How to check manual transmission fluid (MTF)?
Transmission oil is a mixture of base oil and additives with very good anti-wear and anti-scoring properties and good stability to thermal oxidation. Manual transmissions use a variety of oils: regular motor oil, heavyweight hypoid gear oil or even automatic transmission fluid in some cases. Your owner's manual will tell you what your transmission calls for.
What does transmission fluid do?
The key function of transmission oil is to lubricate hypoid gears in manual and automatic transmissions for cars and trucks.
Did you know?
- Our transmission range for manual gearboxes is TRANSELF
- The best manual transmission fluid for cars is TRANSELF NFP 75W-80
- The best manual transmission fluid for trucks and buses is TRANSELF UNIVERSAL FE 80W-90
When to check transmission fluid?
It's important to regularly check the transmission fluid level between service intervals. Letting your car run low on transmission fluid can cause the transmission to shift improperly - or even not at all. It also can harm the internal parts of your transmission, which will not be properly lubricated. Unfortunately, you may not hear any noises or have other clues that your transmission is low on fluid, until it's too late.
How to check the manual transmission fluid level?
Checking transmission fluid is actually not so easy to do: indeed, the gearbox is not easily accessible without equipment and there is no straightforward system – such as an engine oil gauge – for determining oil levels.
Checking the transmission fluid level requires working under the hood of your car with the engine running. This can be very dangerous if you aren’t careful. You should therefore contact your garage mechanic in order to have it checked. They will have equipment for checking oil levels and topping it up if necessary.
If, however, you still wish to carry out this operation yourself, here is our advice:
To be done before the beginning of your transmission fluid check:
Get a cloth or a roll of paper towel.
Refer to your service manual to find out what transmission fluid your gearbox requires and how frequently it should be changed. The manual will also tell you where the filling cap is located.
Where is the transmission fluid dipstick?
On some cars, it is easy to mistake the transmission dipstick for the crankcase oil dipstick, so make sure you are clear on the location of your transmission.Look towards the back of the engine, near the firewall. This is where the transmission is located on most cars with rear-wheel drive.On cars with front-wheel drive, the transmission dipstick is usually located in the front of the engine, connected to the transaxle.
- How do you check transmission fluid – Step 1:
Park your car on a horizontal, stable surface. Disengage the clutch and apply the handbrake. Make sure the engine has been switched off for at least 2 minutes so that the oil is "resting" and at the bottom of the sump. If your car has been used for more than 30 minutes, allow the engine to rest for a few minutes so that the transmission fluid can cool down. This is important for your safety, as well as ensuring that the results are not biased.
- How to check your transmission fluid – Step 2:
Refer to your service manual to in order to locate the gearbox's filling cap and find out what type of spanner you need in order to unscrew it.
- How to check transmission oil – Step 3:
Open the filling cap and check transmission fluid level: it should be just beneath the cap. Given that there is no gauge, you may use a metal stem or screwdriver in order to probe the oil level and find out how high it is in the sump.
Note: the oil may also overflow. If this happens, then it is at the right level. Quickly replace the cap.
You can use a syringe to take an oil sample for analysis. However, we recommend that you get a professional to carry this out. Remember to screw the filling cap back on in accordance with the instructions in the user manual.
Manual transmission fluid top up
In order to top up the oil, you have to locate and unscrew the filling cap.
We recommend that you use a syringe or a special pump in order to gradually insert fresh oil into the gearbox sump.
Keep checking the oil level as described above in order to ensure that it does not overflow.