What You Need to Know About Transmission Fluid Levels


Many people are used to checking the fluid levels of their car on a fairly regular basis. They will open the bonnet and can fairly easily access the dipstick to check the engine oil level. They can also visually check the coolant and brake fluid levels by unscrewing the caps and having a quick look. Yet what about the transmission fluid? Is this out of sight and out of mind?

What You Need to Look For

Many manufacturers do not make it easy for the average car owner to check the transmission fluid level. In fact, some do not even have a dipstick that allows you to monitor the automatic transmission levels.

Generally speaking, the fluid will not 'burn off' and affect the levels and you will only have to worry about low levels if you notice reddish-brown stains on your driveway, somewhere near the middle of the car. Yet the fluid itself does have to put up with a lot of abuse when under high temperatures and will, over time, degrade. If you do happen to notice those stains on the driveway that are more brown than they are red, it's time to change the fluid.

Different Options Available

It is possible for a DIY motorist to drain and refill transmission fluid at home. However, this is not usually the most effective way of dealing with the issue. It's better to do a full 'flush' with a machine that is designed for the job. This particular machine is connected by disassembling two fluid cooler lines and reconnecting them to either side of the machine. Then, the engine is started and all of the fluid is gradually collected by the machine while it releases new fluid from the other end back into the pipes. This is a very efficient way of making sure that all of the transmission fluid is replaced and not just some of it.

Making Sure You Replace It All

When you simply drain and refill transmission fluid you're only going to replace about half of the total amount of fluid in the system. This is because a large amount of fluid will be sitting within the torque converter and other areas of the transmission will be stationary and therefore cannot be accessed.

While it is certainly possible to drain more transmission fluid by using the old manual system, by simply repeating the task several times in a row after running the engine briefly, this is very time-consuming. It's often better to take your car into the repair shop to get the job done under controlled conditions by an expert.

If you fail to maintain your transmission fluid, this can lead to needing automatic transmission repair and other engine problems.


22 November 2016

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