Your automatic transmission / trans-axle, ( trans. ) has many moving parts, as the cut-away shows below. The fluid is the life blood of the trans., with low or worn out fluid, the transmission will self destruct. So how do you check the fluid and if it is low, what fluid do I use? Both answers are not as straight forward you may think.
Inspecting the trans.fluid, in most vehicles is not too difficult. To check the fluid level in most cars, drive the car a short distance and park on a level surface. Leave the engine running, raise the engine hood and locate the trans. dip-stick. On most front wheel drive cars, the dip-stick will be located on the drivers side (left) of the engine bay. On most rear drive vehicles, the dip-stick will be located on the passenger side (right) of the engine bay. Now remove the dip-stick and wipe off. Note: pay attention to how the dip-stick comes out. Some will only go in one way. Re-insert the dip -stick and remove once again. There are usually hash marks on the dipstick; this is where you should see the fluid level. Sometimes the oil will be up one side further than the other, wipe off and try again. As long as one side is in the hash mark area, the level should be fine.
OK , you found the fluid level not even on the dip stick. This could be why your trans. is sluggish going into reverse. One of the other reasons is worn out fluid. Problem: what fluid do your use? Sources for type to use: on our home page, the Amsoil web site can help you identify the correct fluid ( the look up is on the left bottom of the Amsoil page; you will have to enter your make, model, etc.), owners manual, and local parts store can usually tell you also. There are universal fluids available. Be sure your fluid type is stamped on the bottle, using the wrong fluid will cause some issues, all of them can lead to expensive to repairs. When adding trans. fluid, add 1 pint at a time, run the engine and shift through the gears with your foot on the brake. Do this a couple of times and re-check. Add accordingly Once the level is in the hash area, drive the car a short distance and re-check. Top off as needed. As long as the oil level is in the hash area, the transmission has enough fluid to operate properly.
Next week; What to look and “smell” for on the transmission dip stick and the answer to the question below.
Question of the week; Do all cars have transmission dip-sticks to check the fluid level?
Answer to last weeks question: Fill in the blank TIre LF ( 2 /32″ ) is required to pass PA Safety Inspection.