Check Automatic Transmission Fluid Level (Engine Running or Stop)?

When we measure motor oil fluid level, we have to turn off the engine.

Automatic transmission fluid dip-stick has 2 marks: cold and hot. Some people say to take the reading while engine is running. Depends on the temperature of the engine, get the reading from cold or hot. Some people say to take the reading when engine is off. Which one is correct?

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You need to have the engine running in order to accurately measure your transmission fluid. There are also two measurements that need to be taken one with the car at cold temperature (usually in the morning when you first turn your car on) and the other measurement should be taken once the car reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can buy a infrared thermometer at you local parts store but for the most part you can just go by the built in thermometer in the car ( the one by you gas/oil gauges). Both reading are important but the "hot" reading matters a little bit more so make sure that one is on point even if it affects the cold reading by just a bit

    Source(s): Experience
  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    How To Check Transmission Fluid

  • 9 years ago

    The automatic transmission fluid level is different than oil, you DO want to check it with the engine running, and the trans in park (neutral for some vehicles).

    EDIT: Anyone telling you to check ATF level with the engine off has no idea what the **** they are talking about. The automatic transmission has its own fluid pump that has to fill the torque converter before an accurate fluid level can be seen.

    Source(s): Personal Experience. ASE certified mechanic
  • 9 years ago

    This will vary widely depending on the exact make, model, and year transmission.

    I very general terms you check the transmission fluid when it is at full operating temperature, with the engine idling, with the gear selector in neutral, but some models require the gear selector in park.

    Your owner's manual will have instructions. Follow the owner's manual and you won't go wrong. If you lost your owner's manual you could always call the nearest dealer that sells your make car and ask for the service department. They would be happy to tell you how to check the transmission fluid level.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 5 years ago

    I m going to ask this to any a***ole engineers who design auto transmissions.

    "Why does the engine have to be warm and run thru all the gears?"

    "Why didn t you (engineers) check the oil level after running warm and run thru the gears check that the oil level is correct then turn off the car let it sit and check the engine cold. Then put marks on the dipstick that show the fluid level hot and the fluid level cold?" Too much work or just lazy?

  • 9 years ago

    to check the engine oil the engine has to be turned off and parked on a level surface ! the transmission fluid should be checked when the engine is warmed up, leave it running and parked on a level surface ! myself i always check my transmission fluid when the engine is all warmed up ! if it,s low then fill it to the last line !

  • To answer the question correctly, we need more info on the car such as year make and model. That by itself changes the answer. Part of the answer is marked on the dipstick also. Molar is checked with the trans in neutral and at running temp. Honda and accurate, hot but engine off. Ford and GM are both checked in park, running and hot once again. Most of the imports aside from what I mentioned are all checked hot and running.

  • 9 years ago

    You wake up in the morning, go out and start the car, the transmission is cold, check it running and use the COLD line.

    Take the vehicle to the store instead, drive back, transmission is warmed up, check it running and use the hot line.

    Your choice, before or after you take it for a drive, but always running, and most say in neutral.

  • 9 years ago

    yes and no.

    you can check it while the engine is cold....and check the cold marks on the dipstick..

    or you can check it when the engine has reached operating temperature and the car has been driven 15 minutes....then park the car, gear in "P", move shift stick in all gears and finish in "P", with the engine running...check warm level.

    if you still have doubts, check the owners manula of the should have that procedure in the do it yourself section.

    good luck

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.