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Old 10-12-2005, 11:06 AM   #1
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Default Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level

What is correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level ('99 4-cyl) ?
The owner's manual suggests that the engine should be hot but shut off, although I have heard (shops and techs) suggest that the engine should be running at idle when checking the tranny fluid level. Which is really the best way ??
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Old 10-12-2005, 11:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (AnAccordIsForever)

doesnt really matter, as long as its heated up
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Old 10-12-2005, 11:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (AnAccordIsForever)

Engine off on a level ground. Cold engine or hot engine it does not matter.
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Old 10-12-2005, 11:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (Elvis1977)

autos ur supposed to run it through the gears tho
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (deftyes)

It's better to check the transmission fluid when the motor is warmed up, but it can be checked cold. The important part is the engine MUST be turnned off and on a level ground.
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Old 10-12-2005, 12:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (AnAccordIsForever)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnAccordIsForever
... I have heard (shops and techs) suggest that the engine should be running at idle when checking the tranny fluid level.
That's for most other cars. Honda is kinda wierd this way.

The owner's manual for my '98 is pretty clear about being warmed-up & turned off. When I check it cold, it measures a little higher on the dipstick, but not really too much different.
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Old 10-12-2005, 02:44 PM   #7
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you can check it running but considering where the dipstick is, I would advise against it (Low in the engine compartment and near the rad fans). The reason you can check it while the car is running on most american cars has to due with the dipstick being in an easily accessable location and away from moving parts of the engine
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Old 10-12-2005, 05:33 PM   #8
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get the car up to running temp, park on level ground, shut off car, and go check it, make sure its within the 2 dots
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Old 10-12-2005, 05:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: (YeuEmMaiMai)

Domestic cars have their own reasons for checking transmission fluid in park, or in neutral or with the engine running or not. It really doesn't make a difference to the user needing to check their level. The engine has to be stopped, not because the dipstick is near the fans or anything, but because Honda says so. They designed the dipstick to read accuratly with the engine off, so to get a proper reading you have to have the engine off.... it's that simple.
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Old 10-12-2005, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddiebx
get the car up to running temp, park on level ground, shut off car, and go check it, make sure its within the 2 dots
ur thinking of oil dipstick, the trans dipstick has like criss-cross groves on em
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: (goowakjai)

Quote:
Originally Posted by goowakjai
ur thinking of oil dipstick, the trans dipstick has like criss-cross groves on em
haha actually it really depends on the ttranny, my 6g v6 has dots, my 5g has the crosshatches
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Old 10-13-2005, 04:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: (Eddiebx)

Gentlemen, while I have your attention on the subject I'd like to ask one more question.
Recently I was experiencing deteriorating shift quality in the auto tranny - especially the downshift to first gear - so I was going to do a tranny fluid change. Before taking it to the shop I checked the fluid level and it seemed to be low - below the low mark. So bought a quart of Z1 and it took a good pint and a little more to bring the level up to the "upper" mark. After that the shift quality has improved considerably. I think its even smoother and quieter. The first gear downshift problem has not disappeared but reduced a lot.

Can a pint or so of less fluid make such a difference ? or do you think there is more to it ? The last tranny fluid service (just a simple drain refill) was done 10-12k miles ago. The color/quality of the fluid as it appears on the dipstick doesn't look bad.
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Old 10-13-2005, 06:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: (AnAccordIsForever)

The most important question is "How many miles are on the car"? Also, do you hear a slight clicking noise when downshifting into first gear?
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Old 10-13-2005, 12:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (AnAccordIsForever)

(wow! I had to wait to reply because I am not allowed more than 5 posts in 24 hrs!!)

Its at 77k miles now.

No I don't hear a click. The only time I hear a click (like a relay) is when I shift to R from P or N. And when I shift to D4 from N. And the click sound is very subtle.

Here's what I am experiencing, I will try to describe it as best possible -
When I am applying brakes and slowing down to stop, and finally when it downshifts into first gear it gives the feeling of being rear-ended lightly. Ofcourse the intensity of this "push" has reduced (but not gone compeletely) after the fluid fill.
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Old 10-14-2005, 05:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Correct way of checking auto transmission fluid level (AnAccordIsForever)

77k miles is very low miles. You car should be downshifting very smoothly with no "push". Here is what I suggest. Drain and fill your transmission fluid three seperate times with HONDA FLUID ONLY. In other words, drain the transmission fluid, fill back up to correct position on dipstick (car off and on level ground), and drive around about 1 mile. Repeat 2 more times. The car WILL shift more smoothly than before. Do not completely flush as some people suggest. Let me know what happens.

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Old 10-14-2005, 06:02 AM   #16
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u say a clicking when shifting from neutral to D4.....its an auto, why would you ever really have to do this? dont try to drive an auto like a manual, just keep it in D3 or D4, no real need for neutral man, unless your revvvvvving and pop it into D4 to burn out....but thats just plain stupid and would mess your tranny up
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Old 10-14-2005, 01:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: (jokestar)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jokestar
u say a clicking when shifting from neutral to D4.....its an auto, why would you ever really have to do this? dont try to drive an auto like a manual, just keep it in D3 or D4, no real need for neutral man, unless your revvvvvving and pop it into D4 to burn out....but thats just plain stupid and would mess your tranny up
No! I never do that. By 'neutral to D4' I meant when I am shifting it from P to D4 one step at a time then I hear a click on its way from N to D4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvis1977
Drain and fill your transmission fluid three seperate times with HONDA FLUID ONLY. In other words, drain the transmission fluid, fill back up to correct position on dipstick (car off and on level ground), and drive around about 1 mile. Repeat 2 more times. The car WILL shift more smoothly than before. Do not completely flush as some people suggest. Let me know what happens.
Elvis.
That is EXACTLY what I have in mind! Yes I am aware of this tranny's sensitivity to the flush and different fluids.
I read about this 3x drain refill process first in my Acura MDX's owners manual and since then I have been asking around if its ok to do this in the Accords auto tranny. Seems like a good alternative to the "flush".
Click the image to open in full size.
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