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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Theodore

17 years of experience
1794 reviews
Theodore
17 years of experience
Ford Fusion L4-1.6L Turbo - Transmission Fluid Service - Lynnwood, Washington
Once again. Theodore, fast, efficient, and effective. A professional mechanic with vast experience. I would recommend 10/10.
Mitsubishi Lancer - Transmission Fluid Service - Bellevue, Washington
He is quick, efficient! Reached well before appointment time. Completed my service for old change, transmission fluid change, brake fluid flush, tire rotation in 2 hours! Didn't talk alot, or oversell more services. I would highly recommend Theodore!

Greg

23 years of experience
624 reviews
Greg
23 years of experience
GMC Terrain V6-3.0L - Transmission Fluid Service - Mesa, Arizona
Great mechanic. Greg does good work and he explained everything in terms that I understood. Would definately recommend!
Mercedes-Benz C250 - Transmission Fluid Service - Laveen, Arizona
Omg I would give him a  if I wa able to! He is so thorough honest and very professional! I am so glad I chose you all to maintain my car. I have referred 3 of my friends! Greg is my Guy I will like to have each anytime I need repairs!! Thank You Greg for EVERYTHING!! I really appreciate all you done! And then some! Stay Safe!

Andrew

16 years of experience
657 reviews
Andrew
16 years of experience
Ford Mustang V6-3.8L - Transmission Fluid Service - Portland, Oregon
Andrew was on time, polite, knowledgeable and I had avery good experience all in all. He did beautiful work and I would definitely recommend him to friends and family.

Michael

22 years of experience
391 reviews
Michael
22 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 L4-2.5L - Transmission Fluid Service - Montclair, California
It was a pleasure having Mike work on my car. He went above and beyond to make sure I was completely satisfied. I would not hesitate to hire Mike to work on your car. He’s honest, knowledgeable, reliable, and very friendly. He’s everything you would want your mechanic to be. I highly recommend Mike. Thanks!

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