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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1,223
47
10
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Ronald

41 years of experience
301 reviews
Ronald
41 years of experience
Dodge Journey V6-3.6L - Transmission Fluid Service - Houston, Texas
He showed up, got right to work, and double checked a few things to make sure my car would continue to run smoothly.
Acura MDX - Transmission Fluid Service - Spring, Texas
Ronald arrived on time. He was quick and efficient. Transfer case, transmission fluid, and oil and filters completed!!

Luke

17 years of experience
150 reviews
Luke
17 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Transmission Fluid Service - Austin, Texas
Luke is very knowledgeable about automobiles and his professional, attitude, and personality are AAA+. Thanks for the great job Luke!
Ford Mustang - Transmission Fluid Service - Austin, Texas
Super friendly and helpful! Worked quickly and efficiently, and made sure that everything was solid before he left. Great mechanic!

Collins

12 years of experience
488 reviews
Collins
12 years of experience
Nissan Altima V6-3.5L - Transmission Fluid Service - Atlanta, Georgia
He was prompt and knowledgeable. Kept me informed throughout the process. Would highly recommend him again to anyone.
Buick Lucerne - Transmission Fluid Service - Atlanta, Georgia
Collins was great! He was very friendly and knowledgeable about the issues with my car. Thank you, Collins!

Jesse

16 years of experience
61 reviews
Jesse
16 years of experience
Nissan Altima L4-2.5L - Transmission Fluid Service - Daytona Beach, Florida
He was very knowledgeable. Told me what he would recommend and what can be held off. He did a great job on my car. Thank u Jesse
Dodge Stratus - Transmission Fluid Service - Daytona Beach, Florida
Jesse is an expert mechanic He arrived and started work right away. He performed his job in a professional manner, made repair recommendations that insures the upkeep of regular maintenance and safety. I appreciate his work very much.

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