How Do I Know If My Car Needs Transmission Fluid? 

Automatic transmission fluid should not be lost in normal service, but if the amount is down, there’s a fair chance there’s a leak somewhere. To avoid potential transmission disruption, seek immediate assistance from a service professional. Furthermore, some automatic transmissions lack dipsticks or require that the automatic transmission fluid level be checked by a service professional. Consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual or service manual for more information.

Signs that car needs transmission fluid

1. Transmission Fluid 

The sudden, hard changing of gears is a typical symptom of car problems. While this is a typical symptom of manual transmissions, it is not exclusive to them. Also automatic cars have gears, so if you see a small difference in acceleration, it’s a sign of transmission trouble, and low transmission fluid may be the cause. Much worse, if you notice a pause or missed answer while shifting gears, it may be a sign of a failing transmission.

2. Overheated Transmission

The abrupt and difficult shifting of gears is a common symptom of car problems. This is a common symptom of manual transmissions, but it isn’t exclusive to them. Automatic vehicles, too, have gears, so if you see a slight change in acceleration, it may be a sign of transmission trouble, with low transmission fluid being one possible cause. Worse, if you note a delay or a missed response when changing gears, it may be a warning that your transmission is failing.

3. Burning Smell

If your car emits a foul odor, you can take it to the nearest service center. There are many explanations why your car may begin to emit a burning odor, one of which is the presence of overheated transmission fluid. This symptom may indicate a low fluid level. When a transmission gets too hot, the friction between components increases, causing gunk to build up and the transmission to corrode. If left in this state, the transmission will eventually break down and become non-functional.

4. Unusual Noise 

In general, the vehicle’s transmission should be quiet. However, in the case of a sloppy transmission torque converter, this can trigger noise that sounds like pounding. It’s best to get your vehicle’s transmission tested if you start hearing strange noises from it. A low ATF may cause grinding clatter or hard or erratic shifts when changing gears.

5. Slipping Gears

There will be no slippage in a healthy transmission as it shifts between gears smoothly. Low fluid levels can cause gears to miss, resulting in a grinding sound. While a slipped gear can seem to be a minor problem at first, it’s still a good idea to get the transmission inspected to prevent expensive repairs in the future.

6. Delayed Gear Engagement

If you turn into Drive or Reverse when you’re low on transmission fluid, you’ll find a noticeable delay (2 to 3 seconds). This occurs because the hydraulic pressure needed to trigger the gear change is insufficient.

Steps on how to check transmission fluid

  1. Start the engine after parking the vehicle on a level surface and engaging the parking brake. Put the car in park or park it in neutral. Enable the engine to warm up and run during the service unless the owner’s manual specifies otherwise.
  2. Locate the automatic transmission fluid dipstick, which is usually near the rear of the engine where the transmission or transaxle meets. It resembles an oil dipstick in appearance.
  3. Remove the dipstick for automatic transmission oil. Wipe clean, re-insert fully, and delete.
  4. Look at the marks on the end of the dipstick. Your dipstick can have two “full” markings—one warm and one cold. You’ll need to add automatic transmission fluid if the automatic transmission fluid level does not reach the “hot” line.
  5. Fill the automatic transmission fluid dipstick hole with a long funnel. Add automatic transmission fluid in small increments, rechecking the level each time until it hits the “hot” line.
  6. Completely reinstall the automatic transmission fluid dipstick.

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