Where’s My Dipstick?

24 11 2010

Dale BertramQ: I recently went to check the automatic transmission fluid in my car and was amazed that there was no dipstick to do so.  How do I check and/or add transmission fluid if there is no dipstick?

A: Times are a change-in, the good old days of checking automatic transmission fluid by pulling out the dipstick are gone on some newer cars and the rest of the manufactures will likely follow suit in the future. With the advent of the modern transmission with six gears, all electronic shifts and synthetic type fluid, the auto companies don’t want just anyone to add incorrect fluid, that could damage these high tech units.

To answer the question of how to check automatic transmission fluid, all are checked with the car on a hoist and following the manufactures recommended service procedure. Some cars need a special tools to check the transmission fluid, others are very simple and can be done by a do-it-yourselfer, if you’re not sure have it done by a professional. 

Transmissions still need to be serviced, no matter what you’ve heard or been told. Not some, all transmissions need servicing at some specific mileage. This depends on type of driving, towing, stop and go or long trips. Most manufactures recommend long mileage intervals for servicing unless severe conditions occur (check the owner’s manual for definition of severe conditions). I would like to see all transmissions serviced at no more than 30,000 miles. That will ensure the transmission will last well over 100,000 miles.

A well done service should cost in the range of $100.00 to $175.00.  Do the math, 3 transmission services @ $150.00 each = $450.00 or a broken transmission costing $2500.00 to $4500.00.

Happy Motoring!

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