How do you know if your car needs transmission fluid?

What are the signs of low transmission fluid? I want to maintain my used car to save money. How can I check my transmission fluid level?

Answer
“Your transmission fluid may be low if you notice a puddle under your car, a burning smell or smoke coming from your engine, or noticeable irregularities when shifting.
To check your transmission fluid:
  • Open your hood and locate the transmission fluid dipstick. (Consult your owner’s manual for help.)
  • Turn on your car and let it run to allow the fluid to warm up.
  • Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean. Then, replace it in the reservoir. Pull it out again.
  • Note whether the fluid is below the full line.
  • If so, you can simply top it off with fluid you buy from an automotive parts store.
If the fluid is consistently low, you likely have a leak somewhere. In this case, you should take the vehicle to a repair shop. With any luck, your used car warranty will cover the damage.
If not, you’ll have to pay for it. Depending on the severity of the issue, this will typically cost somewhere between $150 and $1,000.
Want to save even more money on your used car? Make room in your budget for more important things by saving on car insurance with the free Jerry app. Jerry can help you find cheaper car insurance by pulling quotes from the top 50 companies in under a minute and delivering the best deals right to your phone.”
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Eric Schad
Answered on Aug 23, 2021
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.
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