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

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Customer Reviews
I recently went in to...
Kyle Andree
I recently went in to see dez for a transmission in a 90's silverado. After he rebuilt the transmission he called me toTell me i needed a new shifter cable.i told him I didn't care about the new cable but he threw the cable in for free. Definitely good service and the price was very good too
Date: May 15, 2022
Website: Google
I went in to set...
Blue
I went in to set up an appointment for them to see what exactly was wrong with my car, because they were busy and couldn’t see to my car they wanted to know what they were dealing with.When they saw my car Bob the chap I was dealing with advised me against driving it any further until repairs were done.I could have had a terrible accident and my car could have been totalled.If I need anything done to my car and they can do it , I’m going to them.
Date: May 14, 2022
Website: Google
I went in to set...
Blue
I went in to set up an appointment for them to see what exactly was wrong with my car, because they were busy and couldn’t see to my car they wanted to know what they were dealing with.When they saw my car Bob the chap I was dealing with advised me against driving it any further until repairs were done.I could have had a terrible accident and my car could have been totalled.If I need anything done to my car and they can do it , I’m going to them.
Date: May 14, 2022
Website: Google
The staff and franchise owner...
Marty Roberts
The staff and franchise owner are trustworthy and professional. Service is excellent, being in the automotive business I have used Mister Transmission in Peterborough more than once with positive results.
Date: May 13, 2022
Website: Google
Always A1 service
Pat Pickles
Always A1 service
Date: May 13, 2022
Website: Google
I've had a great experience...
Peter Prudencio
I've had a great experience with this local auto shop: Giorgio is a fantastic business owner, with an honest and reliable work ethic, favouring and fostering long-term relationships with his customers, and offering very fair prices compared to larger dealerships and other shops. Comes strongly recommended by my neighbours, and I would vouch for his excellent quality of service as another witness to his workmanship.
Date: May 13, 2022
Website: Google
Gus is very professional, honest...
Karen Dyer
Gus is very professional, honest and his customer service is amazing. He explained everything to me so I knew exactly what he had done. I would recommend him to anyone
Date: May 12, 2022
Website: Google
The gentleman at Mister Transmission...
Marcus W.
The gentleman at Mister Transmission was incredibly helpful and professional. He looked at my car and diagnosed that the problem wasn't the transmission itself, but likely the transmission computer.  He then helped me contact the dealer to confirm that the model had been having problems.  Rather than charging me for the repairs, he worked with me to get me the best deal.  He put the customer ahead of the bottom line, and I couldn't be more grateful for his work ethic.
Date: May 12, 2022
Website: Yelp
These guys are very helpful,...
M Rashid
These guys are very helpful, I did not have any work done here but he still helped me on phone and answer my questions about transmission in the car I was going to buy.
Date: May 11, 2022
Website: Google
Best transmission shop ever !...
Dan Holliday
Best transmission shop ever ! Honest and friendly service, definitely would recommend to anyone in need of transmission work !
Date: May 10, 2022
Website: Google
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