Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to Check Manual and automatic Transmission oil Level in a car?

Any type of transmission has fluid which lubricates and helps to cool off the parts of a gearbox. Transmission is one of the most expensive parts of a vehicle and fluid should be changed regularly to make it last longer. It is not necessary to do it as often as oil change, but changing transmission fluid after every 30,000 miles or once in two years is recommended.

Park your vehicle on a solid, level surface and set the parking brake. Lift up the vehicle if the ground clearance is low and you cannot see the transmission. Make sure the vehicle is level when checking the oil.

Tip: Lifting the vehicle with an aftermarket floor jack instead of the original equipment (OE) jack, will make the job easier and safer. Verify the condition of the floor jack before use.

Secure the vehicle with Jack stands on all 4 corners for safety before starting any work. The pinch welds or the frame rails are the two best locations. Do not rely on the Jack to hold the vehicle up while working.

Locate and remove the transmission fill plug. Most fill plugs are located on the upper side of the transmission case. Check the oil level (The oil level should be at the bottom of the hole.).If the oil level is low, slowly add the manufacturer's recommended oil until it starts to flow out of the hole. Reinstall the fill plug and torque the plug to the manufacturer's specifications. Check the transmission for oil leaks.

To refill the transmission fluid follow this procedure: ---

New transmission fluid should be added through the fill plug which is usually halfway up the side of the transmission. Remove the plug and add the fluid using the special pump. Sometimes this process is manageable without the pump, but usually there is not enough space under the vehicle and near the gearbox to hold even a 1-qt. bottle. Make sure you put enough of the fluid into the transmission. After this is done the fill plug can be installed back in place.

Lower the car, start it and drive a little. Check around both the drain plug and the fill plug for any leaks. It is also good to let the vehicle sit for a little even before driving to be sure that there are no leaks. While driving for the first time with the new fluid, listen for noises. If everything sounds good and there are no leaks, the job is done.

In case of automatic transmission: ----

All vehicles with automatic transmission have the fluid which helps the gears to operate smoothly and cools off the whole gearbox. From time to time the transmission fluid (TF) should be checked and changed if necessary.

Before starting any actions on the auto, it is important to check the level and the color of the transmission fluid. New fluid is bright pink or red. If it is dark, something is wrong or the fluid is too old and it should be changed. Very old transmission fluid is almost black. The level should always be checked when the car is running. The measurements will be inaccurate if the engine is off. So, open the hood and start the car while leaving the clutch in Park. Find the TF dipstick, brush off the dirt or grease that might have messed it up and remove the dipstick. The checkmarks on the stick help to indicate the right level of the fluid. Low level is a bad sign because it means a leak either in the gasket or in the cooling lines that go to the radiator.

The transmission fluid does not wear out or get old as quickly as engine oil. It is usually recommended to change the TF after every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. During the change of the TF the person will have to slide underneath the vehicle, so place the auto high enough off the ground. If there is no access to a service pit, the owner can jack up the vehicle and set it on strong jack-stands. It is important to set them underneath very sturdy surface: it can be a piece of sub-frame or solid piece of engine. Be sure that the vehicle stands well and it is not going to move while you are working on the transmission fluid. The next step is to find the drain pan. Since you already know on what side of the engine is the transmission fluid dipstick, you will have a slight idea where the drain pan should be because it sits right underneath it. Set a large container under the drain pan which could catch all the liquid even if it splatters. Loosen the bolts of the pan, but then remove the bolts from one side only. This will allow the pan to drop sideways and let out only part of the fluid without dropping the pan into the container. After the bolts are removed, take a rubber mallet and hit the edge of the drain pan to break the seal. About 50% of the fluid leaks out during this procedure. After all possible transmission fluid leaks out; you can remove the drain pan. Hold the pan in the place with one hand while removing the rest of the bolts. After this the pan will come out easily. Be careful, because there is still a lot of fluid in the pan. After the fluid is dumped into the container and the drain pan comes off, you can come out from underneath the vehicle for the cleaning procedure.

With the hood open looking at the engine, stand just to the right of center. Lean forward and look down behind the throttle plate assembly but in front of the firewall. Just above the passenger side drive axle on the transmission, you will see the vehicle speed sensor and speedometer cable. To inspect the fluid level in this transmission will require removal of the speed sensor from the transmission. The level indicator is the gear on the bottom of the speed sensor. If the oil level is below the gear, oil is needed. Ideally, the oil level should be in the mid to top area of the gear. This is also the point that you add oil if needed.

An automatic transmission depends on the transmission fluid for transferring engine power to the wheels, shifting gears, lubricating moving parts and cooling down the transmission. Check the transmission fluid when your car is serviced and change it as recommended.

Different cars have different ways of checking the transmission fluid level; some require the engine to be shut off (e.g. Honda), some cars don't have a transmission dipstick at all and the fluid can only be checked in a repair shop. Check your owner's manual for proper procedure. This is how the transmission fluid checked on most cars:

After the vehicle was driven for a while to let the transmission fluid warm up, place your vehicle on a level ground. Set the parking brake. Make sure the transmission is in "P" (Park) position. Leave the engine running. Find the automatic transmission dipstick (your owner's manual will tell you where it is located). Pull the dipstick out.

Wipe the dipstick off with a clean lint-free rag. Insert it back fully. Pull it out again and check the fluid level. A transmission fluid expands when warmed up, so if the car has been driven for a while (20-30 minutes), the transmission level should be between "HOT" marks. If the vehicle is cold, the level should be between "COOL" marks. Check the fluid condition: a very dirty fluid with strong burnt smell is a warning sign of transmission problems. Normally the automatic transmission fluid should be clean and transparent.

On most cars the new transmission fluid comes red .Over the time it becomes brownish.

If the transmission fluid level is low, you can top it up, but be careful not to overfill it. Overfilling the transmission can cause problems.
It's very important to use only specified transmission fluid type - check your owners manual or simply visit your local dealer, they always have proper transmission fluid in stock. Incorrect fluid type can damage your transmission. How to top up the transmission fluid: Using a thin funnel, add a small amount of the fluid through the dipstick pipe. Wait for a few minutes - let the fluid drain down. Recheck the level again. Don't overfill.

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