The Ultimate Guide How To Check Transmission Fluid

Owning a car comes with a lot of responsibility, and everyone that owns a car knows that along with the responsibility of the car comes the cost too… Hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars we can put into our vehicles yearly for maintenance, repairs, routine check ups & so much more. We all have the expenses, but what if we could do with just one less expense, sounds pretty good right? If you are like 99.99% of humanity, you want to save an extra buck just like the rest of us. So, if your car is sounding a little funky as it tries to shift when you drive, rather than running it down to the local mechanic, here is a simple eleven step guide to check your vehicles transmission fluid & at least determine if a low fluid amount could be what’s causing the lag while shifting.

*Important Note* This is a general guide to checking your transmission fluid. Various car models require various steps to check the transmission fluid. Make sure to read through your owners manual before taking any of these steps.

1. Start car- most of the time, you will want to check your transmission fluid with your car warmed up and running, so either choose a time right after you have driven for a little while, or start your car up, and leave it running for a few minutes so that the engine will warm up. Transmission fluid is checked at running temperature because of the fluid expansion that happens – when the engine is stopped & cold, a large amount of fluid will drain down into the pan & you will not get an accurate reading on your dipstick.

2. Put in park on a level area, put on parking break – Parking your car on a level area will ensure that your fluid is not at a false level – while putting your car parking break on is just an extra safety measure to make sure that your car will not go anywhere when youre working under the hood.

start your car for transmission check

3. Let car engine warm up for a few minutes – we want to reiterate that as your vehicle warms up the transmission fluid will expand, giving you a more accurate reading to where the fluid is while you are driving your car.

how to check your transmission

4. Open hood & locate transmission fluid dip stick – generally in a rear-wheel drive vehicle the transmission fluid dipstick will be located sticking out of the transaxle towards the back of your hood(closest to your windshield) If you have a front wheel drive, the transaxle along with the dipstick is generally located to the front right of your hood – With any hesitations, or to be sure where your transmission fluid dipstick is located you can always check your owners manual, or call your local dealership. (don’t forget Google too)

5. Pull out dipstick & confirm transmission (should be a pinkish clear liquid) – Once you have located your transaxle along with the transmission fluid dipstick, double check yourself by pulling out the dipstick & inspecting the measured fluid. It should be a pinkish clear liquid.
Note* if your transmission fluid looks to have dark particles in it or if it smells burnt at all, make sure to bring it into a mechanic*

6. Use a clean, lint-free rag to wipe the dipstick clean – after confirming that you have located your transmission fluid, take a clean lint-free rag to wip dipstick completely of existing transmission fluid.

lint free cloth

7. Re-insert dip stick fully, remove again – insert the dipstick completely back into the transaxle to make sure that the fluid reading will be accurate. Remove dipstick carefully & take a look at where the fluid reading is at.

8. If the fluid level reaches up the the “full” line – Congratulations! Your car is in great shape & you have successfully just checked your transmission fluid level all by yourself! (if you were noticing a shifting issue & your transmission fluid is full, you might want to consider seeing a mechanic to make sure nothing else is wrong)

9. If the fluid does not reach the “full” level – make sure to double check the owners manual or call your local car dealership to see what transmission fluid you need to fill it back up.

10. Provided you have the correct fluid – use a funnel to add more fluid little by little to the tank checking the level often until fluid reaches “full” line (do NOT overfill)

11. Re-insert dipstick into the transaxle

12. Close hood & be proud of the money you just saved!

check your transmission fluid

*Note* A faulty transmission & a transmission that is low on fluid can have very similar symptoms. If you check your transmission fluid & issues persist, make sure to visit your local mechanic for service & assistance.

For a Monthly Auto Maintenance List created by “Dummies” click here

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10 Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Driving

Yes…it’s here.

Winter driving

Are you and your car prepared? If not, now is the time!

  1. Have your battery and charging system checked for maximum performance. Cold weather is very hard on batteries.

If your car needs a replacement battery, stop in for a tested used

battery from Premier Auto Parts in Cedar Springs.  All batteries come

with a 12-month replacement warranty.

  1. Clean, flush, and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  1. Make sure heaters, defrosters, and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  1. Check the tire tread depth, tire air pressure, and condition of rims. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.

