There are several things in life that you need to know, especially when it concerns your car. If you are like most drivers, you use your car on a daily basis, and with the average commute time longer than ever, it is extremely important that you understand how to check the major parts of your vehicle to ensure they are running properly. This will save you time and money in the long run. The most important part of your vehicle you need to check is your automatic transmission fluid, or ATF. It is suggested that you check your automatic transmission fluid at least once every month, or when you are noticing your vehicle is having a hard time switching gears.

The first step to checking your automatic transmission fluid is to make sure that you park your car on a level surface, make sure that you do not part your vehicle on a slant. Start the engine and place the car into park. Make sure that you read your owners manual concerning whether or not you need to leave you car on or off, different cars have different requirements.

You will now need to locate the dipstick for your ATF. You can find this item on the back of your engine, and it is normally shorter than the dipstick that is used to check your oil. That is the only difference; they pretty much look exactly the same. In some vehicle this process will be made easy for you because the ATF dipstick will be labeled.

Once you have the ATF dipstick, take a rag and remove any oil or other debris. Make sure that the dipstick is completely free before you stick it into your engine. Take the dipstick and place it into the specified area, make sure that you stick it all the way in. After a moment, completely remove the dipstick.

There may be two different lines on the ATF dipstick. One is for cold readings and the other one is for warm readouts, if this is how your dipstick is, read only the warm readout. However, if there is only one line, than take your information from this line. If the fluid does not reach the “Full” line, than you will need to at more fluid to your transmission by taking a funnel and placing it on the same hole you stuck the dipstick in. Make sure that you do not add too much fluid because removing excess ATF is a real pain. Only add a small amount and then use the dipstick to check the level until you are at “Full.”

If you have a newer car don’t be scared if you can’t find a dipstick. Some manufacturers have stopped adding dipsticks in new vehicles.

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