How Do I Check My Transmission Fluid Level?

By Mister Transmission

If your vehicle is experiencing any issues, such as hesitating when it shifts gears or if it makes noises while shifting, you don’t necessarily have to get a new transmission. It could be as straightforward as just checking your ATF, or Automatic Transmission Fluid.

Your transmission depends entirely on this distinctive fluid, hence a low fluid level can have a disastrous effect on transmission operation. We recommend you check the level at least once a month. This will enable you to catch a slow fluid leak you may not know you had potentially saving a lot of money in damaged transmission parts. Your car’s owners manual should provide a detailed description on how check your transmission fluid level. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, here’s the basic procedure that will work on just about any car that has a transmission dipstick.

WARNING: Checking the transmission fluid level requires working under the hood of your car with the engine running. This can be very dangerous if you aren’t careful. Watch out for moving components, such as fans, fan belts, pulleys, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with this procedure, always take your car to your local service station to have the transmission fluid checked.

  1. Make sure your car is on level ground.
  2. Start the engine (and don’t turn it off until finished!)
  3. Bring the engine and transmission to normal operating temperature.
  4. Hold your foot on the brake, and work the shifter slowly through the gears.
  5. Put the shifter all the way back into park.
  6. Set the parking brake.
  7. Carefully open the hood.
  8. Find the transmission dipstick.*
  9. Remove the dipstick, and wipe it off with a clean rag or paper towel.
  10. Slide the dipstick all the way back down into the transmission fill tube.
  11. Pull the dipstick back out, and check the fluid level against the markings on the end of the dipstick. (It should be pinkish & almost clear but if it smells burnt or has particles in it, have a mechanic drain and change it).
  12. If the transmission fluid is clear but doesn’t reach the “Full” line on the dipstick, use a funnel to pour just enough transmission fluid down the dipstick tube to reach the line. Don’t overfill!

REMEMBER: Always use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer (see ‘Choosing the Right Transmission Fluid’). Also, if the transmission requires more than a quart, or is using fluid regularly, take your car in to have it checked for leaks.

If you’re ever unsure of the procedure or where to find the transmission dipstick, check with your local Mister Transmission shop. They’ll be happy to show you where the dipstick is, and how to check the fluid level.

LASTLY: Unfortunately, in recent years, many manufacturers have started to eliminate the transmission fluid dipstick. Referred to as sealed units, these transmissions require a much more involved process to check fluid levels than in days gone by. The process often involves electronic testing devices, such as a computer scan tool. This puts checking the transmission fluid level beyond the capabilities of the average car owner. So if your car doesn’t have a dipstick, you should have your local transmission shop or dealership check the transmission fluid level at least a couple times a year, even if you don’t notice a problem with transmission operation.

A FOOTNOTE: It’s also worth mentioning that a faulty transmission and one that’s just low on fluid share many of the same symptoms. But obviously, adding transmission fluid is a lot cheaper than replacing the whole transmission system! Either way, we’re always here to help in any way we can.

*Rear wheel drive vehicles — the dipstick will usually be on the passenger’s side of the engine compartment, near the back of the engine.

Front wheel drive vehicles — the dipstick will usually be on the driver’s side of the vehicle, on either side of the transmission.

Visit your nearest Mister Transmission location today!

10827km away
 
  • 15903 Stony Plain Rd. NW
  • Edmonton, AB
  • T5P 3Z7
  • 587-786-6465

Contact your nearest
Mister Transmission location today!

Click here to browse all Mister Transmission locations.

image-reviews image-reviews
Customer Reviews
Excellent! Cory there will take...
Marc Koechl
Excellent! Cory there will take care of anything you need that's transmission related. Excellent customer service!
Date: November 24, 2020
Website: Google
Steve is a great guy!!...
Frank S
Steve is a great guy!! very professional and honest, he knows his stuff and steered me in the right direction. Thank you very much for the great work you do!.. it's hard to find shops like this anymore.
Date: November 24, 2020
Website: Google
"Very honest in appraisal of...
Lino D'Agnone
"Very honest in appraisal of repair required and took the time to explain."
Date: November 23, 2020
Website: Google
Great service. Very Friendly
Casey Stevenson
Great service. Very Friendly
Date: November 23, 2020
Website: Google
Dealt with Jim he knows...
DAVID McQuarrie
Dealt with Jim he knows his stuff answer all my questions told me a few things I wasnt even aware of fixed a issue that no one would even touch even the dealer themselves vehicle was repaired and back to me in no time bill was more then reasonable I would recommend them to anyone no issues what so ever
Date: November 21, 2020
Website: Google
My VW Golf transmission was...
Steve Pearce
My VW Golf transmission was slipping, after going to 6 different mechanics and transmission places i ended up talking to Steve, He said to bring the car in the next morning. I was there on time and Steve had a hoist empty for my appointment. They put the car on the hoist and topped up the transmission fluid. They didn't try to sell me anything or tell me there were other things wrong with the transmission. I will not hesitate to take my car there if i have a future problem with it.
Date: November 21, 2020
Website: Google
The staff were friendly and...
Cameron Anderson
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, and now my transmission is running better than it did before it started slipping. I was provided a courtesy car while mine was out of commission, and that meant I didn’t miss any work shifts. The warranty provided also helps give me a piece of mind that they stand behind their work.
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
Loved this place... Can't remember...
Samet Bayat
Loved this place... Can't remember the last time I have had a great service
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
I highly recommend Mr.T Kanata!...
K Mehv
I highly recommend Mr.T Kanata! Andrew is a true gentleman. His service was honest and professional. Will gladly take my Fiat back to this shop for any future diagnostics and servicing. A++
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
Good place you can trust
Gn Ma
Good place you can trust
Date: November 20, 2020
Website: Google
Featured Services
Transmission Repair

The evolution of transmissions has made these machines and systems increasingly complex. When transmission repairs are required, determining the cause and cure for what ails can be tricky.

Read More
Transmission Technology

At Mister Transmission we have access to leading-edge diagnostic equipment, enabling us to offer you the fastest and most accurate findings about what’s going on inside your vehicle’s transmission.

Read More
Transmission Maintenance & Service

Just as you have other parts of your car serviced, your transmission needs maintenance to ensure a long life and avoid transmission problems.

Read More
Recent Blogs
5 Tips For Transmission Maintenance
Good transmission maintenance practices mean the difference between years of
Read More
November 25, 2020
Are CVT Transmission’s Difficult T...
You’ve heard of automatic transmissions. You’ve heard of manual transmissions.
Read More
November 18, 2020
How To fix A Slipping Transmission
What is the fix for a slipping transmission? It’s simple. Just pop the hood of your
Read More
November 12, 2020
What Are The Indications Of A Bad Torque...
The torque converter is an integral part of the transmission. However, torque
Read More
October 19, 2020
“What Transmission Do I Have?̶...
On this site you will see terms like “transmission overhaul”, “solenoid
Read More
October 5, 2020
How Do You Rebuild A Transmission?
The decision to rebuild a transmission is not to be taken lightly. While a
Read More
September 30, 2020
4 Things A Transmission Shop Can Do For ...
Transmission shops look after your transmission to ensure it runs as efficiently and
Read More
August 28, 2020
How Can You Tell Transmission Problems A...
The first step in solving any problem is to correctly identify its cause. The same is
Read More
August 21, 2020
What Are The Most Common Transmission Re...
Transmissions are incredibly intricate pieces of machinery. There’s a lot that goes
Read More
August 14, 2020
What Are The Benefits Of Transmission Se...
Just as humans have to see the doctor regularly, automobiles also need regular
Read More
August 7, 2020