How do I Check My Transmission Fluid?


Falls Church - If your car struggles to shift gears, it could signal a whole host of vehicle problems.  It could be as simple as required maintenance or running low on transmission fluid. But, it could also be a serious a mechanical issue. Because transmission fluid loses effectiveness gradually, replacing your transmission fluid regularly may lengthen the life of the transmission itself and avoid some transmission troubles.


But, before you panic, there are some simple DIY steps to self-diagnose if your transmission fluid is dirty or running low:


Step One: Locate your Transmission Fluid Tank Access

The location of your transmission fluid tank access varies from vehicle to vehicle.  In rear wheel drive cars the tank access will be towards the back of your engine, in front wheel drive it will be near the transaxle near the front of the engine.


Step Two: Check the Transmission Dipstick

Once you locate the tank access, you will see a transmission fluid dipstick.  The dipstick looks just like an oil dipstick.  Most cars have a color code system, check your manual to learn more about your particular vehicle.


Step Three: Check the Transmission Dipstick

Run your engine while your parking brake is on and the vehicle is in park or neutral.  After the engine is warm, pull the dipstick to check the fluid level.  


Step Four: Test the Transmission Fluid

Rub the fluid the transmission fluid between your finger and thumb.  If you smell something burning or there are particles present, your transmission fluid is contaminated and your need take it to your trusted auto care professional and have it changed it right away.  If this test reveals that the transmission fluid is clean, you might just be running low.


To test if you are simply out of transmission fluid, wipe the dipstick clean with a rag, reinsert it, and the check the fullness of the tank against the “full” marker on the dipstick.  If the fluid doesn't reach the "full" line you are out of transmission fluid.  You can put more fluid in the tank and test until the fluid reaches the "full" line.  


Step Five: Clean Up

Clean up and re-insert the dipstick; you are all done!


If you find your transmission fluid is dirty a Transmission Flush may be the best preventative maintenance you can do for your engine. Flushing or changing your vehicle’s transmission fluid prevents damage and can save you from a costly transmission repair or replacement in the future.  We recommend using a BG Transmission service to take out the old dirty transmission fluid and replace it with brand new fluid.


Hogan & Sons for Preventive Maintenance

Maintaining your vehicle doesn't have to be expensive.  Join the Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto list of customers raving about the Hogan & Sons experience. Call or visit one of 8 locations throughout Northern Virginia to schedule an appointment!


*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair.

Copyright 2017 - Published February 6th, 2017 Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto