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How Do I Check My Vehicle’s Transmission Fluid?

Close-up of a vehicles brake system assembly

Understanding how to check your vehicle's transmission fluid can help you in times where you feel like your transmission is underperforming, and aren't sure of the exact cause. While checking your vehicle's transmission fluid can inform you of whether low transmission fluid is an issue, we recommend bringing your vehicle into Ervine's & Grand Rapids Hybrid if you ever suspect that there is a problem with your vehicle's transmission.

Here is how to check your vehicle's transmission fluid: 

  1. Put your vehicle in park and let the engine run. 
  2. Locate the transmission fluid dipstick, which is usually sticking out of the transaxle.
  3. Pull out the transmission fluid dipstick.
  4. First, use a towel to wipe the fluid on the dipstick. Check the consistency of the fluid - it should be pinkish or clear and have an oil like consistency. Black or dark brown fluid that has chunks in it is a very bad sign and means you are due for a transmission fluid exchange. 
  5. Wipe the dipstick clean and insert it back into the fluid chamber. Pull it out again one more time to check the fluid levels. If the fluid level is low, you can fill it, however we only recommend this as a temporary solution. If the levels are low and your fluid looks clean, there may be a leak. 

If after you check your transmission fluid levels you find that the levels are low, bring your vehicle into Ervine's & Grand Rapids Hybrid for assistance. The reason for the low level may be a leak, which can be damaging to continue to drive with. If the oil is black, brown, or extremely dirty, we recommend setting an appointment at our shop for a transmission fluid exchange at your earliest convenience.

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