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How to Change the Transmission Fluid in a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica

by Elizabeth Falwell; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Clean cloth

  • Work gloves

  • Protective eye wear

  • Jack stands or ramp

  • Tire blocks

  • Drainage pan

  • Wrench

  • Funnel

  • New transmission fluid

Transmission fluid lubricates your car's gears and torque converters, allowing your vehicle to shift gears. This is true whether you drive an automatic or manual transmission. For your 2004 Chrysler Pacifica to operate correctly, you need both the right amount and the right kind of motor oil, working at the right temperature. If any of these three elements is missing, you need to refill or change your transmission fluid.

Prepare your car for the transmission fluid check and potential change. The Chrysler Pacifica owner's manual suggests running your car at idle speed for at least 60 seconds. While the vehicle is on a flat surface, fully depress your car's parking break, and move the car through each of its gears, ultimately ending in park. With the vehicle still turned on, exit the car.

Open your Pacifica's hood, and identify the transmission dipstick, which is located right behind your car's radiator.

Remove the dipstick. You may want to wear work gloves at this point, because the transmission fluid on the dipstick (and the dipstick itself) may be hot. Feel the dipstick to determine how warm the fluid is. If the fluid is so hot that it is uncomfortable or painful to touch, it means it is still in good condition. If it is cold (comfortable to the touch, even room temperature), the fluid may not be heating up enough to keep the gears running smoothly. It should be replaced. Skip to Step 6.

Check the transmission fluid level. Wipe the dipstick clean, then place it completely back into the transmission fluid well. Remove the dipstick again, and note of the fluid level. If the fluid level is below the indicator line, you should add transmission fluid.

Add transmission fluid by inserting a funnel into the hole where the dipstick usually goes. The Chrysler Pacifica owner's manual recommends Mopar ATF+4 transmission fluid, and it warns against using other fluids, which can lead to the breakdown of critical engine parts. Add a little fluid, then replace the dipstick to see whether the fluid is at the correct level. Continue adding fluid and checking the dipstick level until the fluid reaches the correct level. Do not overfill the fluid well, as this can cause serious damage.

Raise your Pacifica using a pair of jack stands or a ramp if you must change the transmission fluid. Put blocks behind the tires so the vehicle doesn't roll. Turn the car's engine on again for a few minutes to give the transmission fluid time to warm up. The warmer the fluid, the easier it is to drain it from the transmission.

Turn off your vehicle before getting underneath it to work. Look on the bottom of your vehicle to locate the transmission pan, which is directly underneath the dipstick. Locate the drain plug, which is at the lowest point of the transmission pan.

Place a collection bucket directly underneath the drain plug. Loosen and remove the plug; the old fluid will begin draining immediately. This draining process may take several minutes. Leave the drain unplugged for up to an hour to drain out as much of the old fluid as possible before replacing the drain plug.

Remove the transmission pan by using a wrench to loosen and remove the bolts securing it to the vehicle. Wipe down the pan and the bolts with a clean rag to remove oil and any debris that may have made its way into the transmission. Secure the transmission pan back into place with the bolts.

Follow the same process outlined in Step 5 to fill the transmission well with fresh oil. The 2004 Chrysler Pacifica can hold up to 9.8 quarts of transmission fluid.

Place the dipstick back into the transmission well. Make sure it is on securely, so debris can't get inside.

Tips

Chrysler suggests checking your transmission fluid levels every month. The fluid should be changed every 60,000 miles.

If your transmission still isn't running correctly after changing the transmission fluid, you may need to have your transmission flushed or your transmission filter replaced.

Warnings

Take proper safety precautions--such as making sure your car won't roll, using protective eye wear and gloves--throughout this project.

Follow the manufacturer's recommended guidelines for fluid amount and brand.

About the Author

Elizabeth Falwell has been writing for the TV news industry since 2005. Her work has appeared on WXII 12 News, WMGT 41 News, NewParent.com and multiple parenting blogs. A graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, Falwell holds a Master of Science in broadcast journalism.

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