How to Check Manual Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is an important fluid in your car and needs to be topped up on a regular basis. If your transmission fluid is leaking, it can cause damage to your engine.

Checking the transmission fluid in a manual transmission car is slightly different than for those with automatic transmissions. Manual transmissions consist of internal gears, bearings, and synchronizers that are allow the driver to shift gears. Many manual transmissions are lubricated with a heavy petroleum-based oil. When this oil breaks down, its lubricating properties break down, which can make it harder for the driver to get the transmission into gear.

Part 1 of 1: Checking manual transmission fluid

Materials Needed

wheel chocks placed around tire

Step 1: Position the wheel chocks. Place the wheel chocks around the rear tires.

car being lifted with floor jack

Step 2: Jack up the vehicle. Using the hydraulic floor jack, lift the front of the vehicle one side at a time at the manufacturer’s suggested jacking points. Lift it just high enough for you to gain clearance underneath.

jack stand placed under vehicle

Step 3: Secure the vehicle with jack stands. Place the jack stands under the manufacturer’s lifting points and lower the vehicle onto the jack stands.

filler plug circled

Step 4: Locate the fluid fill plug. Most of the time, the filler plug is a large bolt located about halfway up the side of the transmission.

person removing filler plug with ratchet and socket

Step 5: Remove the filler plug. Using the ratchet and the socket that fits snug on the filler plug, remove the filler plug.

Step 6: Check the fluid level. Check the fluid level per the manufacturer's specifications from a repair manual.

person using finger to check the plug

Most of the time, the level of a manual transmission is checked by placing your finger into the filler plug hole and seeing if you get some fluid onto the end of your finger. If you don’t, then the fluid is low. If there is fluid at that level, then no additional fluid is needed.

fluid pump being used to add the fluid

Step 7: Add the transmission fluid. Using the fluid pump, add fluid into the transmission through the filler plug.

Recheck the fluid several times until it is at the proper level.

replacing filler plug

Step 8: Replace the filler plug. Reinstall the filler plug and tighten it to manufacturer’s specifications.

lowering down vehicle on jack

Step 9: Lower the vehicle. Using the floor jack, lift the vehicle one side at a time and remove the jack stand. Then lower the vehicle to the ground.

Staying on top of your transmission fluid can save you from experiencing later transmission problems, so it is well worth knowing how to check and replace this fluid. However, if you are not familiar with the type of system your vehicle has or if you are not comfortable replacing the transmission fluid yourself, then you should consult the assistance of a certified mechanic, like one from YourMechanic. If you’re in doubt about how frequently to check your transmission fluid, you can look up your car to find out more about when your car needs to be serviced.


Next Step

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Recent Transmission Fluid Service reviews

Excellent Rating

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Rating Summary
1,060
41
10
7
12
1,060
41
10
7
12

Theodore

16 years of experience
1355 reviews
Theodore
16 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Transmission Fluid Service - Seattle, Washington
Stand out honesty and professionalism. I have been "using" Theo as my mechanic for about 6-7 years now through YourMechanic - he is hands down the BEST! . This is the second car I have had he has worked on. He saved me a few times before with an older Jeep, now I have an older Camry. For me honesty is 100% most important thing about a mechanic - He is always super honest about what I need and don't need. It's refreshing to hear "your car is in excellent shape, as long as you keep up your maintenances, it will keep going for many years" even when it is 8 years old with 113,000 miles. Today I got tons of maintenance done in preparation for a cross country trip (transmission fluid change, oil change, air filter etc.). I didnt even know my headlight was out. He did all the services booked, then he found fuses blown that I didnt know about, replaced 1 that he had on hand, showed me exactly what I needed to get for a different part, where it was, how I could do it myself, and how to find everything in the car. He communicates very well - nothing is weird or hard to understand, he's totally honest and will tell you "I don't think you need that yet" or "you need to do this - it really is going to break". Before he leaves, he asks you to check everything and make sure everything is okay.. he's all around quality. I have had other mechanics who just wanted to get you our of their space ASAP, he is not like that at all. Easy thumbs up - I recommend him to anyone who asks me about a mechanic.
Toyota Sequoia - Transmission Fluid Service - Bothell, Washington
Theodore once again did not disappoint. We had scheduled a lot of services to be done on our Sequoia and he finished it all within the estimated time. I would highly recommend him.

Michael

4 years of experience
101 reviews
Michael
4 years of experience
BMW 750Li - Transmission Fluid Service - Carmel, Indiana
Excellent first experience with this service. Mike was great. I will be requesting him for any future work.
Ford E-350 Econoline - Transmission Fluid Service - Fishers, Indiana
Michael arrived on time, was professional and friendly, and did a thorough job. He is extremely knowledgeable and helpful when you ask questions. 10/10 highly recommended his services.

Kevin

24 years of experience
395 reviews
Kevin
24 years of experience
Chevrolet C1500 Suburban - Transmission Fluid Service - Stone Mountain, Georgia
Kevin was great, once he got here and hand him the keys. He parked vehicle on flat surface and was done and a pretty good speed.

William

34 years of experience
301 reviews
William
34 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Transmission Fluid Service - Sun City, Arizona
Showed up early and took the time to point out and explain different things. Would definitely recommend William.

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