Checking the Transmission Fluid

Auto mechanic inside garage standing by a car holding a tool

Do you know what your transmission does? If your knowledge of your transmission tops out at “something with gears” then you’re not alone. That’s where the service team at Ira Ford Saco comes in to help you out. We’re here to help you whenever you need your transmission fluid checked.

We’re fully committed to informing our clients in the Saco, Scarborough, and Portland, ME, areas about their vehicles—that’s why we made this quick guide. We’ll go over what transmission fluid is and it’s place in your vehicle, signs that may mean you need your fluid checked, and what will happen when we check it.

What Is Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid is leaking from carTo explain what transmission fluid is, we’ll first go over your transmission. When your engine creates power, it is raw, and it needs your transmission to refine it into usable power. Your transmission controls how much power goes to the wheels, and only sends as much power as needed. This is controlled by gears—or gear ratios if you have a CVT.

Transmission fluid, then, is the fluid that keeps your transmission running. You can think of it as similar to engine oil, where the fluid is designed to keep the internal components from creating excess heat and friction. Periodically, you need it checked or changed to ensure your transmission is working at peak efficiency.

Signs You May Need Your Transmission Fluid Checked

Ideally, you should be getting your transmission fluid checked once a month, but nobody is perfect.

The easiest way you’ll notice that you need your transmission checked is that your CHECK ENGINE light will come on. But that’s not to say that there aren’t other signs you should be aware of, you know your car better than anybody and if something doesn’t feel right, feel free to visit our service center.

If you’ve noticed your car, truck, or SUV having trouble changing gears or getting stuck in gear, then it could indicate low or dirty transmission fluid. Perhaps you’ve noticed a puddle under your vehicle, if it’s a red-ish color, that could be a transmission leak, which will necessitate a visit to us.

Although if you’ve noticed a puddle under your car, you should probably visit us anyway.

What Happens During a Transmission Fluid Check

Checking the Transmission FluidA transmission fluid check is also similar to checking your oil—the main difference being your oil is generally checked when the car is off and cool, and your transmission is checked when the car is on. When we check your transmission, your car will be turned on and idled on a flat surface, and we’ll take your dipstick out, wipe it down, slide it back in, then check the level.

Another important thing we’ll be able to check is the color of your fluid. Transmission fluid is typically red, but can come in green or blue, and if the color is still showing, then your fluid is still good. If it’s become more of a dark brown, you may need a transmission flush, and if black? You may be looking at a more costly repair.

Let Ira Ford Saco Help Check Your Transmission Fluid

Whether you’re on top of your transmission maintenance, or you can’t quite remember the last time you got your transmission fluid checked, the team at Ira Ford – Saco is here to help you out. If you’re in the Saco, Scarborough, and Portland, Maine, communities, visit us for all your basic maintenance.

Contact us to schedule your next service appointment today!

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