How to Check Transmission Fluid

Changing transmission fluid


Learning how to check the transmission fluid on your vehicle is one of the key parts of taking care of your vehicle yourself, and can help you to keep your car running smoothly for years to come. It’s also one of the most important parts of the maintenance process, right up there alongside oil changes. So how often do you check your transmission fluid? Find out with this guide from Dan Cava's Buick GMC, and if you have any questions, you can contact our service center or schedule service today near Fairmont. 

How to Check Transmission Fluid: Step-by-Step

Learning how to check transmission fluid may seem complicated at first glance, but the process is simple once you’ve done it once or twice. Here’s how:

  1. With the car in park, start the engine and let it run for several minutes to warm up the transmission fluid. This is important for getting an accurate reading.
  2. Open the hood and locate the transmission fluid dipstick, which should be next to the oil dipstick in FWD vehicles. If you have any trouble finding it, refer to your owner’s manual.
  3. First, check whether the fluid needs to be replaced. Insert the dipstick into the fluid, then inspect its color and condition. It should be clear with a slightly pinkish hue. If it smells burnt or appears dirty, schedule an appointment at a Morgantown-area Buick, GMC service center ASAP.
  4. Next, check the fluid level. Wipe the dipstick clean, reinsert the dipstick into the reservoir, and carefully pull it out. If the fluid doesn’t reach the “full” marking, top it off by adding a small amount at a time through a funnel. Re-check the level after each addition.

How to Check Transmission Fluid in a Sealed Transmission 

Can’t find the dipstick on your vehicle? If you drive a newer vehicle, it may have a sealed transmission. This type of transmission reduces transmission fluid loss through evaporation and other factors, but you can’t learn how to check transmission fluid on your own if your car has one. Not to worry — our team will check your transmission fluid when you’re here for routine maintenance. If your car has a sealed transmission, and you notice any of the following signs before your next scheduled service, you may need to bring your car in for a transmission fluid top-off sooner:

  • Hesitating gears
  • Strange noises with gear shifts
  • Gears don’t shift smoothly when accelerating

How Often Do You Check Your Transmission Fluid? 

Every vehicle is different, so it’s best to check your owner’s manual to see how often you should check your transmission fluid. Transmission fluid needs to be changed and topped off at different rates depending on the transmission type. If your car doesn’t have a sealed transmission, we recommend checking the following automotive fluids at least once per month:

  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Engine oil

Trust Our Automotive Experts Today at Dan Cava's Buick GMC

If you’re not sure if you’re checking your vehicle’s needs properly, such as proper tire rotations, or just want to make sure that your service is being handled by professional hands, you can always let our service center handle it. You can view our selection of service tips and tricks, for additional ways to make sure that your vehicle is running smoothly. 


Service Specials at Dan Cava's Buick GMC


Includes: Buy select tires and if you find a better price within 30 days of purchase, we will refund the difference.

*select tires only, see dealer for details


Includes: Purchase an eligible dealer installed partand if it ever needs replacing, The Limited Lifetime Parts Warranty will cover the cost of the new part.

*warranty does not include labor, factory OEM parts only, see dealer for full details

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