How to check automatic transmission fluid level? Instruction

how to check transmission oil level

Check transmission oil (fluid) level — automatic gearbox

An automatic gearbox also needs maintenance but little. It does not require so much attention comparing with many other fluids (for example, cold proof coolant or engine oil) in a modern car. All you have to do with an automatic gearbox is to check the fluid level (oil level in an automatic gearbox) and its state on a regular basis. Thought the care and maintenance of an automatic tranmission fluid level are simple and done rare, an owner of an automatic gearbox may face many problems if he or she fails to notice a breakdown in time, as most types of automatic transmission gearbox repair are rather expensive and complex.

Transmission oil level low — why?

The reduced level (transmisson oil level low) f lubricating and operating fluid caused by fume or leakage leads to the better part of automatic gearbox breakdowns. You may fail to identify a problem in time as a result of one more unpleasant thing – an incorrect method of measuring the oil level in an automatic gearbox which gives incorrect test value. And we will try to get rid of this mentioned above situation. transmission oil leak In general, an operating manual of your car almost always provides you with information on how to check the oil level in an automatic gearbox. It will contain information not only on the correct way to check the fluid level but on the type of fluid and its value used in your car. Bear in mind, that changing out the fluid to one that is not correct or not recommended may result in damaging the transmission and the expensive repair.

The best step-by-step guide on how to check the oil level in an automatic gearbox

  1. If you still have no idea where the dipstick for checking the oil level is in an automatic gearbox, then, the first thing to do is to find where it is. Everything is simple as that: engine oil dipsticks in cars with an automatic gearbox in most cases are yellow, and dipsticks for checking the fluid level in an automatic gearbox are red.
  2. Clear the area around the dipstick to prevent the dirt entry into the automatic transmission.
  3. You should check the automatic transmission fluid on all cars almost in all cases when an engine is running, and a box is warmed up. Keep in mind, that all the tips on choosing the automatic transmission selectors when the brake is pulled won’t help — a car with AT is warmed up only during the drive. That’s why you should go for a 10-15 km drive on «Drive» position, then stop on a flat horizontal surface and switch the selector to «Parking» position. Then, let the engine run for 2-3 minutes at idle.
  4. The next step, you should pull the oil dipstick out, wipe it dry with a clean lintfree cloth without threads and the like which may stick on the dipstick.
  5. Insert the dipstick back into the tube, hold it there for 4-5 seconds and pull it out again.
  6. Check the fluid level seen at the dipstick. There are marks at the dipstick (more often notches) for cold («Cold») and hot (warmed up — «Hot») checking method with the proper minimum and maximum marks for each method. The oil level in the automatic gearbox at the dipstick should be between the minimum and maximum marks of the «Hot» area. Keep in mind, that «Cold» is not a proper oil level for a cold automatic gearbox, but it is a level used when fluid is changed out, that makes the difference.
  7. You should also inspect the fluid on the dipstick for dirt and metal — it may indicate wear-out of the box gearing.
  8. In addition, a fluid colour may be helpful, especially if you have an old car. Darkening or blackening of the red fluid means its overheating and indicates that the fluid should be changed out.
  9. To put over, you should go through steps 4-7 once more, as the checking often shows false results.
checking oil level hot and cold
 

How to check transmission fluid — videos

Differences in a correct checking of the oil level in various cars with an automatic gearbox

Audi

Many Audi car models have automatic gearboxes not with fluid level gauge rods, but with sight glasses in gear-box casings. So, you should check the oil level in Audi automatic gearbox using a lifting-jack hoist. For car models having dipsticks, you should check the fluid level, putting a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position but in «N» (Neutral) one.

BMW

BMW with the automatic gearboxes do not have dipsticks, you should check the oil level through a sight glass.

Dodge

You should put a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position, but in «N» (Neutral) one.

Honda

For many models, checking is possible only when the engine is shut off.

Hyundai

You should put a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position, but in «N» (Neutral) one.

Jeep

You should put a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position, but in «N» (Neutral) one.

Mazda

You should put a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position, but in «N» (Neutral) one.

Mitsubishi

You should put a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position, but in «N» (Neutral) one.

Volkswagen

Many Volkswagen car models have automatic gearboxes not with fluid level gauge rods, but with sight glasses in gear-box casings. So, you should check the oil level in these automatic gearboxes using a lifting-jack hoist. For car models having dipsticks, you should check the fluid level putting a selector lever of an automatic gearbox not in «P» position but in «N» (Neutral) one.  

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