Automatic Transmissions

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(801) 742-5473
(801) 528-7021
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(801) 935-8192
(801) 657-3821
(801) 528-7014
(801) 742-5472

How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

Checking the level of fluid in your vehicle is a relatively simple process that you can do yourself. Please note, these instructions do not override the instructions given to you in the owner's manual for your vehicle.

Checking the level of fluid in your vehicle; is very important. Low fluid can create shifting problems in your vehicle and may also cause damage. The first step is to park your vehicle on a level parking surface. This will help to make sure you get the most accurate reading. Be sure to place the vehicle in "Park", and set the emergency brake.

The second step is to leave the engine running and refer to your owner's manual to find the location of the dipstick for the transmission fluid. Once you've found the dipstick, remove it and read fluid level.

Clean Transmission Fluid versus Dirty Transmission Fluid

Notice the color of your transmission fluid when checking it. If your transmission fluid looks like the picture on the right, it's time for a Power Flush™

If your fluid is above the full mark, you may have too much transmission fluid in your transmission. This can cause problems for your transmission. If the fluid is below the add mark, your transmission is low on fluid. Low fluid in your transmission can cause low pressures. This can lead to your transmission shifting improperly, and heat building up that can cause damage.

This is also an ideal time to look at the color of your transmission fluid. Transmission fluid is normally pink in color, if it is a brown color, it's time for a Power Flush™.

When checking your transmission fluid you should also check for a burnt smell. If you do notice a burnt smell, contact your nearest Tanner Transmissions location for our free transmission diagnosis.

Check for Old, Worn Out Transmission Fluid

  • Check your automatic transmission fluid to make sure it is not a dark plum or rust color. Worn out transmission fluid changes from its original bright red, clear color to these darker colors, as time, operation, friction and heat eliminates the transmission fluid's protective properties.
  • Odor is another sign of worn out transmission fluid. If the fluid is a darker rust color red, or the odor smells like bad perfume, it may indicate your automatic transmission is overheating. Remember, your automatic transmission fluid keeps the transmission's internal parts properly lubricated, and prevents the unit from burning itself up by providing coolant-like protection.
  • Unlike the motor oil in your engine, your transmission doesn't really consume or burn up any fluid during operation. If you notice transmission fluid is low, it is definitely leaking out somewhere.
  • Check the transmission oil dip stick at every oil change, or several times each year.
  • Certain car models have specifically formulated transmission fluid for their vehicles (Honda vehicles, for example). Check your owner's manual for the proper ATF to add for your vehicle.