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#2759451 - 10/01/12 07:44 AM How to check transmission fluid correctly?
wolf_06 Offline

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 462
Loc: Atlantic, Canada

I tried to check my automatic trans fluid last weekend.
This is kind of a stupid question but, I want to do it the right way.

I know you have to put the car in neutral, when the engine is hot.
But, do I have to get the car running or not??! because the level is not the same when the engine is running.

I have to check in my manual but I'm bot sure if it mention it.
Any of you are used to do this?

my car is a 2008 hyundai accent.
2011 Chevy Cruze 1.8L 6AT
AC Delco Dexos 5w30 - OEM filter

#2759457 - 10/01/12 07:49 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
grampi Offline

Registered: 10/08/06
Posts: 6552
Loc: OH
My vehilce manual says you can check it cold or hot, but I've found the level is more accurate if done hot (at full operating temp). The last time I changed my tranny fluid I filled it cold to the cold mark on the dipstick, but when I then checked it hot, the level was low (not a lot low, maybe a half qt).

#2759462 - 10/01/12 07:54 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
Chris142 Offline

Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 14764
Loc: apple valley, ca
02 Wrangler super-s 10w30
87 F250 proline 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 5w30
Z400 Lucas 10w30
KLR250 Maxima 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40

#2759463 - 10/01/12 07:56 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
scurvy Offline

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 2349
Loc: Chicago IL USA
It's been a long 15 years since I've had to maintain a slushbox but the last one I had to do specified the engine running, everything well up to operating temperature, in neutral, on level ground.

Things may have changed a little since I was driving that 1978 Plymouth Voyager (360 cubic inch V8 mated to the venerable A727 3-speed Torqueflite) so it may be worth taking a look in your owner's manual.
You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

06 VW Golf TDI: Schaeffer 9k 5w40, HU726/2x, EaBP90
12 Mazda 5: Amsoil SSO 0w20, FL910S

#2759466 - 10/01/12 07:57 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
Dave Sherman Offline

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 912
Loc: Ohio
Read your owner's manual. Some cars are very specific; Honda usually has you check it with the engine not running, warm, but not hot and you have to wait some period of time after turning off the engine.
'10 Chevrolet Traverse LS AWD Valvoline Synpower 5W-30 Bosch filter
'77 MG Midget Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 Bosch filter

#2759467 - 10/01/12 07:57 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
OpelFever Offline

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 143
Loc: Finland
AFAIK only Honda automatic trans oil is checked with the engine off.
2000 Toyota Corolla 1.6 VVT-i (Mobil 1 0w-40)
1984 Honda CRX 1.5 (Shell Helix Ultra 5w-40)

#2759468 - 10/01/12 07:57 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
Hokiefyd Offline

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 14488
Loc: Top of Virginia
It depends on the transmission. The owner's manual will tell you.

For instance, you check ATF on Hondas with the engine OFF, but fluid hot. Hyundais may be different.

2009 Honda Ridgeline RTL
2005 Acura MDX Touring

#2759472 - 10/01/12 08:05 AM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: wolf_06]
01rangerxl Offline

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 8966
Loc: Birmingham, AL
You really need to look in the owner's manual to know. Mine has a step by step procedure for checking.

From my truck's owner's manual...

Automatic transmission fluid expands when warmed. To obtain an
accurate fluid check, drive the vehicle until it is at normal operating temperature (approximately 30 km [20 miles]). If your vehicle has been
operated for an extended period at high speeds, in city traffic during hot
weather or pulling a trailer, the vehicle should be turned off for about 30
minutes to allow fluid to cool before checking.
1. Drive the vehicle 30 km (20 miles) or until it reaches normal operating
2. Park the vehicle on a level surface and engage the parking brake.
3. With the parking brake engaged and your foot on the brake pedal,
start the engine and move the gearshift lever through all of the gear
ranges. Allow sufficient time for each gear to engage.
4. Latch the gearshift lever in P (Park) and leave the engine running.
5. Remove the dipstick, wiping it clean with a clean, dry lint free rag. If
necessary, refer to Identifying components in the engine compartment
in this chapter for the location of the dipstick.
6. Install the dipstick making sure it is fully seated in the filler tube.
7. Remove the dipstick and inspect the fluid level. The fluid should be in
the designated area for normal operating temperature or ambient
2002 Ford Ranger XLT | 3.0 V6 / 5-Speed Automatic / 2WD | 193K miles
1994 Ford Ranger STX | 4.0 V6 / 5-Speed Manual / 4X4 | 186K miles

#2759776 - 10/01/12 01:32 PM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: grampi]
zzyzzx Offline

Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 3755
Loc: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: grampi
My vehilce manual says you can check it cold or hot, but I've found the level is more accurate if done hot (at full operating temp).

I agree. And if I can I like to check it after it's been driven for at least 15 miles.

#2760071 - 10/01/12 06:53 PM Re: How to check transmission fluid correctly? [Re: Chris142]
user52165 Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 1114
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Chris142

This is not your fathers Oldsmobile. There is no simple answer. Hot, cold, running, not running, time delay, etc. Some are sealed. Many newer cars have no dipstick. Newer Hyundais are checked thru an access hole on the trans case (not the fill hole).

This is why they write manuals - always best to check.

Edited by user52165 (10/01/12 06:56 PM)