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How To Check Transmission Fluid
The transmission fluid is used to lubricate and cool down the transmission components, just as the engine oil removes heat from the engine parts. Besides lubricating and cooling, the transmission fluid in an automatic transmission gets compressed and provides the required pressure to shift, engage and disengage the gears. The transmission fluid is stored in the transmission oil pan. It is necessary to check the level of the transmission fluid periodically to ensure the proper working of the transmission.
Generally, the recommended range to change the transmission fluid is between 30,000 and 60,000 miles, or as suggested in the owners' manual. If you notice any discoloration in the transmission fluid, inspect the fluid and change it, if required. This may prevent costly repairs for your transmission parts in the future. The following steps detail how to check the transmission fluid and refill it, if it is low.
Checking the Transmission Fluid?
1. Park your car on a level surface. Start the engine. Set the transmission lever to the "P" (parking) position, and let the engine idle (On some cars, this process may differ, check the owners' manual for details). Pull out the transmission dipstick. Check your owners manual to find where this dipstick is located in your car.
2. Wipe it with a lint-free, clean rag or tissue and insert it back carefully all the way down into its place.
3. Pull the dipstick out again and check the fluid level. If the engine is cool, it should be at the upper end of the “COLD” mark. If the engine is hot, the level should be at the upper end of the “HOT” mark. If it's lower, you should add some amount of automatic transmission fluid.
Check the fluid condition also:
If its too black and has a burnt smell - your transmission is not going to last. Normally it should be clean and transparent, as shown in the image below. Its color may vary from red to brown. Wipe the dipstick with clean white paper and look at the paper. Normally, there should be no black deposits, metal particles or dirt left on the paper.
How to add the transmission fluid:
Check the transmission fluid type in the owners manual. For example, some Chrysler transmissions need only a specific type of fluid and regular fluid like Dexron II can harm the transmission. Add a little amount of the fluid as shown in the image below. Wait for a while to let the fluid flow down. Start the engine. Check the level again.
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