Routine maintenance is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Most drivers are fairly good at basic things like replacing their tires when they become worn down or changing their oil regularly. However, you should also make sure that you take steps to keep your transmission working well. The biggest key to ensuring your transmission works properly is to regularly check to make sure it has plenty of transmission fluid, and here is how you do it.
The Importance of Transmission Maintenance
The transmission is responsible for shifting gears as you drive or put the vehicle in park or reverse. If the transmission wears out, your vehicle won’t move. Worse still, a transmission is one of the most expensive parts of a car to repair or replace. For this reason, it is essential that you check your transmission fluid level every time you check your oil.
You should also have your transmission professionally inspected and serviced approximately every 15 months or 15,000 miles. Almost any mechanic should be able to perform this service for you. Still, if you’re having trouble finding a reputable mechanic, Technician Find can give you a list of those in your area.
Checking Your Transmission Fluid
Before checking your transmission fluid, you should start the vehicle and let it idle for a few minutes parked on a flat surface. Once the engine is warm, find the transmission dipstick and gently pull it out. It will look like the oil dipstick, but it should be labeled or colored so you can easily identify it. In most cases, it will be further back towards the bulkhead that separates the engine compartment from the cabin. If you can’t find the dipstick, your owner’s manual should have a diagram showing where it is. That being said, many new vehicles don’t have a transmission dipstick as the transmission is sealed. In this case, you don’t need to worry about checking the fluid.
After pulling out the dipstick, wipe it clean and then reinsert it. Next, pull the dipstick out again and check to see where the fluid level is. The dipstick should have clear marks that indicate when the fluid level is full or low. If the level is low, this usually indicates that there is a leak somewhere in the transmission lines. Minor leaks are typically not a major issue as long as you make sure to add more of the correct type of transmission fluid whenever it gets low. If you find yourself needing to constantly add more fluid, it’s definitely time to see a mechanic.
You should also check the color of the fluid to see whether you need to have it replaced. The fluid should be a light pink or reddish color. If it is brownish red, dark brown, or black, this is another sign you need to have your transmission serviced.
Checking your fluid is easy and only takes a few minutes. It is also something that you definitely need to do or otherwise, you could soon find yourself facing a huge repair bill.