Checking Your Transmission Fluid

Transmission FluidAt Toy Car Care, we know how vital a scheduled maintenance routine is for vehicles. Part of that is checking your transmission fluid levels ensuring all other liquids are topped off. If you’re not sure how to check or what to check, our team offers a wide range of services and mileage appointments for your vehicle to ensure it continues to give you reliable and worry-free driving.

Checking your transmission fluid is an essential step in maintaining the longevity of your vehicle’s engine, and we want you to know the proper steps for doing so.

  1. Make sure you park the vehicle on a level surface, put on the parking brake, and start the engine. Leave the car in neutral or park and continue to let the engine warm up as well as throughout the complete operation unless your owner’s manual says otherwise. Some automatic transmissions need to be checked while the engine is off, so be sure to read the manual first.
  2. Next, you will need to find the dipstick for the transmission fluid, which is typically located where the transmission and the rear of the engine meet. It will look a lot like the oil dipstick. Pull it out, wipe it off, and put it back in again all the way, then pull it out to see where the fluid is at on the stick. Be aware the liquid may be hot!
  3. When checking your transmission fluid , look for a “full” marking or a “warm” and or “cold” marking on the stick. If it is below any of these lines, you will need to top it off with transmission fluid.
  4. Insert the long funnel into automatic transmission fluid dipstick hole and carefully add automatic transmission fluid in small amounts until fluid level reaches the “warm” line. Be very cautious not to get transmission fluid on any hot engine areas. Then, reinsert automatic transmission fluid dipstick entirely in, and that’s it!

How often should you check your transmission fluid and why? Most people are pretty diligent about checking the oil, but it’s never wise to overlook the importance of monitoring your fluid at any given time, especially if you are in for a service anyway.

In a nutshell, your transmission is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. Whether you have an automatic or a manual transmission, when you switch gears, the transmission fluid lubricates them and makes it easier. You should be checking your transmission fluid about every 30,000 miles, but an automatic transmission may be harder on fluid than a manual transmission, here is why.

  • Automatic Transmissions: Higher heat produced when gears are switched. This means that there’s going to be more carbon produced, contaminating the transmission Over time, these contaminants will cause the fluid to thicken and no longer do the job that is intended to lubricate the gears.
  • Manual Transmission: Fluid should be changed every 30,000-60,000 miles, depending on the style of driving. For example, if you are driving short trips often, where gears are shifted continuously, more city driving than highway driving, mountain driving, or perhaps a new learner to driving, who may be abusing the clutch somewhat. If this is the case, check the transmission fluid about every 15,000 miles.
Signs your transmission fluid may need topping off

If you hear a grinding sound while the engine is running, but you are not moving, you may want to check your fluid promptly. Other issues may be problems shifting gears, or gears slipping, or even the vehicle not moving when the gas pedal is pushed.

Know when to have a transmission fluid flush

There are times when a fluid flush will be necessary. Contamination of the transmission fluid is not going to do your car any good, if this is the case, take your vehicle in immediately to Toy Car Care for a complete flush. We will need to hoist your vehicle up, drain and dispose of the contaminated fluid, and replace it with the manufacturer’s recommended transmission fluid. This will take some time, so allow yourself a good couple of hours. At this time, we will also check the filters and gaskets.

Checking your transmission fluid is always a good habit to get into, but if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, please stop by and see us at Toy Car Care for peace of mind. We look forward to offering you a speedy yet thorough inspection for all your driving needs. We are the experts when it comes to Toyota, Lexus, and Scion. See you soon!

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