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
Great place. Awesome service and...
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Great place. Awesome service and friendly staff. I'm back on the road again!
Date: March 4, 2021
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The mechanics and staff at...
Gus Volpe
The mechanics and staff at Xpert are awesome. They really check your car over and the work is always well done. I would recommend xPert to anyone looking for professional and reliable service.
Date: March 3, 2021
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This is the second time...
Kristian M
This is the second time I've visited Mr. Transmission. I originally contacted the location at jane and lawrence who advised they were swamped but put me in touch with someone at the Queensway location. Just as the previous experience, I have nothing but positive things to say. I would greatly recommend this location to anyone in need of automotive repairs.
Date: March 2, 2021
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Amazing service! Very friendly, and...
Joanne Wittick
Amazing service! Very friendly, and stayed in contact with me every step of the way. Couldn't beat the pricing and timing was second to none. Al and his staff are fantastic people. I would recommend Mr. Transmission on Essa Rd to anybody. In fact I already sent my boyfriend there and he is just as impressed with their service, professionalism, pricing and timing. Very happy I chose to go here!!
Date: March 2, 2021
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Chris was fantastic in walking...
Hubert Miller
Chris was fantastic in walking me thru the process. Straight up and honest.I am in the auto business have been repairing transmissions for years and have had some horror stories with costly bills.Not in this case. Fair and accurate.
Date: March 1, 2021
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Competitive pricing very straight forward...
Zakieh Accoumeh
Competitive pricing very straight forward easyto deal with
Date: February 28, 2021
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Honest knowledgeable friendly if you...
Albert Karadza
Honest knowledgeable friendly if you need transmission work don't go anywhere else those guys are the best
Date: February 28, 2021
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Dustin and Rory are honest...
Zakieh Accoumeh
Dustin and Rory are honest and take great care of their clients
Date: February 28, 2021
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Honest
Leonard Yamniuk
Honest
Date: February 28, 2021
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Very impressed by Cecil and...
J A
Very impressed by Cecil and his crew. Took my 2006 Jeep Cherokee in for fuel injector issues and had it running like a dream in no time. Finding a good mechanic that you can trust and won't take you to the cleaners is important to me. I'll get my jeep done here from now on. Shout out to Fab for taking care of my baby.
Date: February 28, 2021
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