How to Check Manual Transmission Fluid

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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.


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Recent Transmission Fluid Service reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Transmission Fluid Service Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

967

Rating Summary
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Torrieanto

11 years of experience
522 reviews
Torrieanto
11 years of experience
Volkswagen Jetta - Transmission Fluid Service - Saint Petersburg, Florida
Torrieanto was very polite and efficient. My fiance was home while Mr. Torrieanto was working on the car. He was very nice and did a great job. I'm so glad to have my car back working. I appreciate everything Mr. Torrieanto did for me. I will definitely be booking him for ANY and ALL further work to be completed on my car. He was very skilled with my Jetta. I'm glad I found this website and Mr. Torrieanto. I will suggest him to ANYONE and EVERYONE looking for work done on their car!
Buick Verano - Transmission Fluid Service - Largo, Florida
Excellent! Torrieanto is very personable and EXTREMELY knowledgeable! I thought I knew something about cars, but not like this guy! His work is very clean and efficient, and I will definitely ask for him when I next need work done.

Stephen

31 years of experience
29 reviews
Stephen
31 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala - Transmission Fluid Service - Broomfield, Colorado
Stephen arrived early for my appointment. He is very knowledgeable, professional, and personable. He went right to work on my car that was needing a transmission fluid change and was very thorough and careful about the process. He did an excellent job, cleaned up after he was finished. There wasn't one drop of transmission fluid on my garage floor when he was finished with the job. Stephen gave me a report about the inspection of my car and of what he found out about the health of the transmission. I will most certainly have Stephen back again when my vehicle needs to have a repair in the future. Great job!
Acura TL - Transmission Fluid Service - Denver, Colorado
Midas tried to say I needed the idle air control valve replaced after they put in my catalytic converter, although you just replaced it. Either way hopefully it will pass emissions.

Eduardo

18 years of experience
355 reviews
Eduardo
18 years of experience
Cadillac DeVille - Transmission Fluid Service - Houston, Texas
Mr. Eduardo, was very professional, knowledgeable and Friendly. He explained everything he was going to repair on the car very carefully. He spoke well and clear. We felt comfortable talking with Eduardo. We trusted him.

Lucas

20 years of experience
862 reviews
Lucas
20 years of experience
Kia Spectra - Transmission Fluid Service - North Hollywood, California
Lucas did a very good job. He is very knowledgeable and made sure he had the right parts for the job.

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