When the engine is warm, pull out the dipstick. Dip the tip of your index finger into the fluid on the dipstick and rub the fluid between your finger and the tip of your thumb. The transmission fluid on the dipstick should be pinkish and almost clear. If it looks or smells burnt or has particles in it, have a mechanic drain and change the fluid. Wipe the dipstick with a clean, lint-free rag; then reinsert it and pull it out again. There are several types of transmission fluid.
If your fluid is low, it doesn't necessarily mean you're headed for disaster, but it does most likely mean there is a leak somewhere in the system. Filling up the transmission and then checking it daily to see how quickly the level goes down can be a good way to assess the severity of a potential leak. Also try to visually inspect your transmission by looking under the car for any fluid oozing out of it. Does the car leave spots of reddish fluid on the ground after it's parked? If the fluid is black, it's engine oil.
Automatic Transmission Fluid & Manual Transmission Fluid: What's the Difference? – AMSOIL Blog
If it's water, it's likely condensation from the air-conditioning system. If you do notice some transmission-fluid loss or observe that your transmission is using an abnormal amount of fluid, contact a mechanic as soon as you can. We'd recommend seeing a reputable car dealer who sells and services your vehicle as a first stop.
Its service department will have the most experience with your make and model and might have seen this issue before.
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If you have the luxury of letting the car sit until it can be inspected, do so. Contrary to what some internet mechanics may tell you, a transmission-fluid replacement will not destroy an older vehicle's aging transmission. Typically, when a transmission suddenly has issues after fluid replacement, it's because there was already an internal problem, such as a worn clutch pack.
If your transmission is healthy, then a fresh change of fluid will only help its longevity. FYI, if your transmission fluid is low and needs topping off, this is usually done through the same tube that the dipstick fits in. Adding fluid which is available at auto-parts stores will require a funnel with a narrow—and most likely long—spout.
Just like any machine, a transmission needs proper maintenance in order to operate as the manufacturer intended.
Types of Transmission Fluid
As they say, take care of your transmission, and it will take care of you. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories.
Getty Images. If it is dark red or brown, you should have your fluid changed. If it smells burned or has particles in it, you should also have your transmission serviced.
What is a transmission service? It consists of changing the transmission fluid filter before adding the transmission fluid. Impress your family when they ask you how to check your transmission fluid or how do you check transmission oil.
Automatic transmission fluid ATF is the fluid used in vehicles with automatic transmissions. It is usually red or green. Automatic transmission fluid is the lifeblood of the transmission.
How to Check for Transmission Problems
The fluid produces the hydraulic pressure needed to operate the transmission. It also cools and lubricates the transmission. When the fluid level is low, the pump may draw air into the system. Air in the hydraulic system interrupts the proper flow of automatic transmission fluid. Damage can occur very quickly when transmission fluid is low.
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For transmissions with a dipstick, the procedure is the same as described above. Many Fords, Toyotas, GMs and other vehicles no longer have an automatic transmission dipstick for checking the fluid level. Automakers are eliminating automatic transmission dipsticks. Newer transmissions are far more complex than older models and the transmission fluid levels are far more critical. Special procedures are required to check the automatic transmission fluid level in these models.
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