If you find your tires are in need of replacing, good used tires and sets

of used tires at Premier Auto and Truck Parts can save you a bundle of

cash.  With used individual tires starting at $20 pc. and good used tire

sets starting at $99.00 you can’t go wrong!  If you find your used wheel

is cracked or heavily corroded, consider purchasing a quality replacement

used wheel from Premier Auto and Truck Parts in Cedar Springs to get

you through the cold months.

  1. Be diligent about changing the engine oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.  Extreme cold temperatures can cause your engine oil to flow significantly slower which can lead to catastrophic engine failure, thus the importance of fresh, clean, oil.  

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing an engine

replacement before or during the winter months call Premier Auto and

Truck Parts for used engines at great prices with amazing warranty options.

Used engines are the way to go to save money and you can find any used

engine north of Grand Rapids at Premier Auto and Truck Parts!

  1. Have your transmission tuned up and inspected prior to snowfall. Winter is especially hard on used transmissions because of the additional wear and tear of wheel spin. Remember if you get stuck in the snow, DON’T SLAM THE TRANSMISSION BACK AND FORTH! You will ruin your used transmission in no time.  A couple hundred-dollar tow bill from a local towing company will be inexpensive compared to having to replace your transmission.

Again, if you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing a

transmission replacement before or during the winter months, call Premier

Auto and Truck Parts for used transmissions in Cedar Springs at great prices

with amazing warranty options.  Quality, guaranteed, used transmissions

are the way to go to save money and you can find any used transmission

near Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Sparta, Rockford, and Cedar Springs by

calling Premier Auto and Truck Parts today.

  1. If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  1. Have your brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  1. Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  1.  Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.  If you’ve been driving around with a broken or cracked headlight or taillight consider replacing it before winter.  With increased driving in the dark during the winter months it’s a good idea to have all your lights fully functional.  

If you need a replacement, go used! Premier Auto and Truck Parts can

help you with your used headlight and taillight needs as well.

Be careful out there this winter!

Premier Auto and Truck Parts

5 Ways Your Car Will Survive The Summer Heat


With the dog days of summer upon us, high temperatures can take their toll on people, animals and even cars. Extreme heat can push a vehicle past its limits, and once again this year some drivers will find themselves stranded at the roadside because of it.

While many drivers think about the importance of readying their vehicle for cold weather in winter, it’s important to not forget about the need also to prepare for hot summer months.

1. Heat Can Zap the Life from Batteries

Most drivers think battery problems occur primarily in winter, but summer heat can negatively impact your car’s battery even more than the bitter cold of winter. Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While drivers cannot do much about the heat, they can make sure their battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration.

Another potential summer problem is faster evaporation of the battery fluid, leading to corrosion on terminals and connections. Clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.

If a car’s battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last.

2. Keep Your Engine and Transmission Cool

Automobile engines and transmissions work extra hard in the summer, and it is the cooling system’s job to protect the engine and transmission from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long term engine damage, and a summer time boil over, definitely increase.

Over time, engine coolant becomes contaminated and its protective additives are depleted. That’s why the system should be flushed and the coolant replaced periodically as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Older coolants used to require changing every two years or 24,000 miles, but most modern formulations are good for at least five years and 50,000 miles. See the owner’s manual or maintenance booklet to determine the service interval appropriate for a vehicle.

Between flushes, make sure the coolant is filled to the proper levels by checking the overflow reservoir. If necessary, top off the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and the coolant type specified by the vehicle manufacturer

Rubber cooing system components also are susceptible to deterioration caused by extreme heat. Inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition. Worn parts are more susceptible to failure in hot conditions and should be replaced.

3. Avoid Excessive Heat Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.

More than half the vehicles on the road were found to have at least one under-inflated tire, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, and 85 percent of motorists do not know how to properly inflate their tires.

Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer—not the number molded into the tire sidewall. Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb. Some vehicles use different pressures for the front and rear tires.

While checking the tire pressures—including the spare—drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

4. Cars Need Fluids during Extreme Heat Too

Engine fluids are essential to keeping a vehicle running smoothly. Most fluids not only lubricate, they also serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, this cooling effect is reduced, and the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers to should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

5. Cool Passengers are Happy Passengers

Maintaining a comfortable driving environment reduces fatigue, which can play an important part in driver alertness and vehicle safety. During extreme summer heat, a properly operating air conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. If a car’s air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it did in the past, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the air conditioning system checked by a certified technician.

Many automotive climate control systems today are equipped with a cabin filter that prevents outside debris from entering. If present, this filter should be inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the summer months.

Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so Premier Auto and Truck Parts recommends every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle. The kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.