How to Check Your Transmission Fluid at Home

Need to know how to check your transmission fluid at home in Apex or Carrboro? The steps to complete this essential maintenance tasks are easier to follow than you might imagine! If you’ve ever checked your car’s oil level, you’ll find the process to be pretty similar. Being that your car’s transmission is what propels it forward, it’s important to ensure the fluid is clean and sitting at the proper level. The service center at Hendrick Dodge Cary provides step-by-step instructions to check your transmission fluid, below.

Steps for Checking Transmission Fluid at Home

  1. First, run your car’s engine for a few minutes before getting started. This will warm the engine up a bit, which is necessary to get a proper fluid level reading. Before you get out to pop the hood, remember to double-check that the car is in Park.
  2. Under the hood, locate the transmission fluid dipstick; it can usually be found to the right of the oil dipstick on front-wheel-drive cars, but you can check your owner’s manual if you need assistance.
  3. Remove the transmission fluid dipstick and touch the fluid. Rub the fluid between your thumb and forefinger, then inspect its appearance. The fluid should be nearly clear, with a pink tinge. If it looks cloudy or smells burnt, you’ll know it’s time for fluid replacement.
  4. Wipe the dipstick clean with a rag, then re-insert it in its holder. Pull it out once more, this time to check the fluid level. If the level is beneath the “Full” marker, you will need to add more fluid.
  5. Use a funnel to get the transmission fluid level where it should be, but be careful not to fill it too high.

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid in a Sealed Transmission

Can’t seem to find the transmission fluid dipstick under the hood? Your car likely has a sealed transmission; this doesn’t mean it cannot be accessed, but it does mean there is no dipstick for you to check the fluid level. Cars with a sealed transmission are best entrusted to a certified service center for inspection. At Hendrick Dodge Cary, our expert technicians will be glad to take a look!

When Should You Check the Fluid in a Sealed Transmission?

Sealed transmissions are designed to reduce the amount of wasted transmission fluid, helping Chapel Hill drivers secure long-term savings. Still, the occasional issue may pop up and the fluid will need to be fully replaced when your maintenance schedule says to do so. To ensure the proper functioning of a sealed transmission, keep an eye out for these warning signs:

  • Out of the ordinary noises when changing gears
  • Hesitation from gears before changing
  • Obvious delay of shifting gears when accelerating

How Often Do You Check Your Transmission Fluid?

Just like checking your engine oil, you should check the transmission fluid monthly. Most cars have the oil dipstick and transmission fluid dipstick next to each other, so it’s easy to take care of both tasks on the same day. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check the power steering fluid so long as you’re under the hood already.

Learn More About Transmission Fluid

The transmission fluid may be somewhat simple to check, but it’s one of the most complex components of your vehicle. Check out these transmission fluid basics to learn more about what you’re dealing with:

  • There are different types of transmission fluid, and they’re not all made the same. There are different types for modern vehicles, manual transmissions, and automatic transmissions. If you’re unsure what type of fluid your car needs, you can check your owner’s manual.
  • If your car has a manual transmission, you may need to jack the car up to access a plug underneath the car when it’s time to check the fluid. This being the case, many Cary manual drivers find that it’s easiest to bring their car to a technician.
  • Does your car seem to hesitate before shifting gears lately? The issue is often low transmission fluid, but there could be a more serious problem at bay. Check the fluid level as a starting point, and if all looks well, don’t delay scheduling a service check-in.
  • Transmission fluid should be fully replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. This interval can vary depending on your transmission type, driving habits, and other factors. You can check your owner’s manual for an exact interval, or call our service center at 919-230-9688 for a recommendation based on your driving habits.

Turn to Hendrick Dodge Cary for Transmission Service!

Have lingering questions about transmission fluid? Need to schedule an inspection? Want to know how to unlock a steering wheel? Contact the service pros at Hendrick Dodge Cary today! We’ll provide the answers you need, find a time slot that works for your schedule, and tell you how our rotating service specials can help you save! In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about your car’s maintenance, you can check out our service tips for information on the alternator and much more!

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