Your transmission fluid is vital for the smooth running of your automatic engine. Your transmission makes a lot of heat from friction, and the transmission fluid is made to keep this heat from damaging your vehicle.
Most people hardly change the fluid, and those who do usually leave the change to their service garage. You can change the fluid yourself with a few tools, but the level of fluid is critical to the smooth operation of the engine.
Note: Ensure you use the recommended fluid for your car as the wrong one can damage some cars. Consult your owner’s manual to see if your car requires a particular type of fluid. The most problematic cars for this situation are newer ones with electronically controlled transmissions.
WHAT QUANTITY OF FLUID SHOULD YOU PUT?
You should only pour in fluid about half a quart at a time. The dipstick might indicate full, but it really isn’t. Start the engine and idle it, then recheck the level when the engine is hot. Now add as much as you want till the dipstick shows full.
In a cool engine, the fluid level should be at the top end of the cold mark, while it should be at the top end of the hot mark when the engine is hot. In a warm engine, make sure the level is in the safe zone between the two marks.
Most transmissions will require about 9-13 quarts to fill completely. How much fluid you add will vary depending on whether you’re draining draining and changing all of your fluid or just topping it off. Again, add a little at a time to prevent overfilling.
HOW DOES OVERFILLING CAUSE ISSUES
If you overfill the transmission, you will notice that the fluid may foam, and that can result in erratic gear shifting. Other problems can include transmission damage and oil starvation.
Some transmissions don’t get overfilled because of the way they are designed. They might have a hole in the side, and any extra will just flow out.
WHEN TO CHANGE THE TRANSMISSION FLUID
Wipe the dipstick on a white cloth or wipe, and check the color left. It should be clear; if the color is somewhat brownish or there are some spots of black debri, you must have the fluid replaced soon.
If your car is often used in stressful situations where the transmission is getting hotter than usual, you should frequently inspect the fluid for burning and wearing out.
Some people may tell you that replacing the transmission fluid is not necessary, but it does a lot of work and does wear out eventually. The heat generated by driving can often get so hot that the fluid begins to lose its lubricating qualities, and the seals will begin to harden, leading to pressure losses and leaks. The transmission will eventually die in this condition. Keeping an eye on the level and the health of the fluid can save you a huge repair bill later on. You should change the fluid and filter every 30,000 miles.
REMOVING EXCESS FLUID
You can use a hand pump to remove excess fluid if you have overfilled the transmission, or use a thin hose to siphon it out.