How to Check Your Transmission Fluid With a Dipstick

Transmission fluid is similar to engine oil but for the transmission system. It acts as a lubricant and prevents overheating. When your transmission runs normally, your vehicle shouldn't lose or burn through the solution. So, if you experience trouble with shifting or staying in gears or hear or smell any signs coming from the transmission, there's a good chance that you have a leak.


In contrast to motor oil, transmission fluid doesn’t require changing as often. In fact, automakers recommend a fluid exchange only after every 30,000 miles or more. It is important that you consult with a vehicle professional if you suspect a transmission problem. In the meantime, you can check your transmission fluid levels and condition at home. Also, it is important to note that not all automatic transmission vehicles have a dipstick. Therefore, you must seek professional assistance to access the fluid.


How to Check Your Transmission Fluid Levels Using a Dipstick

  • Make sure your vehicle is parked on a flat ground. Ideally, you will need to have your car in neutral or park. Some manufacturers recommend checking the fluid with the car off. Read over the manual to be sure.
  • Locate an automatic transmission fluid dipstick, typically located around the transmission, and looks similar to the oil dipstick. It might be red instead of yellow.
  • Remove the transmission fluid dipstick. Wipe clean with a rag or paper towel before reinserting it back into the liquid. Remove once more.
  • Read the markings on the dipstick. If the transmission fluid level does not meet the desirable range (in between the marks), you will need to top it off. 
  • Look at the consistency and color of the transmission fluid. If it is dark or appears dirty, you may need to have it flushed soon. Poor quality transmission fluid is just as bad as running your transmission with low levels of lubricant.
  • Once you are done with the above steps, reinsert the transmission fluid dipstick fully. You are finished.

Running your car with low or bad transmission fluid can cause excess wear and tear on your transmission components. To avoid costly repairs down the line, please be conscious of your transmission fluid’s condition. If you have concerns regarding your transmission fluid, please do not hesitate to contact the professional mechanics at Strande’s Garage. We are well equipped to handle fluid flushes and more.