Keep your car in park with the handbrake on while you check the transmission fluid. Refer to your owner's manual or look it up on the internet. You must have fluid in the transmission or it will just burn up and you will need to rebuild the entire thing. Ok, now you’re ready to check the transmission. Most auto transmissions are checked with the engine warmed up for 30-60 minutes, with the gear in neutral and parking brake on. In order to get an accurate transmission fluid reading, you will need to check the level while your transmission is running and the fluid is warm. Take the car to your mechanic at once. Before adding fluid, it is imperative to check the existing level of fluid in the car and to do so you need gloves and a towel/rag. Do I add fluid while the truck is running, or should I turn it off first? Proper transmission maintenance will keep your car running smooth, and it will stay that way for many more miles than one with a neglected transmission would. If the automatic transmission fluid level does not come up to the "warm" line, you'll need to add automatic transmission fluid. Learn how flushing your car's fluids can keep it in better shape for longer. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. One of the main fluid compartments of the transmission is the torque converter. If it is, take it into a mechanic. ... How To Check Transmission Fluid. How to Check and Add Fluid to Your Automatic Transmission, https://www.howacarworks.com/transmission/how-to-check-and-change-automatic-transmission-fluid, https://www.carbibles.com/add-transmission-fluid/, http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-check-automatic-transmission-fluid.html, comprobar y agregar el líquido a su tansmisión automática, Automatik Getriebeöl prüfen und auffüllen, contrôler et rajouter du fluide dans votre transmission automatique, Conferir e Completar o Fluido da Transmissão Automática, узнать уровень и добавить жидкости в систему автоматической трансмиссии, Controllare e Aggiungere il Liquido di Trasmissione Automatica, Memeriksa dan Menambah Cairan Pada Transmisi Otomatis, Automatische versnellingsbakolie controleren en bijvullen, Jak zkontrolovat a doplnit kapalinu v automatické převodovce, كيفية تفقد وإضافة السائل لنظام الحركة الأتوماتيكي, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. You can check your transmission fluid the same way as your engine oil, except the car should be running when you do it. If you've drained the fluid from the pan, removed the pan and replaced the filter, you may need to add anywhere from 4 to 12 quarts, depending on the make and model. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 687,264 times. DO YOU CHECK POWER STEERING FLUID WITH CAR RUNNING OR ENGINE OFF?Optional Information: 2004 Ford TAURUS 3.0L - Answered by a verified Auto Mechanic In most cases, draining must be done with the car raised and supported securely on axle stands or ramps and with the handbrake on. You want to check the fluid while the engine is running and warm to get a true reading. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Then, with the car parked on a level surface, engine running, pull the stick out, wipe it off and reinsert. Downloading, republication, retransmission or reproduction of content on this website is strictly prohibited. % of people told us that this article helped them. On my BMW, there is a filler plug on the side of the transmission towards the back of the pan on the passenger side. Approved. Alternatively, if the fluid is significantly low, or if it's discolored, take your car to a mechanic to be serviced. Well, you should do the checking in both states because the fluid dilates when it is hot. so much is on the stick, a lot drips off, so it seems like too much. What do I do if my automatic transmission won't shift, but it will go in reverse? The transmission fluid dipstick looks like the engine oil dipstick. Most vehicles require the transmission to be cold when the fluid is checked, but not Honda vehicles. Once you fill to the cool mark, drive the car until the engine is warmed up along with the transmission. Either your fluid either needs to be replaced, or you have to much fluid in your transmission. Whenever you check your transmission fluid, you always want to make sure the car is warmed up since transmission fluid expands when it gets hot. Friendly professional service to all who appreciate the need of quality knowledgeable technicians. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. On a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the dipstick is usually in the rear of the engine, above the valve cover. We recommend you check the level at least once a month. The transmission fluid is stored in the transmission oil pan. If it is, take it into a mechanic. For more tips from our Mechanic co-author, like how to determine how much fluid to add, read on! Always use the transmission fluid specified by your car's manufacturer for your make and model. Yes. If you routinely drive through mountains or tow heavy trailers, you will have to have the fluid changed more frequently. Quality Auto Repair, Diesel Truck Repair, Brake Service & More, Quality Auto Repair, Diesel Truck Repair, Brake Service, DOT Inspections & More, 8 Bad Driving Habits That Ruin Your Transmission, 2 Important Keep hands away from the radiator fan. For most cars, checking the automatic transmission fluid consists of pulling the transmission dipstick out while the engine is warmed up and running and with the transmission in park. About an ounce at once is good. Fill slowly until the Hot mark shows full. Rear-wheel drive cars will have a transmission fluid dipstick