How to check transmission fluid without a dipstick?

How to check transmission fluid without a dipstick?


Checking transmission fluid is an essential part of maintaining a vehicle’s performance and longevity. Typically, this is done by using a dipstick to measure the fluid level and inspect its condition. However, some newer car models are designed without a dipstick, making it a bit more challenging for owners to perform this task. In this article, we will explore alternative methods to check transmission fluid without a dipstick.

Method 1: Manufacturer’s Guidelines

When a vehicle is manufactured without a dipstick, the first and most reliable method to check the transmission fluid is by referring to the owner’s manual. The manufacturer provides specific instructions on how to check the fluid level and condition for such models. The manual will outline the steps to be followed, including locating the fill plug, warming up the engine, and using a specific tool or procedure to determine the fluid level accurately.

Method 2: Fluid Level Sight Glass

Some vehicles without a dipstick are equipped with a fluid level sight glass. This is a transparent window located on the side of the transmission case. To check the fluid level using this method, the engine must be running and warmed up to operating temperature. The sight glass will display the fluid level, typically marked with “full” and “low” indicators. If the fluid level is below the “full” mark, additional fluid may need to be added.

Method 3: Temperature Sensor

Another method to check transmission fluid without a dipstick is through a temperature sensor. Some vehicles have a temperature sensor built into the transmission, which can provide an indication of the fluid level. This method requires a diagnostic tool that can read the transmission temperature. By comparing the temperature reading to the manufacturer’s specifications, it is possible to determine if the fluid level is within the recommended range.

Method 4: Professional Inspection

If the above methods are not available or if you are unsure about performing the checks yourself, it is recommended to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic or dealership. They have the necessary tools and expertise to accurately check the transmission fluid level and condition. They can also provide any necessary maintenance or repairs if any issues are detected during the inspection.


While checking transmission fluid without a dipstick may seem daunting, it is still possible to ensure the proper maintenance of your vehicle’s transmission. By following the manufacturer’s guidelines, utilizing fluid level sight glasses, temperature sensors, or seeking professional assistance, you can effectively monitor and maintain your transmission’s health.


– Car and Driver:
– Edmunds:
– Popular Mechanics:
– Your Vehicle’s Owner’s Manual