Transmission fluid plays a very important role in the proper functioning of your car. In this guide, we shall focus on how to check transmission fluid. Many car owners can check their power steering fluid, oil etc, but they can’t figure out how to check transmission fluid.
Before I show you how to check transmission fluid, let’s briefly consider signs of a low transmission fluid. So if you see these signs, you should know that your transmission fluid is low.
Signs Of Low Transmission Fluid
The following are the signs of a low transmission fluid in a car:
If your automobile slips out of gear every time you shift, you’re dealing with car transmission sliding. This problem is also characterized by abrupt up and down shifts, spikes in RPMs before changing, unusual grinding noises, and irregular shifts. All of these signs point to a lack of transmission fluid and the possibility of overheating. These events could also suggest that crucial friction materials and transmission bands are unable to properly engage a gear, implying that the system has already suffered severe damage.
If you lose power, see smoke coming from your automobile, smell a burning odor, or notice irregular shifts, pull over immediately. All of these symptoms indicate that your transmission has overheated as a result of a lack of fluid. If you keep driving when this happens, you’ll end up with catastrophic internal damage.
Delayed Gear Engagement
When you shift into Drive or Reverse when you’re short on transmission fluid, you’ll notice a notable pause (2 to 3 seconds). This occurs because the hydraulic pressure required to initiate the gear change is insufficient.
Inconsistencies in your shifts are another sign of low fluid. If your shifts are delayed, sped up, or slamming, you’ll know they’re irregular. Inconsistencies in shift time and smoothness are caused by a shortage of fluid.
Unable To Shift
Your automobile will not shift at all if your transmission fluid is set to “E.” To temporarily solve the situation, fill the reservoir with the appropriate fluid.
After seeing the signs Of low transmission fluid, we now want to consider how to check transmission fluid in a car.
How To Check Transmission Fluid
Automatic transmissions require specially designed transmission fluid in the same way that your engine uses oil to lubricate and cool its internals. Transmission fluid is used differently in conventional automatic gearboxes, dual-clutch automatic transmissions, and continuously variable automatic transmissions. Consult your owner’s manual if you’re not sure which fluid your transmission uses; transmission-fluid needs are usually stated in the specifications section.
You don’t need to be a mechanic to examine the condition of your vehicle’s transmission; a quick visual inspection will suffice. You’ll need to check your transmission fluid level and condition.
Look For The Dipstick In Your Car Engine
To begin, find the transmission dipstick in the engine compartment, which can be found beneath the hood. Make sure you’re looking for the transmission dipstick, not the engine oil dipstick; the transmission dipstick is normally closer to the firewall in the engine compartment (the bulkhead at the front of the cabin). The transmission dipstick is usually colored or marked with a transmission symbol.
Don’t panic if you can’t find the dipstick. Many current automobiles feature a sealed-for-life transmission that never needs to be checked or replaced, therefore there is no need for a dipstick. (Check your owner’s manual for your model’s exact service schedule, as well as whether or not it has a transmission dipstick.)
You can slam the hood shut and drive if your vehicle has a sealed transmission. If your car does, however, have a transmission dipstick, follow these steps:
Checking Fluid Level
Allow the car to idle in park on a level surface once the engine has warmed up. Draw out the dipstick, clean it, slowly reinstall it, and then pull it out again. Compare the fluid level—how high the fluid rises on the dipstick—to the dipstick’s “full” and “low” or “fill” indications.
Checking Fluid Condition
To examine the color of the fluid, place the dipstick on a white surface, such as a paper towel. The color of your transmission fluid—and, to a degree, the transmission itself—indicates the state of your transmission. If your fluid is in good shape, it should be reddish-pink in color; if it has to be replaced, it will be brownish red. If the fluid is dark brown or black, there’s a good chance you’ll have to replace more than just your fluid.
Dark fluid with a burnt odor is bad news; in the worst-case scenario, small metal shavings may be found in the fluid. Both of these symptoms indicate that your transmission’s internal components may have been damaged. This is frequently the result of failing to replace the transmission fluid at the required service period, but a transmission, like any other component on the vehicle, could have a premature mechanical issue.
If Fluid Is Low?
If your fluid level is low, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed, but it does indicate that there’s a leak somewhere in the system. Filling the transmission with gas and checking it regularly to see how rapidly the level drops can help determine the severity of a potential leak.
