How to Check Your Transmission Fluid

In order to continue running in excellent condition on your drives around Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens for years to come, your car needs some regular TLC to stay healthy. One of the most important factors in keeping your car’s transmission performing seamlessly is ensuring that your transmission fluid is clean and fresh. You won’t need to replace your transmission fluid as often as you get your oil changed, but it’s a good idea to check the transmission fluid every so often. Our team here at BMW of Manhattan has put together this helpful guide to how to check your transmission fluid, so you can perform this quick check at home. If your vehicle needs service, use this online form to schedule an appointment.

  1. Grab a White Rag

The only supply you’ll need for this check is a white cloth or towel, so you can clearly see the color of the fluid on the fabric. You might want to have your owner’s manual on standby, as well, just in case you need it.

  1. Warm up the Engine

The best time to perform a transmission fluid check is after your car has been running for at least a few minutes, and the fluid is nice and warm, so you can get the most accurate read. Leave the engine running during your check, but of course, make sure the car is in park.

  1. Lift the Hood & Find the Dipstick

Pop open the hood of the car and find the transmission fluid dipstick – every car is different, so this is where you might need your owner’s manual to help you locate the stick.

  1. Check the Fluid

Pull out that dipstick and give it a good wipe with your white rag. Check out the color and consistency, and pay attention to any strong smells (but don’t put your nose up to the fluid and take a big whiff). Ready for the news?

  • Healthy Fluid: Your transmission fluid has a clean bill of health if it’s red to light brown in color, with no noticeable smell.
  • Oh No!: If your transmission fluid is dark brown to black, if it has a burnt smell, or if the consistency is viscous or full of debris, you need a fluid change ASAP!
  1. Check Again

Reinsert the dipstick and remove it again, this time checking out the lines on the dipstick and the level of the fluid in comparison. If the fluid measures below the lower line, you’ll need to add some more fluid to keep the car in good condition.

Schedule Your Service Appointment

If your transmission fluid check showed that you need a fluid change, you’ll need to bring your car to a reputable mechanic for help. Our Service Center here at BMW of Manhattan is staffed by expert technicians who can help you keep your vehicle in great condition. If you need a transmission fluid change or any other service, contact us to schedule an appointment, so your car will continue to get you around Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens for years to come.