How to Check & Add Fluid to Your Automatic Transmission

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Automatic car transmission fluid should be checked and added every 30,000 miles. Inspect a car's transmission fluid with tips from an automotive service excellence (ASE)-certified master auto technician in this free video on automotive maintenance.

Part of the Video Series: Car Maintenance Tips
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This is Dave Erb from Dave's Ultimate Automotive in Austin, Texas and we are talking about checking and adding automatic transmission fluid. Automatic transmission fluid comes in a lot of different varieties. You need to know what kind of fluid you are dealing with before you ever add the transmission fluid. Most use the same type of fluid but some manufacturers use their own type and need to understand what those types are and that you are using the proper one. Here we have a Ford product that uses a Mercon 5. Most of them will have the type of fluid you are working with on the dipstick top or on the dipstick itself. When you check transmission fluid you want to make sure you are on level ground and that the vehicle is running and warmed up when you check it because transmission fluid expands and to get an accurate reading it needs to be warm. If you are looking for fluid color you need to make sure that the color is kind of a pinkish color or red. If it is dark or brown or black even those are all indicators that the fluid's life has worn out and that things in the transmission are starting to wear. So keeping that transmission fresh and clean, changing it every 30,000 miles, flushing the entire system will greatly lengthen the life of your transmission so when we check and add we want to first start the vehicle, we want to pull the dipstick and wipe it off the first time around and we want to put it back in, make sure it seats all the way in, come back out with it, keep it pointing down so you don't let fluid run up the stick and give you an inaccurate reading. You want to make sure the fluid is in the, they'll usually have some hash marks or a high and low spot on the stick. You want to make sure that it is in between the high and low. If you do need to add it simply get your funnel, if it is running or not doesn't matter. You are going to put your funnel in. You should probably add about a half a quart at a time if it is close to the proper level already you just want to add a little bit, you want to add a half a quart at a time. We'll let that run down and you want to let it sit for about 30 seconds or so to make sure that all the fluid runs off the dipstick down into the pan so that you don't get an inaccurate reading for your funnel well. Put your stick back in, take it back out and double check that you have the right fluid level and then back in and you're done. Checking and filling transmission fluid.

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