How to Check Transmission Fluid

Proper maintenance is key to giving your car the long life it deserves! However, it’s fair to say that not everyone has the skills and patience to keep up with all of the needs of their car. In addition to not having the time, it may be that you simply were never shown how to do certain things like how to check transmission fluid!

Don’t stress. All in all, most things about basic car care are fairly easy to learn with a few simple instructions! Here are a few easy to follow steps to make it easy for you to pop the hood of your vehicle and check the transmission fluid yourself.

Know Your Car Model to Check the Transmission Fluid

In addition to knowing the make and model of your car, it is also important to understand that every car is different. Though these are basic instructions that can be easily translated to work for many vehicles, it may not apply to your personal vehicle. However, it is highly unlikely that these simple steps won’t apply!

Understanding Why You Need to Check Your Transmission Fluid

In addition to knowing your car’s make and model, it is also important to understand why it’s important to check your transmission fluid!

Your transmission fluid helps to keep your transmission lubricated, as well as functioning properly, so that your car can change gears smoothly. Without regularly checking this part of your vehicle, you may be putting a major component of your car in danger of breaking down!

Ten Easy Steps to Help You Check Your Transmission Fluid!

Here are ten basic steps to follow to make sure your car's transmission fluid is doing well! Follow steps one through ten in order to check your fluid, keep yourself from getting messy, as well as making sure your car is running well! 

Step 1: Things You'll Need to Check Transmission Fluid

Checking your transmission fluid is pretty simple! You will need a few supplies in order to prevent stains, as well as wiping down your dipstick.


  • Clean rag
  • Clean towel
  • Clothes cover (if you’d like)
  • Gloves (if you’d like)

Easy as pie! You can even throw on an apron, or even some old clothes, in order to prevent stains. Not only that, but you can throw a clean towel over the side of the car so that you don’t drip fluid on your vehicle. Be certain to keep it clear from any moving engine parts.

Step 2: Power On!

When it comes to checking your transmission fluid, it is easiest when the engine is warm and running. However, you should always be extremely safe around engines while they are running!

Turn your engine on, place your vehicle in park, then apply the emergency brake for an additional point of safety! Altogether, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Step 3: Pop the Hood

Find the lever within your vehicle that will allow you to open the hood of the vehicle. The hood release is generally on the driver’s side of the vehicle, as well as to the far left. If it is not there, then be certain to check your owner’s manual to locate it.

Pop the Hood

Step 4: Secure the Hood

Open the hood of your vehicle and secure the hood. Most vehicles will have an easy to locate bar to hold the hood upright, or even a secured hinge that will hold the hood open without assistance. Make sure the hood is secure before trying to find the dipstick!

Step 5: Locate the Dipstick

Your transmission dipstick will be similar to the oil dipstick, or even very close to it, but it’s best to know the difference. Oil dipsticks are typically clearly labeled as “oil”. Transmission dipsticks on the other hand, tend to be yellow or orange in color. Overall, taking a peak into the owner’s manual won’t hurt!

Step 6: Pull Transmission Dipstick and Wipe Clean

Because you want a clear reading of how much transmission fluid is in your vehicle, it is important to properly wipe the dipstick. Pull the transmission dipstick free from its location smoothly without bending it too much. Use your clean rag to wipe the fluid from the dipstick.

Step 7: Place the Dipstick in Again

Once the fluid is removed, simply put the dipstick back into the slot in the car engine! All in all, not that hard. However, in order to get an accurate level reading, you’ll need to try to not jostle the dipstick around and splash the transmission fluid!

Step 8: Pull the Dipstick

In one smooth motion, pull the dipstick free from its place.

Step 9: Read Transmission Fluid Levels

Your transmission fluid dipstick will have a clearly marked gage at the end. In addition to checking that the fluid levels are within the correct markings, it’s also good to check that the fluid itself is in good condition.

Moving engine

Step 10: Top it off, or Take it In!

If you are in need of more transmission fluid, then you can either top it off yourself using the transmission fluid guide from your owner’s manual, or you can even drive it in to your local repair shop for them to do it for you! If you do it yourself you might save some money as well!

Easy Steps on How to Check Your Transmission Fluid!

Altogether, these ten steps are easy to follow, and easy to get done. If you ever have any questions about your engine’s transmission fluid, as well as the engine itself, you can always check with a local professional! Checking your transmission fluid is easy to do yourself, especially if you follow our simple guide!

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Hanna Embry

As a freelance writer, I have been creating content and writing blogs for over a decade. Not only do I love writing about cars, but I also have experience in many other fields. I have been a guest writer on many popular blogs, as well as ghostwritten novels. When I’m not writing, you can find me with my family, reading a book, or working on an art project.