How to Put Fluid in a Manual Transmission

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Adding fluid to a manual transmission is more difficult than adding fluid to an automatic transmission. For an automatic transmission, you just pop the hood and add the fluid into the dipstick hole. For a manual transmission, you have to get under the car. Adding fluid to a manual transmission can be messy. Learn how to put fluid in a manual transmission instead of having to take it to a mechanic.

Things You'll Need

  • Owner's manual
  • Transmission fluid
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Ratchet/socket set or wrench
  • Transmission fluid pump (found at auto supply store)
  • Catch pan (found at auto supply store)
  • Turn the car off and make sure it has cooled off. Jack the car up and place the jack stands under the frame rails under the front sides of the car.

  • Get under the car and locate the transmission. On the side of the transmission are two plugs, one high and one low. The lower plug is the drain for the transmission and the higher plug is to check the fluid level.

  • Remove the highest plug and stick your finger in the hole. If there is fluid on your finger, there is enough fluid in the transmission. If you don't feel any fluid, then the fluid level is too low.

  • Place the catch pan under the plugs. Remove the lower drain plug to drain the transmission fluid. This will be messy as the fluid will pour out of the hole.

  • Replace the lower plug once all the fluid is let out. Insert the pump into the top hole and pour the fluid into it. Put fluid into the transmission until it reaches the top hole and then insert the top plug.

  • Get out from under the car, remove the catch pan and jack stands. Lower the car.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use a catch pan to drain transmission fluid. Dispose of the fluid properly. Don't allow it to drain into the ground.

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