Your transmission is a vital part of your vehicle – one that it cannot run without. So, it is important to ensure that it always has what it needs to run successfully and efficiently. That means knowing the signs that it is struggling and how to routinely monitor your levels of transmission fluid.
But first, you need to know where to find the transmission dipstick.
Signs Your Transmission Fluid is Low
There are many different signs that will let you know when your transmission fluid is low. Knowing what they are so that you can take action swiftly is important to keep your automobile healthy.
Should you experience any of the following, you may want to check your transmission fluid or get your car to a transmission specialist as soon as possible.
- Noises while shifting gears
- Noticeable fluid leaks underneath the vehicle
- Burning smell
- Check engine light is on
- Slipping gears that make a grinding sound and feel
- Gears are slow to shift into place
- Feels stuffy when trying to accelerate
Finding Your Transmission Dipstick
The transmission dipstick can look very similar to the oil dipstick so you will want to be careful not to get these two confused.
Not to add to the confusion, but the transmission dipstick is not always found in the same place. It usually comes down to the type of vehicle you have. For instance, those that are front-wheel drive will often have the dipstick toward the front of the engine whereas rear-wheel drive cars have them located near the back of the engine.
Your transmission dipstick should be labeled and it will often have a red, pink, or yellow handle for you to easily grab.
If you aren’t sure where your transmission dipstick is located, you can always look at your vehicle's manual.
Check the Level of Your Transmission Fluid
Once you have located the transmission dipstick, it is important to follow these steps to check the level and health of the fluid.
- Park on a flat, level roadway or driveway.
- Turn on the ignition and let the car run idle for a few minutes as transmission fluid will expand as the car heats up. This will give you a better indication of what the level is when you are driving it.
- Pull out the dipstick, wipe it off with a cloth, and then put it back in place.
- Pull it back out and look at the level indicators on the dipstick to see if yours is where it should be.
While you need to look at the amount of fluid, you will also want to notice the color and the smell of the fluid. All of these things will give you an idea of whether or not your transmission requires some attention.
Transmission fluid that is new often has a bright red appearance that will begin to deepen in color as time passes. It may start to look dark red or even light brown. This is okay but is indicative that it is time for the transmission fluid to be changed.
If the fluid is black, you have bigger transmission issues that need to be addressed by specialists.
As for the smell, healthy transmission fluid doesn’t usually have an odor. And, if it does, it smells sweet. A burnt odor means that it needs to be serviced immediately.
To help keep your vehicle running efficiently, get in the habit of checking your transmission fluid for these things once a month.
Seek Professional Transmission Service
Because your transmission is such an important part of your vehicle, you don’t want to do something that could cause damage to it – or repair it without fully knowing how. The specialists at Circle D Transmission can help you with routine maintenance or the repair of your car’s transmission. In fact, we’ve been serving the greater Houston area since 1976.
Contact us today at (713) 895-7019.