Visually inspect your transmission by searching under the car for any fluid leaking from it. Is there any reddish fluid on the ground after the automobile has been parked? It’s engine oil if the fluid is black. If there’s water on the floor, it’s most likely condensation from the air conditioner.
If you detect any transmission fluid loss or that your transmission is utilizing an unusual amount of fluid, get in touch with a professional right once. As a first step, we recommend visiting a reliable car dealer that sells and services your vehicle. Its service department will have the most experience with your make and model and may have already encountered this problem. Allow the car to sit until it can be inspected if you have the luxury of doing so.
A transmission-fluid replacement, contrary to what some internet mechanics may claim, will not ruin an older vehicle’s aged transmission. When a transmission experiences problems following fluid replacement, it’s usually because there was an internal issue, such as a worn clutch pack. If your gearbox is in good shape, a new fluid replacement will only help it last longer.
If your transmission fluid is low and needs to be topped up, you may usually do so using the same tube that the dipstick goes into. A funnel with a narrow—and most likely long—spout will be required to add fluid (which is available at auto parts stores).
A transmission, like any other machine, requires regular maintenance to function as intended by the manufacturer. Take care of your transmission, and it will take care of you, as the saying goes.
How many quarts of transmission fluid Should I Add To My Car?
Most passenger vehicles require 12 to 16 quarts of transmission fluid, however the type and amount required depends on the vehicle model. While many vehicles come equipped with a dipstick for checking the gearbox fluid, others do not. These autos must be lifted levelly and the fluid level checked from beneath the vehicle. 4 to 5 quarts of transmission fluid should be enough to replace what was lost from the pan during a transmission service where the pan is dropped and the filter is replaced. If you have to replenish transmission fluid on a regular basis owing to a leaky seal, the vehicle should be evaluated by a competent transmission mechanic.
How To Add Transmission Fluid
Vehicles that have dipstick can easily be filled through the dipstick using a funnel and pouring the fluid in gradually. To accurately assess the level, the vehicle should be warmed up to operating temperature and parked levelly when in park or neutral. The purpose of preheating the car is to allow the petroleum-based fluid to expand to its maximum capacity. Vehicles without dipsticks, as previously stated, will require lifting to level the car. You’ll also need to locate the fill plug, and like a differential plug, you’ll need to pour enough fluid until it leaks lightly from the fill plug port hole. Only qualified transmission technicians should service sealed transmissions without a dipstick or fill plug.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should transmission fluid be changed?
If you operate a manual transmission, most manufacturers recommend changing the fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you have an automatic transmission, you can usually increase the range to 60,000 to 100,000 miles. It’s not a bad idea to change your fluid as soon as possible.
What does transmission fluid do in car?
It not only lubricates the moving parts in an automatic gearbox, but it also provides hydraulic pressure and friction to make the internal parts work. Transmission fluid, which is used in both manual and automatic gearboxes, aids in keeping the transmission cool.
What happens if transmission fluid is low?
When your transmission fluid level is low, your car’s hydraulic pressure is reduced, resulting in gear slippage. The difficulty to accelerate properly is a common symptom of gear slippage. You may notice your vehicle reaching high RPMs when going slowly if your transmission fluid is low.
Can you just add transmission fluid?
Yes, by inserting a funnel into the tube from which the dipstick was removed and pouring a little amount of automatic transmission fluid into the pipe, you can add more. Each time you add a little, check the level to make sure it’s precisely between the two lines.
How much is transmission fluid change?
A dealer, service shop, or independent mechanic can change your fluid for anywhere between $80 and $250. Both automatic and manual transmissions cost roughly $100 on average. Every time the fluid is changed, we recommend replacing the filter and cleaning the pan.
How much is a bottle of transmission fluid?
Most transmission fluids cost between $8 and $20 per quart, and most cars require 5 to 15 quarts ($40 to $300). What exactly is this? You should also replace the filter and, in some cases, the pan gasket while changing the transmission fluid.
Can a transmission flush hurt your transmission?
Almost every car manufacturer advises against using transmission cleansing chemicals, and the majority of them will void your transmission warranty if they can prove you used them. Because these compounds can harm your transmission, most automakers advise against using them.