Checking and Adding Fluid to Your Automatic Transmission

You should always check the automatic transmission fluid when you are checking other fluids in your vehicle. If you have small leaks they will turn into larger ones over time. Fixing a transmission leak is very inexpensive compared to repairing, or even replacing, your entire transmission, which is very costly.

When you check and add automatic transmission fluid to your vehicle you will need a rag, a funnel (longer and thinner ones work the best, and automatic transmission fluid.

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Check your owner’s manual in order to find whether the engine on your vehicle will have to be turned off when you check the automatic transmission fluid. Many cars the engine has to be either warmed up or running. However there are some cars that the engine needs to be turned off when checking the automatic transmission fluid.

* Open the hood on your vehicle and find the automatic transmission fluid dipstick, which should be at the back of the engine and on the opposite sides of the belts. The top of the dipstick may have a label on it.

* Pull the dipstick out and then wipe it clean using a rag.

* Put the dipstick back into the hole and be sure that you push the dipstick all the way back in, so you can get a correct reading on the automatic transmission fluid level.

* Pull the dipstick out again and check what the fluid level is. All automatic transmission fluid dipsticks will have lines that will show if the level is low or high.

* Into the hole where the dipstick goes pour some automatic transmission fluid if it indicates that the level is low. Using a long and thin funnel add 1/4 quart at a time if the level is not showing full. Make sure that you check the fluid every time so it does not overflow.

* Push the automatic transmission fluid dipstick back into the hole and then close the hood.

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It is a good idea to service the transmission on your vehicle every 24,000 miles or every 2 years. When your transmission is serviced the filter will be replaced, the automatic transmission fluid will be drained and replaced, and the transmission pan gasket will also be replaced. You have to remember that servicing a transmission will not be done when you have a tune-up, as you have to ask for it specifically.