How to check your transmission fluid level

If your vehicle has problems, such as hesitating when shifting gears or making noises while shifting, you don’t necessarily need to replace the transmission. It could be as simple as checking your ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid).

A low fluid level can have major ramifications for transmission performance because your transmission is fully dependent on this specific fluid. You must check the level at least once a month. This can help you detect a sluggish fluid leak that you weren’t aware of before, potentially saving you a lot of money on transmission parts replacement. A thorough description of how to check the fluid level in your transmission should be included in your vehicle’s owner’s handbook. If you don’t have access to an owner’s handbook, try this simple procedure on practically any vehicle with a gearbox dipstick.

Steps to Check Transmission Fluid Level

Like the oil dipstick, the transmission fluid dipstick measures the amount of transmission fluid in your car. Transmission dipsticks test the transmission fluid level in your vehicle, whereas oil dipsticks assess the amount of engine oil in your car. Low fluid levels are a common source of transmission difficulties, so keep that in mind. If the fluid level is low, there is almost certainly a leak that must be located and repaired as quickly as possible by a professional. If more fluid is required, make sure the reservoir is not overfilled. Overfilling transmission fluid can cause it to froth, causing transmission pressure to rise and fluid to leak out of a vent or seal.

  • Ensure your vehicle is on level ground.
  • Start the car (and don’t stop till you’ve finished!)
  • Raise the engine and transmission temperatures to typical operating temperatures.
  • Keep your feet on the brake and use the shifter to shift through the gears slowly.
  • Return the shifter to the original park position.
  • Apply the parking brake on the vehicle.
  • Carefully open the hood.
  • Look for the transmission dipstick.
  • After removing the dipstick, wipe it clean with a clean rag or paper towel.
  • Return the dipstick all the way down to the gearbox fill tube.
  • Put the dipstick in its original position and check the fluid level against the dipstick’s marks. 
  • If the fluid is clear but not quite up to the “Full” line on the dipstick, so, use a funnel to pour just enough transmission fluid down the tube to get it there. But, don’t fill the container to the very top!

Bottom Line

If you decide to add more fluid, keep in mind that there are a variety of transmission fluids available. You should utilize the type recommended in your owner’s manual for best results. Before you go out and get the new fluid, double-check this.

If you notice indicators that your fluid needs to be changed, and you’ve never done so before, bringing it in might be the best option. Make an appointment at Cottman Transmission today to have your fluid replaced before you have any further troubles or significant problems with your car!