closer to the passenger compartment, while front drive cars will have a transmission fluid dipstick close to the front of the car. The only thing keeping all of the very precise parts inside of the transmission lubricated is the automatic transmission fluid, and routinely checking on the level and adding fluid if it is needed is a good practice. Unlike your engine oil, transmission fluid is part of a closed system, so it should never be low. Family-Owned & -Operated Auto Repair Shop, Specializing in Auto Repair Service for Classic and Muscle Cars, as Well as Fleet, Handling Summerville Residents’ Auto Repairs Since 1996. The car must be in the air and level. During normal driving conditions, you probably can wait for your car to reach 60,000 miles, before you need to check and change the transmission fluid. Which side of the transmission is the filler plug on a 2016 diesel Mitsubishi Triton? Keep reading for detailed instructions on how to check and add fluid to your automatic transmission system. Check the fluid with the car running and on a level surface. to tell you the truth this is the only car I have ever owned that wanted the check done while the engine is off but they are out there. There are two main things about tranny fluid: Transmission fluid is checked when it's hot (up to running temperature). Your transmission fluid is what keeps the gears on your car moving smoothly. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. This is a fan requested video that I wish I’d have thought of years ago. Drive your car around the block a couple of times or 5 to 10 miles, that will get the Trans up to temp. 2. Doing this will give you an incorrect reading. The same process works in reverse as you slow down. If the fluid is below the "Add" or "Cold" line on the dipstick, add a little more at a time until it's at the correct level. You can check your transmission fluid the same way as your engine oil, except the car should be running when you do it. Check your owner's manual for when your automatic transmission fluid needs to be changed. ", "This information has given me the confidence to check my ATF. During normal driving conditions, you probably can wait for your car to reach 60,000 miles, before you need to check and change the transmission fluid. The engine in your 2011 Chevrolet Malibu should be running when you perform a transmission fluid level check, otherwise it will be inaccurate. Great People! Turn engine on to warm, then turn off. You need to check the fluid 60 seconds after the cooling fan comes on but before the 90 seconds mark. Start your car. On other models, you can check the fluid with the engine off but at operating temperature. That parts guy you spoke with is correct in that historically one does check the transmission fluid with the transmission at operating temperature and the engine running. 1. The fluid level in a manual transmission must be checked with the vehicle on a hoist to enable the technician to reach a plug in the bottom of the transmission. 2. Warning: Never check your coolant while the engine is hot. Pull out the dipstick and wipe clean. Learn about four convincing reasons to schedule your vehicle for a wheel alignment. Fluid should be at operating temp and you are expected to remove the filler plug to observe if fluid is flowing from the filler hole. If I check after the car sits overnight, only the tip of the stick is wet with the red fluid. "The video showing each step and the information giving below make it is easy and understanding. It actually works better than the usual fluids. Keep your car in park with the handbrake on while you check the transmission fluid. This article was co-authored by Mike Parra. Pop open the hood by operating a switch and keep it raised at a comfortable height. First, read your car’s manual to determine whether or not it should be running when you perform the check. For the most part, automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is checked with the transmission and fluid at normal operating temperatures. Your car's automatic transmission system is one of several hydraulic systems in your car. The fluid can be tested further by putting some on a clean paper towel and waiting 30 seconds to see if it spreads. The average car owner does not have the skills required to check the transmission fluid level. Check your owner's manual. For most cars, checking the automatic transmission fluid consists of pulling the transmission dipstick out while the engine is warmed up and running and with the transmission in park. Do not think that the transmission fluid is okay just because it isn't dark-colored. The whole transmission will be ruined. You can check your transmission fluid the same way as your engine oil, except the car should be running when you do it. Is a worn-out alternator causing your car to have issues? The manufacturer just doesn't tell you this because they want you to spend your money on the overpriced fluids. Depending on the manufacturer, it could be as high as $3500.00. A dangerous (scalding hot fluid and exhaust pipe on the V8) and messy procedure. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. The brakes in your car play an important role in the safety of your vehicle. You can check your car … If you look at your owner’s manual it should and probably say to check it warm and car running. On a vehicle with front-wheel drive, the dipstick is usually in the front of the engine and is connected to the transaxle, sticking straight up out of the transmission. When it is an automatic car, there is a confusion about whether to check transmission fluid hot or cold. 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