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How to Check Transmission Fluid

In the same way that motor oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine, transmission fluid is the lifeblood of your car’s transmission. While transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed at routine intervals, after you’ve owned your car for a while, it’s a good idea to perform a monthly transmission fluid check when you check other fluid levels.

To help our local car owners in Greenville, Washington, and New Bern, NC, with how to check their car’s automatic transmission fluid correctly, Pecheles Automotive put together the following step-by-step guide.

1. Locate a Clean White Towel or Cloth.

Checking your transmission fluid is pretty straightforward, but you’ll need a few items to complete the check successfully. Your first step is to round up a white cloth or towel, and keep your owner’s manual on standby, just in case.

2. Warm Your Car Up, and Keep It in Park.

A transmission fluid check is best done after your vehicle’s been running for a few minutes—getting the engine going gets your car’s fluids to expand, ensuring the most accurate read.

3. Pop the Hood, and Pull the Dipstick.

With the engine still running, open up the hood of your car, and find the transmission fluid dipstick. If you’re having a tough time finding it, break out your owner’s manual for help.

4. Wipe the Dipstick, and Read Your Results.

Once the dipstick has been removed, wipe it with your white cloth, and pay attention to what you see, including the fluid’s color, consistency, and whether there’s a smell present. Now, what indicates an A-OK transmission fluid check, and what’s cause for alarm?

  • Good news: bright red to light brown in color, no noticeable smell.
  • SOS…call for help: dark brown to black in color, burnt smell, or a viscous consistency with debris lodged in the fluid.

5. Reinsert the Dipstick, and Pull It Out Again.

This time, you want to look for the lines that are on the transmission fluid dipstick and note where the fluid on the stick lies in relation to them. If the fluid measures below the lower line, you need to add more transmission fluid in order for your vehicle to perform at its best.

Get Your Transmission the Care It Needs

Checking your transmission fluid at home is a great way to ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly, but if you encounter a reading that’s cause for concern, it’s important to make sure that you follow up by getting it re-examined by a car care professional.

Luckily, Greenville, Washington, and New Bern, NC, area drivers have a service department they can trust on standby, no matter what part of Eastern North Carolina they’re in. Our eight expertly trained service departments in the area ensure that your vehicle gets the quality repair it needs with a quick turnaround time.

If you think your car may have a transmission-related issue, schedule a service appointment with the Pecheles Automotive dealership nearest you today. We can also help with oil changes, tune-ups, and more!