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Automatic transmission fluid level check (Every 10 000 miles or 12 months)
Routine maintenance and servicing / Automatic transmission fluid level check (Every 10 000 miles or 12 months)


1 The level of the automatic transmission fluid should be carefully maintained. Low fluid level can lead to slipping or loss of drive, while overfilling can cause foaming, loss of fluid and transmission damage.

2 The transmission fluid level should only be checked when the transmission is hot (at its normal operating temperature). If the vehicle has just been driven over 10 miles (15 miles in a cold climate), and the fluid temperature is 160 to 175F, the transmission is hot.

Caution: If the vehicle has just been driven for a long time at high speed or in city traffic in hot weather, or if it has been pulling a trailer, an accurate fluid level reading cannot be obtained. In these circumstances, allow the fluid to cool down for about 30 minutes.

3 Park the vehicle on level ground, apply the handbrake, and start the engine. While the engine is idling, depress the brake pedal and move the selector lever through all the gear ranges three times, beginning and ending in P.

4 Allow the engine to idle for one minute, then (with the engine still idling) remove the dipstick from its tube (see illustration). Note the condition and colour of the fluid on the dipstick.

7.4 Removing the automatic transmission dipstick from its tube
7.4 Removing the automatic transmission dipstick from its tube

5 Wipe the fluid from the dipstick with a clean rag, and re-insert it into the filler tube until the cap seats.

6 Pull the dipstick out again, and note the fluid level. The level should be between the MIN and MAX marks. If the level is on the MIN mark, stop the engine, and add the specified automatic transmission fluid through the dipstick tube, using a clean funnel if necessary (see illustrations). It is important not to introduce dirt into the transmission when topping-up.

7.6A MIN and MAX marks on the dipstick
7.6A MIN and MAX marks on the dipstick

7.6B Adding automatic transmission fluid through the dipstick tube
7.6B Adding automatic transmission fluid through the dipstick tube

7 Add the fluid a little at a time, and keep checking the level as previously described until it is correct.

8 The need for regular topping-up of the transmission fluid indicates a leak, which should be found and rectified without delay.

9 The condition of the fluid should also be checked along with the level. If the fluid at the end of the dipstick is black or a dark reddishbrown colour, or if it has a burned smell, the fluid should be changed. If you are in doubt about the condition of the fluid, purchase some new fluid, and compare the two for colour and smell.


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