How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

Changing transmission fluid

Your transmission is one of the most important components of your entire vehicle. It’s just as important as the engine, and your vehicle’s efficient operation is contingent on a smoothly running transmission. However, keeping your transmission running in top shape requires a certain amount of routine maintenance – albeit not as frequent as the engine, but still periodic attention. Checking your transmission fluid is the main task when it comes to your transmission – but many Minneapolis drivers aren’t familiar with this because it’s only required about ¼ as often as the engine oil. That said, it’s still just as important that you don’t skip checking. If you’re ready to learn how to check your transmission fluid, continue to the next section. 

How to Check Transmission Fluid Level

Locate the dipstick attached to the transmission. Depending on the model, it could have several different appearances. After finding it, you’ll notice it looks similar in appearance to the engine dipstick. This measures the level of transmission fluid directly inside your transmission. Remember, a large number of transmission issues stem from low or old fluid. Use the following steps to properly check your transmission fluid: 

  1. Park your car and make sure it’s on a level surface.
  2. Turn your car on, leaving it in park and let the engine run for a few minutes until it gets warm. Heat causes transmission fluid to expand – and your vehicle must be under normal operating conditions to get accurate results. Keep the engine running while you check the fluid. 
  3. Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean rag. Place it back into the reservoir. 
  4. Remove it again and look at the notches that read “low” or “full.” If it’s full, you’re good to go. If it’s low, schedule service with one of our technicians near Hudson, WI right away. 

Tips for Checking Transmission Fluid

There are a few important things to keep in mind when you change your transmission fluid. Remembering these vital tips will help you avoid potential damage in the long run. 

  • Make sure the fluid is a bright, transparent red color. Dark red and light brown colors indicate aged transmission fluid. If it’s black, unfortunately, your transmission is likely failing. 
  • Transmission fluid should be thick, but you don’t want it to be murky. If it’s not see-through, there’s likely dirt or other particles in it – and this could require a transmission flush. 
  • Be mindful of a burning smell.
  • Check the transmission fluid every six months. Flush the transmission every 30,000 miles. 
  • Don’t overfill your transmission. This could lead to broken seals and other problems. 

Let Our Technicians Service Your Transmission at Kline Nissan

If you’re near White Bear Lake and require transmission service, our repair team is standing by to help with all your automotive needs, from minor to major. Before scheduling your appointment, don’t forget to check our monthly service specials for potential savings on routine maintenance tasks. 


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