Like many of us, you may be in the habit of taking your car to a mechanic when anything goes wrong. They are the experts, after all. Still, it's always good to know how to perform a few simple maintenance measures, such as how to check your own transmission fluid which can help to extend the life of your engine. At TransMasters Transmissions and Auto Care, we encourage our customers to understand the basic steps involved in checking transmission fluid in order to head off potential transmission issues before they even start.
First things first — before you do anything you need to think about safety. Make sure that your car is in park on a level surface and that the parking brake is fully engaged. Next, if you don't know already, pull out your car's manual to see exactly where the transmission fluid reservoir is located, and whether the manufacturer recommends that you keep the engine running or turn it off while you're performing this maintenance check.
Once you've located the reservoir, pull out the dipstick from the top and check the level of the fluid on both sides. The dipstick should have a line that indicates when the fluid reservoir is full. It's important to repeat this process twice, checking both sides each time, to make sure you get an accurate reading.
What your transmission fluid tells you
Checking transmission fluid on your own in between tune-ups can reveal several things about the health of your car. If you find yourself frequently adding more fluid , then you may have a leak that needs to be repaired. But, what if the fluid comes up to the full line on the dipstick? Is everything fine or should you be concerned about the color?
New automatic transmission fluid is generally translucent and bright or dark red. The presence of dirty fluids could be an indication of a transmission problem, but only when combined with other symptoms. Because the fluid naturally darkens with age, if your car is running very smoothly, then you generally have nothing to be concerned about.
At TransMasters, we take the running condition of the engine and the appearance of the transmission fluid into account when advising you on whether to have it checked or not.
Getting help from an expert
If you do find yourself in need of a San Diego transmission mechanic, visit our location in Miramar. We have the reputation of being one of the best auto repair shops in the greater San Diego area, and will be happy to assist you with any transmission or other auto care needs.