THE WHY, WHEN AND HOW OF CHECKING TRANSMISSION FLUID
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your closets and cabinets. After months of enduring punishing winter weather, your car can no doubt benefit from a spring spruce up, too! Make sure your routine seasonal maintenance includes checking and perhaps replacing transmission fluid. This comparatively small investment of time and effort may save you a lot of trouble and expense as warm weather wears on and spring turns to summer.
WHY AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID MATTERS
Your transmission works hard, making sure power gets from the engine to the wheels. To perform this essential function, it has to be filled to the right level with the proper transmission fluid.
The transmission needs fluid to:
Lubricate and clean internal components, protecting them from corrosion
Help keep the transmission cool, even as temperatures rise
Maintain the hydraulic pressure required for proper operation
Because your transmission is so important, you want to be aware of signs warning that there may be a problem. Be on the lookout as your transmission shifts, including:
New or unusual noises
If you feel something isn’t right, or your car sounds funny when it shifts, consider stopping by a local Jiffy Lube®. A timely maintenance check may help you catch a problem early when the remedy could still be a relatively easy fix, like replacing transmission fluid.
As summer approaches and the open road beckons, knowing when and how to check transmission fluid is more important because you’re likely to be spending more time behind the wheel.
WHEN SHOULD TRANSMISSION FLUID BE CHECKED?
Typically, it's recommended that automatic transmission fluid be checked at every oil change. That makes it a natural addition to your automotive spring maintenance regimen. However, you should check your owner’s manual for the specific schedule for your vehicle. Similarly, your owner’s manual will note the right transmission fluid for your vehicle.
But what if you can’t find your owner’s manual or your owner’s manual lists more than one recommended transmission fluid?
Don’t worry! Jiffy Lube technicians can access your vehicle's maintenance schedule and procedures, and they will be happy to help you choose a quality transmission fluid that meets or exceeds OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications.
If you have any questions about your transmission or transmission fluid, don’t hesitate to bring them to Jiffy Lube. With more than 2,000 locations across North America, Jiffy Lube technicians are ready to help you keep your car, minivan, pick-up or SUV operating as engineered.
NOW FOR THE "HOW."
“How to check transmission fluid?” is one of the common questions drivers ask about vehicle fluid services. Here’s a five-step overview of how it is typically done. This outline is intended to give you a general idea of the procedure. Before you attempt it, be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for specifics for your vehicle.
Transmission fluid level is typically checked with the engine running at normal operating temperature. You may not get an accurate reading if the transmission fluid is cold.
The vehicle should be in a specific gear (usually PARK or NEUTRAL) and on a stable, level surface.
Open the hood and locate the transmission fluid dipstick.
Remove the dipstick. The tip should be covered in transmission fluid, all the way to the FULL indicator line. If the fluid level is low — meaning it doesn’t rise to the FULL indicator line — you can just top it off.
Wipe the dipstick clean with a clean, soft cloth, and then repeat step #4 to verify accuracy. If dirt or debris are visible on the cloth, or if the fluid is dark or discolored, it’s time to have the transmission fluid inspected.
IT'S COMPLICATED AND MESSY, SO WHY DIY?
Dipsticks aren’t always easy to locate. Today, some vehicles don’t even have one, while others may have two! (One for motor oil, another for transmission fluid.)
Used transmission fluid is considered a hazardous waste item and can’t just be tossed in the trash.
You may wonder if it’s worth it to worry about how to check transmission fluid yourself, when you could just bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube®.
At Jiffy Lube, you know you’re in capable hands. A trained technician will check your transmission fluid and — if replacing transmission fluid is called for and you agree to the service — perform the fluid exchange professionally, safely and efficiently.
The team at Jiffy Lube knows how to check transmission fluid — and a whole lot more. Fluid services also includes attention to brake fluid, radiator fluid, wiper fluid, etc. And, of course, motor oil!