How to Check Transmission Fluid
The transmission is an integral part of a vehicle, as it changes the gears of an engine to send power to the wheels and get you moving.
What helps the transmission do its job successfully is clean fluid. That’s why it needs to be checked regularly, ensuring that it’s free of dirt and debris.
Below, we’ll tell you exactly how to check transmission fluid near Annapolis, Highland Beach, or Hillsmere Shores. Read through our detailed guide, and feel free to contact BMW of Annapolis if you have any questions.
Steps to Check Automatic Transmission Fluid
If your vehicle is equipped with an automatic transmission, you’ll first want to look for the fluid dipstick. It could be toward the back of an in-line engine or sticking out of the transaxle—depending on whether your car is rear-wheel or front-wheel drive.
Once you locate this component, you’ll want to complete the following steps:
- Pull out the dipstick. Make sure this is done while the vehicle is in park and the engine is still running.
- Inspect the fluid. You can dip the tip of your index finger on the dipstick and rub the fluid between your finger and thumb. Check the color (that it’s pinkish and almost clear), as well as consistency (that it’s free of any particles).
- Wipe the dipstick and reinsert. Wipe it clean with a lint-free rag, then place it back into the reservoir and pull it out again.
- Add more fluid. Only do this if the fluid is clear but doesn’t reach the “Full” line on the dipstick. Use a funnel to pour just enough fluid to reach the line; be careful not to overfill.
Inspecting Manual Transmission Fluid
The reservoir for manual transmission fluid is located underneath a vehicle. Therefore, it needs to be inspected differently than an automatic. The process for this type of transmission goes as follows:
- Position wheel chocks. Make sure they’re placed around the back tires.
- Jack up the automobile. Use a hydraulic floor jack to lift the vehicle up. Make sure it’s just high enough to gain clearance underneath. Then, secure the car with jack stands.
- Find the fluid fill plug and remove it. It’s usually a large bolt about halfway up the side of the transmission. You can use a ratchet and socket that fits the plug to remove it.
- Check the fluid level. You could do this by placing your finger inside the filler plug hole and seeing if any fluid gets onto your finger. If it doesn’t, then the level is too low and would need to be refilled.
- Add transmission fluid. Use a fluid pump to add liquid through the filler plug. Recheck several times until it’s at the proper level.
- Replace the filler plug. Reinstall and make sure it’s nice and secure.
- Lower the vehicle. Use the floor jack to lift the car one side at a time and remove the jack stand. Then lower the vehicle carefully to the ground.
When to Replace Transmission Fluid
Now that you know how to check transmission fluid, you may be wondering when it needs to be replaced.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer on when the fluid should be completely changed out. For manual transmissions, many manufacturers recommend a fluid change every 15,000 to 60,000 miles.
For automatic transmissions, it could be changed every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Some vehicles may never need a transmission fluid change; however, you’ll want to refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended service interval.
Either way, you’ll want to get this service done as soon as it’s needed. Otherwise, metal shavings and other contaminants could get into the transmission and shorten its lifespan.
Have Your Transmission Fluid Looked at Today
If you need help checking and replacing the transmission fluid, then contact BMW of Annapolis. Our expert service team can get to work right away and have you back on the roads of Annapolis, Highland Beach, and Hillsmere Shores in no time at all.
Don’t wait. Schedule service with us today!