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How Do I Check the Transmission Fluid on a Chevy HHR?

by TJ Hinton

The 2011 Chevrolet HHR models equipped with automatic transmissions can be dangerous for the home mechanic to work on. The transmission must be checked hot, with the engine running. This can't be done safely while your HHR is supported on jack stands. Also, because the fluid level in the transmission is unknown, some of it may be expelled when the plug is removed, causing burns. For these reasons, if you suspect that your automatic transmission fluid level is low, take it to your dealer or a qualified service center as soon as possible. If you have a manual transmission, however, you can check it yourself.

1

Park your HHR somewhere it's safe to jack it up and chock the rear wheels. Remove the wheel center-cap and cap nuts, using a ratchet and socket, if applicable. Using a tire tool, loosen the lug nuts on the driver-side front wheel one turn.

2

Raise the front of the vehicle one side at a time, using a jack under the pinch-weld jacking points located just to the rear of the front wheel wells, then finish removing the lug nuts and wheel assembly. Support the vehicle on jack stands placed under strong structures, such as the frame members, then raise and support the rear of the HHR. Ensure that the vehicle is level, and allow the transaxle to cool completely.

3

Don safety glasses or goggles. Locate the transmission fill plug at the 3 o'clock position on the driver-side of the transmission, and position a catch pan beneath it. Using a ratchet and socket, remove the plug. Inspect the fluid level through the hole, and add Dexron VI transmission fluid as necessary until the fluid is visible at the bottom of the threads in the fill hole. Install the plug and, using a foot-pound torque wrench and socket, torque the plug to 28 foot-pounds.

4

Use the wire brush to clean the threads on the lugs. Remove any rust scale or other detritus from the face of the hub, using the wire brush. Install the wheel assembly and snug the lug nuts as much as possible. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Torque the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds in three stages, in a cross-pattern, using a foot-pound torque wrench and socket. Give it a short test drive and check for leaks.

Items you will need

About the Author

TJ Hinton trained as an auto mechanic at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and then later graduated from MMI as a certified motorcycle mechanic . He's also worked for 20+ years in home construction, remodeling and repair. His articles appear on InternetAutoGuide.com and TopSpeed.com.

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