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How to Check a Car's Automatic Transmission Fluid

Safety - 23 January 2019

Transform your driving into smooth sailing by following these steps to check your automatic transmission fluid:

  • Find the fluid pipe. On many newer cars, the transmission fluid pipe will be labelled; if not, consult your owner's manual for its location.
  • Dipstick duty. With the gearshift in Neutral or Park and the parking brake on, let your engine run. Be sure the engine is warm before pulling out the dipstick (don’t turn off the engine).
  • Be a fluid fundi. Dip the tip of your index finger into the fluid on the dipstick and rub the fluid between your finger and the tip of your thumb. The transmission fluid on the dipstick should be pinkish and almost clear. If it looks or smells burnt, or has particles in it, have a mechanic drain and change the fluid.
  • Double dip. Wipe the dipstick with a clean, lint-free rag; then reinsert it and pull it out again. If the transmission fluid is clear but doesn’t reach the “Full” line on the dipstick, use a funnel to pour just enough transmission fluid down the dipstick tube to reach the line. Don’t overfill!
  • Be a smooth operator. Your car's transmission fluid is now properly set and you’re officially on the road to a smoother driving experience!
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