How to Check Transmission Fluid: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Transmission fluid is one of the essential fluids in your vehicle that helps ensure your car runs smoothly. Checking your transmission fluid regularly can help you avoid costly repairs and extend the life of your vehicle. In this article, we will guide you on how to check your transmission fluid to help your car run smoothly.

Before You Begin

Before we get started, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Item Description
Vehicle Make sure your car engine is off and is parked on a level surface.
Transmission Ensure that your car’s transmission is cold. If you have just driven your car, let it rest for about 10 minutes to ensure the fluid has settled.
Owner’s Manual Check your car owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended transmission fluid and intervals for checking.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Check Transmission Fluid

Step 1: Locate the Transmission Fluid Dipstick

Locate your transmission fluid dipstick. It is usually located near the back of the engine, is labeled “Transmission,” and has a distinct handle color, such as yellow or red.

Step 2: Remove the Dipstick

Remove the dipstick from the transmission fluid reservoir and wipe it with a clean cloth or rag.

Step 3: Reinsert the Dipstick

Reinsert the dipstick all the way back into the reservoir.

Step 4: Remove the Dipstick Again

Remove the dipstick again and check where the fluid level is. The dipstick will have two markings – “full” and “add.”

Step 5: Inspect the Transmission Fluid

Inspect the color of the fluid on the dipstick. If it’s a healthy transmission, the fluid should be red or pink. If the fluid is dark, murky, or smells burnt, it’s time to replace it.

Step 6: Wipe the Dipstick

Wipe the dipstick clean again with a cloth or rag.

Step 7: Insert the Dipstick Again

Reinsert the dipstick back into the transmission fluid reservoir.

Step 8: Check the Fluid Again

Check the fluid level again. If the level is below the ‘add’ mark, add more fluid. Remember to add the manufacturer’s recommended fluid type a little at a time until it reaches the ‘full’ mark.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What does transmission fluid do?

A1: Transmission fluid helps keep the transmission’s moving parts lubricated, prevents overheating, and prevents corrosion and rust.

Q2: How often should you check your transmission fluid level?

A2: It is recommended to check your transmission fluid level every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Q3: How often should you change your transmission fluid?

A3: It is recommended to change your transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Q4: What happens if you overfill your transmission fluid?

A4: Overfilling your transmission fluid can cause the fluid to foam, which can lead to erratic shifting, transmission damage, and leaks.

Q5: Can I check my transmission fluid when the car is running?

A5: No, it is not recommended to check your transmission fluid when your car is running. This can cause hot transmission fluid to splash out and cause injury.

Q6: What should I do if I notice my transmission fluid is low?

A6: If you notice that your transmission fluid is low, add the recommended type and amount of fluid to reach the ‘full’ mark. If you continue to have problems, have your car checked by a licensed mechanic.

Q7: What is the difference between dipstick transmission fluid and sealed transmission fluid?

A7: A dipstick fluid is easily accessible, while sealed transmission fluid requires a licensed mechanic to check the fluid level with special tools.


In conclusion, regularly checking your transmission fluid and maintaining the appropriate level ensures the longevity of your vehicle. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on when and how to check your transmission fluid. If you detect any irregularities, seek help from a licensed mechanic immediately.


Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Always consult your owner’s manual and seek help from a licensed mechanic for professional automobile services.