Do you check transmission fluid while the car is running?

I always thought the car should be off before you go under the hood. But the mechanic told me that’s not the case. Do you check transmission fluid while the car is running?

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Answer provided by
Bonnie Stinson
Answered on Aug 02, 2022
To check transmission fluid while the car is running, keep the engine running and remove the dipstick.
Your mechanic is correct. The car must be warm to get an accurate reading, as fluid expands when warm. Here are the steps to follow to check the transmission fluid:
  • Wear protective gear like eyeglasses and gloves.
  • With the engine running and parking brake set, prop open the hood.
  • Find the dipstick, usually located near the car battery.
  • Remove the dipstick and gently touch your gloved fingertips to the end.
The first check is whether the fluid is clean and grime-free. Then, you’ll wipe the dipstick and re-insert it before pulling it out again to read the level. It should reach the FULL line.
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