechanic for a flush and complete fluid change.
- Only add fluid about 1 oz. at a time, because overfilling the transmission can cause stalling and other transmission or engine problems.