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
Took my 2012 Nissan Altima...
Jasbir Singh
Took my 2012 Nissan Altima to the dealer in Mississauga because the car wouldn't pick up speed properly. They said the transmission needed replacing and gave me an estimate that was really expensive. Another customer in the waiting area at the dealer recommended I try Mister Transmission so I called the store in Brampton because it was close to my work. I am very glad I did. They fixed my problem for a lot less and they were very professional in explaining what was wrong. I picked up my car 3 days ago and it is working great now. Thank you Mister Transmission.
Date: September 20, 2020
Website: Google
Great place. Fast delivery on...
Christine Dickson
Great place. Fast delivery on parts.
Date: September 19, 2020
Website: Google
My truck transmission blew out...
J
My truck transmission blew out on a Saturday morning, I contacted them early afternoon. Mark (owner)told me best to get it towed asap to the shop,which I did.He contacted me on the Monday and informed me the damages.Was a major rebuild.On the following Friday the truck was ready and drove like new.They contacted several times informing me about prices,very professional and knowledgeable. Always answered my questions and the price was amazing compared to anyone out there.I wouldn't hesitate to send anyone to this place,top notch service and very friendly service!!
Date: September 19, 2020
Website: Google
If your looking for the...
S OB
If your looking for the best service and work ethic, in Alberta, these guys are it. Transmission shops are notorious for bad reputations. I own a 2003 custom land rover and trust it with basically no one but these guys now. I waited for 3yrs to find the right people to do the work. They not only did what I asked, but way over and above. Mel is an absolute pleasure to deal with.I was referred to Excel by Family that own Popo and Sons on Lacombe. Best advice in yrs.
Date: September 19, 2020
Website: Google
Excellent service
Michael Gardner
Excellent service
Date: September 18, 2020
Website: Google
Was convinced I had a...
Jonathan Campbell
Was convinced I had a transmission failure and was prepared for a big bill but they spent the time to diagnose that it wasn't transmission related. Let me know where to go with no charge. Very honest.
Date: September 17, 2020
Website: Google
Called Friday afternoon and booked...
Clarence Benson
Called Friday afternoon and booked me in for 8am Monday.👍
Date: September 17, 2020
Website: Google
I remember my father always...
Chris W.
I remember my father always saying go to Mr. transmission and luckily for me I didn’t need their services until 20 years later.They’re still solid, knowledgeable, professional & very helpful. Steve offered recommendations but wasn’t trying to sell or push services on me. Will return in the future.
Date: September 15, 2020
Website: Google
Gary at North Bay transmission...
Colleen Whalley
Gary at North Bay transmission was amazing. My 2016 Rogue had some major issues. He was able to find a second hand one. These are common issues with the Nissans CVT transmissions. Which after speaking with Nissan doesn't seem to be a concern. Repairs all total $7600 plus rental $575. Gary ensured that i received their rate from Enterprise. It was suspected that the awd unit had leaks/issues. When I went back for the 10 day check after repair. It was confirmed the awd needed some repair. When I brought it back in for that repair. Gary did not charge me the cost of taking the unit out again. He absorbed the almost $600 i would have been charged. I was treated with respect and fairness! Their estimatex time frames for work completion were kept. Keep up the good work Mister Transmission in North Bay!
Date: September 15, 2020
Website: Google
It is a rarity when...
Renee Lauzon
It is a rarity when you come across an honest mechanic who puts looking out for your vehicles safety and longevity as well as the the owners best interests firsthand. Although I was not happy with the news that I received from Kris (honest mechanic) he did help me get my lemon (my SUV) on the road again and even offered to inspect my next used vehicle prior to purchasing it FOR FREE!!! When was the last time you received a diagnostic check on your vehicle without having to pay?I thought Kris was a straight forward, no BS, and very kind mechanic that everyone wit a vehicle needs!!! Thank you Mister Transmission, You are my newest BFF!!!🤗
Date: September 13, 2020
Website: Google
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