How to Check Transmission Fluid at Home

If you’re on a mission to learn more about your car’s transmission maintenance, you’ve come to the right place! The service center at Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission is on a mission of its own to provide knowledgeable, easy to understand service tips and tricks to the Kansas City community. We’ve covered what color transmission fluid should be, but in order to monitor the color, you need to know how to check your transmission fluid. We’ve got everything you need to know in the guide below!

5 Steps to Check Transmission Fluid

Learning how to check transmission fluid from your Shawnee Mission driveway is as easy as these five steps:

  1. Allow the engine to run for a few minutes, as you’ll get a more accurate reading if the engine is warm. Check that the ground below is completely level before you pop the hood.
  2. Locate your transmission fluid dipstick. You’ll usually find it just right of the oil dipstick if you have a front-wheel-drive car. If you can’t locate it, check your owner’s manual for more information.
  3. Pull the dipstick out and smear a bit of transmission fluid between your thumb and forefinger. Quality fluid should be almost clear with a pink hue. If it’s dirty or smells burnt, you need to schedule a service visit to have the fluid replaced.
  4. Wipe the dipstick clean with an old rag, then put it back into its holder. Remove it once more to check the fluid level. Check the fluid level against the indicator on the dipstick; if it falls below the “Full” marker, you’ll need to top off the fluid.
  5. If you’re adding fluid, always use a funnel to get an accurate pour. Add only a small amount of fluid at a time so you don’t add too much.

How Often Do You Check Your Transmission Fluid?

It’s a pretty quick and simple process, but exactly how often do you check your transmission fluid? We recommend checking it once per month, in addition to other essential fluids like the power steering fluid and motor oil. Of course, your owner’s manual is another reliable resource for this information.

Parting Tips on Transmission Fluid

You now know how and when to check transmission fluid, but there are a few more pieces of information that can help you stay up to date with your transmission maintenance:

  • Different types of cars may require different types of transmission fluid. Whether you have a manual or automatic transmission is another factor. So, it’s important to check the owner’s manual to ensure you have the right type of fluid.
  • If your car has a manual transmission, you may need to jack the car up to check the fluid via a plug that’s underneath the vehicle. Some manual drivers find that it’s easiest to leave transmission fluid service to our professionals for this reason.
  • If your car is sluggish when shifting gears, you might have low transmission fluid. If you check the level and it’s fine, then there’s probably a larger issue at play and you’ll want to schedule service as soon as possible.
  • Transmission fluid should be fully replaced every 50,000–100,000 miles. Your driving habits and transmission type may affect how often you need to schedule replacement. Per usual, it’s best to follow the maintenance schedule in your manual.

Rely on Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission for Transmission Service & More!

Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission is here to help Overland Park drivers learn more about their cars’ maintenance needs. With any additional transmission questions or to inquire about other maintenance items, contact us or give us a call at (913) 305-3320!

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