How to Check your Transmission Fluid

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid; Your vehicle’s transmission is a key component that transfers power from the engine to the wheels, allowing your vehicle to drive smoothly. To preserve your transmission’s best efficiency and longevity, monitor and maintain the proper level of transmission fluid. In this article, we’ll go over why it’s important to check your transmission fluid, when and how to do it, and what to look for when doing so.

How to Check your Transmission Fluid

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is a particular kind of lubricant used in vehicles with automatic gearboxes. Its principal role is to lubricate the many moving parts of the transmission system, resulting in smooth and efficient functioning. The transmission is an essential component of a vehicle that transfers power from the engine to the wheels, allowing the vehicle to move forward or backward.

Why is it Important to Check Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid serves several important tasks in your vehicle’s transmission system. It lubricates moving parts, cools the gearbox, and allows for smooth gear shifts. Transmission fluid can degrade, pollute, or leak over time, potentially causing major transmission problems. Regularly checking and maintaining the optimum fluid level can help prevent costly repairs and extend the life of your transmission

When to Check Your Transmission Fluid

Checking transmission fluid should be part of your normal car repair routine. Here are some suggestions to help you determine when you should check your transmission fluid:

Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual: Manufacturers recommend maintenance regimens, which include when to check and change the transmission fluid.

Keep an eye out for any warning signs: If you detect problems such as slipping gears, odd noises, or a burning odor, you should check the transmission fluid right once.

On regular intervals: Check your transmission fluid at least once a month or every 1,000 miles.

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid step by step

Follow these instructions to check your transmission fluid accurately:

 Park on a level surface

Make sure your vehicle is on a flat, level area and turned off. Use the parking brake for enhanced safety.

 Locate the transmission dipstick

In most vehicles, the transmission dipstick is positioned near the engine and is easily identified by its red or yellow handle. If you are unclear, check your owner’s manual.

Warm the engine

Start your vehicle and let it set for a few minutes to warm up the transmission fluid. This allows for a more accurate reading.

 Move through the gears

With your foot on the brake, move the transmission through each gear (from park to drive and back) before returning it to park.

Check the fluid level

Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean with a towel, fully reinsert it, and then pull it out again. The fluid level on the dipstick should be between the “Add” and “Full” marks.

Check the fluid quality

Examine the liquid’s color and odor. Transmission fluid should be transparent with a reddish color. However, if it appears brown or has a burnt odor, it may be time for a fluid change.

If necessary, add liquid

If the fluid level is less than the “Add” mark, add the type of transmission fluid specified in your owner’s handbook. To avoid spillage, use a funnel.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you check transmission fluid on a paper towel?

Place a couple of drops of warm fluid on a white paper towel and wait a minute. If the fluid spreads and is light brown, red, or pink it is still good. AFT does get a little darker as you use

How do you test an automatic transmission?

Press the brake pedal and move the checkpoint handle sequentially from P (parking) to D (drive) and R (reverse), holding each for 3-5 seconds. The car reaction to switching should be barely perceptible, with a delay of no more than a second. There should be no kicks or extraneous sounds.

What color should transmission fluid be?

This can vary, but in most cases, your transmission fluid color should be red. That means if you notice red fluid leaking from your car, it may be a sign that your transmission needs service.

Do you check transmission fluid when hot or cold?

If you’re going to be checking the transmission fluid level at home, it’s a good idea to warm up the car before you do so. If the car is checked while the engine is cold, it might give an inaccurate reading when you use the dipstick. After driving for about 10 minutes, park on an even surface and leave it running.

What happens if you overfill transmission fluid?

This will overheat and damage the torque converter and possible shift transducers. So your critical concern should be foaming; you should check for this, and then drain (or suck out through the dipstick) any excess fluid until it’s down to the normal level before the damage occurs.

Is transmission fluid watery or oily?

Odor: Transmission fluid usually smells like petroleum. If the fluid needs to be changed, it will smell burnt. Consistency: Transmission fluid will look/feel oily and slick like engine oil or brake fluid.

How long can transmission fluid last?

If you drive a manual car, most manufacturers will recommend changing your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you have an automatic, you can typically boost that range up to 60,000 to 100,000 miles. There’s no harm in changing your fluid early.

Can you check the transmission fluid without running the car?

The engine should be warm, but the fluid level is checked with the engine not running. So, in this case, warm up the engine, shift from park to reverse, then to drive and back to park, shut off the engine, and then check the fluid level with the dipstick.


Regularly monitoring your transmission fluid is a simple but important component of car maintenance that can help prevent significant transmission problems and extend the life of your vehicle.

By following these steps and paying attention to changes in your vehicle’s performance.

You can guarantee that your transmission fluid continues to run smoothly and efficiently. Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for precise requirements and recommendations.

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