How to Check the Transmission Fluid in a Harley

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Part of the process of keeping your Harley running smoothly is performing maintenance on a regular basis. You should check the transmission fluid in a Harley after prolonged running periods (every 200 miles or every three hours). If you are a city driver, make checking your fluids a monthly maintenance habit. Too much or too little transmission fluid can seriously damage your Harley and the damage will happen before the transmission tells you something is wrong by making noise or feeling "off." You don't have to be a mechanic to check the transmission fluid in a Harley because the steps are easy to follow.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
  • New Transmission Fluid (see owner's manual for type)

How to Check the Transmission Fluid in a Harley

  • Run the engine until it is warm, shifting through all the gears. Once the engine is sufficiently warmed, turn it off.

  • Loosen the transmission dipstick by unscrewing it, but do not remove it.

  • Straddle your Harley and hold it level, off the side stand, for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the transmission dipstick and wipe it clean before reinserting it into the block. Do not screw it in. Insert the dipstick until the top of the threads is resting on top of the hole to check the transmission fluid in a Harley.

  • Withdraw the dipstick and read the amount of fluid in the transmission. Dipsticks are marked with what should be the proper level of fluid in the engine. If your fluid level is too low, add a little transmission fluid. Place the dipstick back into the engine block and screw it in. Start the engine again and shift through all the gears. Turn the engine off and let it stand for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat the rest of Step 3 to read the new levels. Repeat this until the proper amount of fluid has been achieved.

  • When your transmission level is reading correctly, screw the dipstick firmly back in place before starting the engine. Discard the rag you used to clean the dipstick. Make sure your container of transmission fluid is firmly capped and stored properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add transmission fluid by the capful to bring up the level in your transmission.
  • It takes little fluid to change the level of transmission fluid in a Harley. If you add too much transmission fluid, it can be as damaging to a transmission as too little. Always add fluid with great care.

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  • Photo Credit Dan Hayman
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