Throughout the years we have all seen the rapid changes in the automotive industry. Today, most major automobile manufacturers are now eliminating the dipsticks from their automatic transmissions. By doing so, this makes it impossible for the technician, as well as the consumer, to check the fluid level and fill the transmission when needed.
According to the automobile manufacturer’s research, they claim certain percentages of automatic transmission failures are caused by consumers who over-fill and/or use the incorrect transmission fluids. It is important to remember never over-fill the transmission assembly and use the recommended manufacturer’s transmission fluid or equivalent. The other, more likely, theory is that by removing the dipstick, tube and all, a savings in production cost is achieved.
On automatic transmissions that do not have the dipstick to inspect or service the fluid, a fill plug and a drain plug is usually located either on the left side or right side, or on the pan of the transmission assembly, depending on the manufacturer. The fill plug is usually the plug that is located above the drain plug. By inspecting the fluid, the vehicle must be leveled and brought to operating temperature. When removing the fill plug, a slow steady stream of fluid indicates a filled system. If no fluid streams out, the transmission has to be filled. This is performed by adding fluid through the fill plug until a steady stream of fluid is accomplished. To assure that the fluid is at its correct level after filling, the steps as mentioned above must be met.
Below are some of the automatic transmissions that do not incorporate a dipstick.
5-SPEED 2004-UP ACURA TL, RL, RSX;
5L40/5L50E 2004-05 CADILLAC CATERA;
AISIN 81-40LE 2004-05 CHEVROLET AVEO;
4T40/45E 1997-UP CHEVROLET CAVALIER, COBALT;
42RLE 2005-UP CHRYSLER 300 3.5L 2WD;
NAG-1 2005-UP CHRYSLER 300 3.5L AWD;
AF33 2005-UP CHEVROLET EQUINOX;
5R55N/S/W 2005-UP FORD CARS;
AISIN RNJ 1998-05 ISUZU NPR DIESEL;
ZF-6SHP-26 2005-UP LINCOLN NAVIGATOR 5.4L;
5F31J 2004 MAZDA MPV W/5SPD;
N4AEL 2004 MAZDA MIATA;
AF23 2004-05 SATURN ION; and
4/5-Speed 2004-05 SATURN VUE.
Always refer to the automatic transmission repair manual for locations of the fill/drain plugs. For all other automatic transmissions not listed above that do not have a dipstick, refer to an automotive repair manual.
You can also e-mail ATP’s technical department by logging onto ATP’s website at www.atp-inc.com and click on the e-tech link.