Transmission: Checking the Transmission Fluid


When your cars transmission fluid is low or in need of replacement, damage could possibly have already occurred to the transmission, which is why regular fluid checks are essential for car care. Transmission fluid is essential in lubricating and cooling parts in the gear box of the car. Changing the transmission fluid is not necessary to replace as often as the cars motor oil, ever 2 years or 50,000 miles is the typical recommendation.


A complete inspection is the appropriate first step in checking the transmission fluid. At first look, the transmission fluid should be a bright red color with a somewhat sweet smell to it. If the transmission fluid is low it could be the result of a leak. Check the line that runs to the bottom of the radiator. If there is a leak there, you absolutely must find where the leak is coming from and repair it or replace the part. A local car repair shop can quickly locate the leak and diagnose the situation.


The type of transmission fluid requires varies per car, but the owners manual should let you know the type your particular car requires.  You will need a fluid pump (relatively inexpensive at a car repair and parts store.) You will then need a jack to lift the car and necessary wrenches and other tools.


You will need to start the engine and allow it to heat up appropriately for a few minutes. A quick 10-15 minute around your neighborhood could heat it up well enough. After the cars’ transmission is heated up appropriately, you’ll need to park it and raise it using the car jack. Lie under the car and locate the transmission drain plug. If you are unsure about how to locate the drain plug then turn to your owners’ manual. After locating it, place a pan or other container underneath it.  This will contain and catch the old fluid as it drains out. Using the appropriate size wrench remove the drain plug, carefully because it will be hot and allow the drain pan to catch the hot fluid.  It will take a little time for the fluid to drain out, so use this time to clean the drain plug. After the drain plug is cleaned and the fluid has drained, replace the drain plug.


Now you can locate the transmission fill plug, remove the plug and add the new transmission fluid. You will need to use the fluid fill pump for this, occasionally it can be accomplished without the use of the pump but the space is very tight to do so without the assistance of the pump. Add the adequate amount of transmission fluid for your make of car and replace the fill plug.

Afterwards, drive your car for several minutes once more and return. Park the car and check if the transmission fluid is leaking anywhere, especially any leakage around both plugs. If no leaks are visible then you can feel confident that you have provided appropriate car care to maintain your transmission.

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