How do you check the fluid in your automatic transmission

• First make sure your vehicle is on a level surface. All four wheels must be level (no hills please.)

• Your vehicle needs to be up to operating temperature. Go through all the gears: park, reverse, neutral and drive. Place the car in park and engage the parking brake.

• Locate your automatic transmission fluid dipstick. It’s generally located in the vicinity of the oil dipstick. In many cases it stands out due to a larger dipstick handle, and some have bright colored handles. If you can’t locate it check your owner’s manual. In very rare cases there is no dipstick, and the dealer has to check it.

• With a clean paper towel or rag wipe the dipstick clean. Reinsert the dipstick. Remove the dipstick and check the level of the fluid. You will usually see cold and hot levels on the dipstick. Since you are checking while the fluid is at operating temperature go by the hot level. Some transmissions need to be in neutral when checked. Your owner’s manual will let you know.

• When checking your fluid level you should also check the condition of the fluid: does it have a nice red transparent look to it or does it look brown and burnt? If brown and burnt, you will need to have the transmission fluid replaced, and have a new filter installed.

These simple steps will help keep your transmission in great shape, extending the life of your transmission

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