How to Check Transmission Fluid

Changing transmission fluid


Your transmission fluid is essential to keeping your car’s transmission in top condition. The transmission is what propels your Toyota forward on the streets of Jackson, so you’ll want to regularly check the fluid to make sure there are no issues that could become serious. Checking transmission fluid might sound daunting if you’ve never done it before, but it’s quite straightforward. The service center at Toyota of Brookhaven has put together a guide detailing how to check your car’s transmission fluid, how often you should check on it, and some basic information about how the fluid works. 

Checking Transmission Fluid: Step-by-Step Guide 

To check your transmission fluid, follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn on your engine and wait for a few minutes so it can warm up. You want to get as accurate a reading as possible and a warm engine will let you check the fluid properly. Ensure that your car is in park, then get out and open up the hood.
  2. Locate the transmission fluid dipstick. You can find it to the right of the oil dipstick on most front-wheel drive cars, but your owner’s manual will give you a specific location.
  3. Remove the fluid dipstick and examine the fluid. If everything is fine, it’ll look mostly clear with a pink hue. If you find that the fluid is dirty or cloudy, or if it gives off a burnt smell, that means it’s time to get your Toyota checked out by a mechanic.
  4. Wipe off the transmission fluid dipstick with a rag and insert it back into your Toyota. Wait a minute or so and pull it out again to check the level. Make sure it’s up at the “Full” marking. 
  5. If the fluid isn’t at the “Full” level, you’ll have to add more. Use a funnel to fill the tank back up, taking care not to overfill.

This is a straightforward process, but it’s still possible that you’ll run into issues. If you have any problems with the above steps or notice something abnormal about your transmission, schedule a service appointment with us!

Checking the Fluid in a Sealed Transmission 

If you open up your vehicle’s hood and you don’t see the transmission fluid dipstick anywhere, your car probably has a sealed transmission. This means that there isn’t a dipstick that you can examine your transmission fluid with, and you shouldn’t try to do anything further yourself. Rather, you’ll want to take your car in so an expert can check the fluids.

When to Check the Fluid in a Sealed Transmission 

A sealed transmission is designed to limit wasting transmission fluid, which saves you money in the long run. It’s a more sophisticated system than a dipstick, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to issues. Just like a dipstick, sealed transmission fluid will eventually need to be replaced. There are also some warning signs to be aware of. If you see or hear these, it could indicate that there’s something wrong with the sealed transmission:

  • Strange noises when the gears change
  • A noticeable delay when your gears shift while accelerating
  • A hesitation before gears changing

How Often Do You Check Your Transmission Fluid?

You’ll want to keep on top of checking your car’s fluids, so usually examining them monthly will be enough. The fluids you’ll want to check include your engine oil, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid. Be sure to check your owner’s manual in case your specific vehicle needs a more frequent (or infrequent) fluid check.

Transmission Fluid Basics

As transmission fluid is a complex aspect of your vehicle, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • If you have to replace the transmission fluid in your car, make sure to consult your owner’s manual to see what kind of fluid it takes; there are different types depending on your car and its transmission.
  • If your car has a manual transmission, you’ll need a maintenance jack to access the plug underneath the car. In these cases, it might be more convenient to take your car to our service center near Monticello.
  • As we discussed above, if you feel your vehicle is hesitating before shifting gears, it might be caused by low transmission fluid. However, there’s a chance that the hesitation is being caused by something more serious going on with your transmission. If you don’t see low fluids, schedule a service appointment.
  • Transmission fluid should typically be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, but your owner’s manual should give you more specific numbers.

Rely on Toyota of Brookhaven for All Your Service Needs

If you have any questions about what we’ve discussed regarding transmission fluid, or if you want more information, feel free to contact our office near McComb anytime. You can also check out our service specials if you’re looking to save on your next service appointment.

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