How to Check Transmission Fluid

You probably know what an oil change is at this point in your driving life, and you also know that the oil is what keeps things moving smoothly in your vehicle. But, did you know that it's vital to keep up with your transmission fluid as well?

Checking your transmission fluid regularly is easy, and can save you money in the long run. Our team at Audi Devon has put together this simple, step-by-step guide to on how to check transmission fluid before you ever have to leave the driveway.

Why Should I Check My Transmission Fluid?

Why do we get our blood checked? Sounds a little weird, but think about transmission fluid as the lifeblood of your…you guessed it: transmission. When things go wrong with your transmission, it can get expensive. Checking your transmission regularly can tell you if there is a possible leak, or low or worn out fluid levels.

Prepping to Check Your Transmission Fluid

Checking your transmission fluid is way easier than you might think, but you'll want to take a few steps to prep. First, make sure you have a light-colored (preferably white) towel and your owner's manual in case you need it as a reference. Then, warm up your car for a few minutes so that the fluids expand under the heat, giving you the most accurate read.

Now You're Ready! Follow These Steps:

  1. Locate the transmission fluid dipstick. This is the handle that's sticking out of the transmission.
  2. Pull the dipstick out. Be sure the engine is still running, and the car is either in Neutral or Park.
  3. Check the fluid by wiping the dipstick with the white towel, and look for these signs:
         a.  If the color is…

                             i.      Red: Newer transmission fluid is a bright red color, so this is great!

                             ii.      Dark red to light brown: This is normal for running vehicles-also completely fine for the time being.

                             iii.      Dark brown to black: This indicates that there may already be issues with the transmission, so you'll want to get to your auto technician ASAP.

  1. Smell: Transmission fluid should not give off much of an odor if it does not need to be changed. However, if a burnt smell is coming from it, that's a sure sign something is wrong.
  2. Consistency: The consistency of the transmission fluid can be a little thicker; however, if you find large elements or debris on the stick, that could indicate that something is wrong with the transmission or other parts of the engine.
  3. Wipe the dipstick clean with the rag, reinsert it, and pull it out again. There are two lines on the dipstick; if the fluid does not reach above the lower line, that means it's time to add more.

If you do need to add more fluid, you can do so yourself or consult your auto technician.

Get Help with Your Transmission Fluid Check Reading

Now that you've learned how to check transmission fluid, this simple indication of something going can keep a small problem small, and save you money!


If you are in the area of West Chester, Conshohocken, or Devon, and have any more questions about checking your transmission fluid, or need help with the reading you got, please feel free to contact our certified auto technicians at Audi Devon, and we'll be happy to help!

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