If you’re wondering how to check your transmission fluid, you’ll be relieved to learn that, like checking your car’s oil, it’s a quick and easy maintenance task. Nevertheless, learning how to keep tabs on your transmission’s fluid level can save you headaches in the future. Fluid level checks give you a good idea of how the transmission is performing and whether the fluid needs topped up.
Checking Transmission Fluid: Step-by-Step
Many newer vehicles have sealed transmissions, which means you can’t access the transmission the old-fashioned way. In this case, fluid checks and changes generally have to be completed at a South Jersey-area service center by a professional. If you car doesn’t have a sealed transmission, follow these steps to check the fluid:
- First, turn the engine on for a few minutes before proceeding and allow it to warm up. Ensure the car is in park, then open the hood.
- Next, find the transmission fluid dipstick. Usually, it’s found to the right of the oil dipstick inside front-wheel drive cars. If you can’t find it, check your owner’s manual.
- Take the dipstick out and examine the fluid. It should be clear with a pink hue. Schedule an appointment at a service center you trust if the fluid smells burnt or is discolored.
- Use a clean rag to wipe the fluid off of the dipstick. Reinsert it back into its slot. Then, remove it once again and check the level. If the fluid line is under the “Full” marking, it’s time to top up.
- Use a funnel to add a little bit of fluid at a time until the fluid line reaches the “Full” marking. Make sure you don’t overfill.
How Often Do You Check Your Transmission Fluid?
Generally, it’s a good idea to check your car’s transmission fluid on a monthly basis. You’ll also want to check your power steering fluid and engine oil. While these maintenance tasks may seem inconsequential, they help you get the most mileage possible from your vehicle. Again, if you have questions about your car’s maintenance schedule, review your owner’s manual for more information.
Transmission Fluid: What to Keep in Mind
As you incorporate transmission fluid checks into your car’s at-home maintenance schedule, keep the following points in mind:
- There are many different types of transmission fluid, including special types for manual and automatic transmissions. Your owner’s manual will tell you which fluid is right for your car.
- If your vehicle hesitates before shifting gears, low transmission fluid could be to blame. It could also be an indicator of a bigger issue. Check the transmission fluid level, but schedule service as soon as you can if it’s full.
- Transmission fluid replacement is usually recommended every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Of course, this depends on your driving habits, type of transmission, and more. Check your owner’s manual or speak with a service technician you trust to find out what the appropriate interval is for your car.
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