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You should check the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) dipstick as you would check the oil dipstick. There are 'marks' or 'indicators' on the ATF dipstick to show a low and high level. Typically, the ATF dipstick is located toward the rear of the engine compartment (near the passenger compartment) or lower on the engine, compared to the oil dipstick. If you are not sure which dipstick is which - ATF fluid is RED (fresh) or burgundy (used) in color, and Oil is a light beige (fresh) or black (used oil).

To check the fluid: First, drive the car several miles to 'warm it up.' After it is warm/hot, park the car and leave the engine running and check the fluid level on the dipstick. Some cars will show a 'cold' indicator on the dipstick, but all should show the warm/hot indicators on the dipstick - rule of thumb is to check when warmed up. If ATF fluid needs to be added, you pour it in where the dipstick goes. Be sure to get the proper ATF for your car (ATF III, ATF IV, etc). Information should be in the manual, or you can call your cars dealership 'Parts Department' and ask them (free of charge) which type is required by your car. After you add fluid, you want apply the brake and put the car in each gear, for several seconds each, and go back to park (Park - Reverse - Neutral - Drive - 2nd - 1st - 2nd - Drive - Neutral - Reverse - Park) Then, check the fluid level again and repeat if you need to add more fluid.

A car with a low ATF level can produce symptoms like: transmission slipping (going in and out of gear when driving, usually at low speeds), taking several seconds to get in to the gear after you shift in to a gear, or a 'whirring' noise coming from the transmission after you place it in a gear.

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Q: When do you know to add transmission fluid to car?
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