Doesn’t have a dipstick? You may have to visit a garage and a technician to check the transmission fluid without a dipstick.. The average vehicle owner doesn’t have the skills and facility to perform the job. In transmissions without a dipstick, the oil level plug is at the side of the transmission. The level plug is only reachable from underneath the vehicle. Most modern transmissions use high-quality world standard (WS) fluids, eliminating the periodic inspection or top-up requirements. WS lubricants are considered filled for life.

Due to oil leak or some other reasons, if you must check the manual transmission fluid, follow the instructions:

Step 1: Lift the vehicle to find a level plug

How to Check Transmission Fluid Without Dipstick
Check Transmission Fluid Without Dipstick

It is easy to check the fluid level in a transmission with a dipstick. In vehicles without a dipstick, you have to lift the car to reach the level plug. In a garage or service center, lift the car with a hydraulic lifter with due safety SOPs. Find the oil level plug that is usually in the center of the transmission. Consult the vehicle manual for the exact location.

Step 2: Check the transmission fluid level

Depending upon the type, you may need an Allen key or a spanner to Open the screw. Be careful, remove the plug slowly, and don’t leave the hole completely open. Sometimes oil can seep from the plug hole. If transmission oil is not seeping through the hole, check it with a finger. Insert the finger inside the oil plug and try to touch the fluid. If oil is not there, the transmission oil level is low.

Step 3: How to add transmission fluid?

Always use manufacturer-recommended transmission fluid. Wrong oil may lead to costly repairs or equipment damage. Check the owner manual if not sure or have doubts. Use the same plug hole to top up or fill the transmission oil. Slowly fill the oil until it has reached the edge and seeping through the level plug hole. Transmission is full of oil when it is just below the plughole. If oil is continuously coming out of the plug, consider it overfilled. Drain the extra oil until the oil is just seeping through the hole

Signs of low transmission fluid in manual transmission:

  1. Grinding noise while gear shifting
  2. Transmission slips during driving
  3. Transmission shifts roughly
  4. Noisy transmission
  5. Burning smell from the transmission fluid
  6. Oil leaking or oily spot underneath the vehicle 

Signs of low transmission fluid in automatic transmission:

  1. No drive engagement both in forward or reverse
  2. Transmission slips while driving
  3. Rough transmission shifts
  4. Noisy transmission, like it’s whining or humming
  5. Burning smell from the transmission fluid
  6. Oil leaking, check for red fluid spots underneath the vehicle after overnight parking