Transmissions are one of the most expensive parts in the car, and though they are fairly low maintenance, it is also the number one reason for negligence towards them from most car owners. Take care of your transmission; in return, it will take care of your car. Read this blog to learn how to check transmission fluid levels and other factors that decide if your vehicle needs a top-up. 

How to Check Transmission Fluid Levels?

Checking transmission fluid is fairly simple and won’t take much effort. You can follow the below steps and be done with them in less than fifteen minutes. 

Transmission check can be done due to low performance of the vehicle. Some people wonder if low engine oil impacts transmission of the vehicle. Well, that’s something we’ve already answered on our website.

Step 1: If your engine is cold, it is good to take your car out for a spin. A ten-minute drive would be more than enough for your engine to warm up. Make sure you shift through all the gears at least once so that your transmission spends some time in each gear range, giving you a more accurate reading. 

Step 2: Park your car on an even surface, put it in “Park” or neutral, and don’t turn off your engine. Keep it running. 

Step 3: Pop open your hood and find the transmission dipstick. If you don’t already know where the stick is located, open up your owner’s manual and find it out. 

In general, an in-line engine has the dipstick towards the passenger side, much nearer to the engine, while a rear-wheel drive should have it near the driver’s side, which is closer to the transmission.

It is a rookie mistake to have located the transmission dipstick and not the engine-oil dipstick. Make sure that you don’t make the same lapse. 

(Note- If you can’t find the dipstick for your transmission fluid, do not worry. Some of the latest vehicles come with a “sealed” transmission which does not need to be checked as often. 

These sealed transmissions can and should only be checked by trained professionals who will use computers and electronic devices in garages to check fluid levels.) 

Step 4: Once the dipstick is found, rotate the handle and take it out slowly. Use a clean rag to clean the dipstick and put it back in the oil pan. Make sure that you have inserted the stick properly till the end. 

Step 5: Take the dipstick out of the pan and check the fluid level on the stick. There should be two stick markings, usually “Max” and “Min”. 

Depending on these markings, you will have to decide if your transmission fluid needs a top. 

How to Know If I Need to Change the Transmission Fluid?

Transmission is an active component to ensure your engine works as effectively and efficiently as needed. 

For vehicles with automatic transmission, it not just acts as a lubricant but also as a coolant and helps with the flow of power from the engine to the transmission. 

And for the transmission fluid to do its job, car owners should keep an eye on the condition of the fluid. On inspection, if the transmission fluid in your vehicle checks all of the below-mentioned facts, you have no reasons to worry. 

You will have to get your hands a little dirty for this part. Get a pair of gloves if you don’t want your hands oily and smelling like motor oil for the rest of your day. 

Consistency

With time and use, transmission fluid is expected to turn slightly more viscous than usual. You need to look for particles that should not be there in the transmission fluid, like metal shavings or any other pollutants. 

If there are metal shavings in your fluid, we recommend that you visit your garage immediately and replace the oil.

Colour

New transmission fluid is usually red, which will turn darker in color after a while. If your fluid has turned brown or black, you should get it checked. 

Smell

Most car enthusiasts ignore how their transmission fluid smells but, in reality, it is an important factor to see if everything is in order. If the fluid smells burnt, you need to visit a professional to see if the internal parts of your transmission have not been damaged. 

Noise

If you are experiencing any unwanted noise whenever you shift your gear, this might be a sign to get your oil and your transmission checked by a professional mechanic. 

Performance

If you are having trouble with the performance of your car, it isn’t reaching high speeds as quickly as it used to be. Your transmission might not be able to move power from your engine effectively, and this is a reason important enough to change your transmission fluid. 

How to Add Transmission Oil at Home? 

Changing transmission fluid becomes easier if you check transmission fluid levels. And if you are checking the fluid level, you are already halfway through the process.

The most important thing in this process is to ensure that you have a funnel to refill the fluid so that you don’t spill the fluid on other parts of your engine. 

Different types of vehicles are designed to be used with different transmission fluids. You can look for the recommended type by your manufacturer in the owner’s manual. Just if you’re thinking to use motor oil instead of transmission fluid, THINK TWICE!!!

Step 1: Rotate and open the dipstick from the transmission fluid pan. 

Step 2: Dipsticks are very fragile. Place them properly on the side of your engine or on the floor. 

Step 3: Put a long neck funnel on the fluid pan.

Step 4: Add a little fluid at a time and put the dipstick back in its place to check the level. If the level is still low, add some more to the pan. 

Step 5: Once you have reached the required level, put the dipstick back and seal it off properly. 

How often should I Check Transmission Oil? 

Checking Transmission fluid should be a routine you perform depending on how often you use your vehicle. Factors like driving style, transmission type, and the weather should also be considered. 

The fluid should be changed around fifty to seventy thousand kilometers.

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