How to Check Transmission Fluid

Transmission Fluid Change

Knowing how to regularly check your transmission fluid helps prevent maintenance issues before becoming more serious. Your car’s transmission propels it forward, which is why you want to state updated on routine maintenance like the transmission fluid. Not sure how to measure the transmission fluid in your new or pre-owned vehicle? That’s okay — we have your guide below on how to check the transmission fluid. Feel free to contact our service department if you have any questions.



Checking Transmission Fluid: Step-by-Step Guide 

Follow these steps below:

  1. Turn the engine on for a few minutes before proceeding, but the engine should be warmed up to properly check the level. Your car should be parked before getting out and opening the hood.
  2. Find the transmission fluid dipstick. On front-wheel-drive cars, it’s usually located to the right of the oil dipstick. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual if you’re having trouble finding it.
  3. Remove the dipstick and touch the fluid, moving it about between your thumb and forefinger. The fluid should be almost clear, with a pink hue. If it looks dirty or gives off a burnt smell, take it to a service center for replacement.
  4. Use a rag to wipe off the dipstick. Then insert it back into the vehicle. Pull it out again and check the level. If it’s under the “Full” marking, more fluid is required.
  5. Use a funnel to bring the fluid level up to the right spot. Don’t overfill it.

Checking the Fluid in a Sealed Transmission 

If there’s no dipstick under the hood, the car could be equipped with a sealed transmission. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be accessed, it means there’s no dipstick to measure the transmission fluid. If this is the case, bring your vehicle to our service center to have a technician check the transmission fluid level.

When to Check the Fluid in a Sealed Transmission 

The purpose of a sealed transmission is to restrict the amount of wasted transmission fluid, saving you money. Issues can still arise, and the fluid needs to get replaced. Watch out for these red flags indicating there’s an issue with your sealed transmission:

  • You can hear strange noises when the gears change. 
  • The gears hesitate before changing. 
  • During acceleration, there’s a noticeable delay when the gears shift.

How Often Do You Check Your Transmission Fluid?

The transmission fluid levels should get checked monthly. You’ll also want to check your transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and engine oil. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for a specific maintenance schedule.

Transmission Fluid Basics

It’s no secret that your transmission is one of the most complex parts of your car. Before checking your transmission fluid, explore these tips:

  • Not all transmission fluid is the same, with different types for recent models, manual transmissions, and automatic transmissions. Your car’s owner’s manual will recommend a particular type of transmission fluid.
  • Checking the fluid on a manual transmission usually requires a jack to access a plug found beneath the car. A visit to our service center near Bartow is more convenient for most drivers.
  • If your vehicle hesitates before shifting gears, this can be due to low transmission fluid. However, it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. Check the fluid level first, and if it’s okay, schedule a service appointment with us today.
  • It’s recommended to replace your transmission fluid every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. The actual amount depends on your driving habits, type of transmission, and other factors. 

Get More Service Tips at Kelley Automotive Group!

If you need assistance with your transmission fluid or need additional service tips to keep your vehicle performing at its best, we have you covered! Don’t hesitate to reach out to our service center with questions or to schedule an appointment.

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