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Adding tranmission fluid through the dipstick tube?

I was just doing some maintainence on my mother’s 2004 Outback. I drove it after new brakes and pads & I noticed it was making a “ting” like sound as I drove. It almost sounded to me like something was dangling in a wheel well and intermittently hitting the rotor as I drove - kind of like a mini gong. It also made an intermittent rapping (almost rattling) sound at low idle.

I read about the heat shields being known for rattling and checked under the car. I had to turn the car on to reproduce the rattling and found it so be coming the tranny fluid pan. I noticed the pan has fluid on it and checked thetranny fluid level - very low. So now I just want ot minimize damage here if possible. If I have to drive the car, can I just add tranny fluid through the dipstick tube and call it a day?

The only way to add transmission fluid to one of my cars is through the dipstick tube. But adding fluid won’t help if it just leaks out the bottom. It would be better to find a way not to drive the car until the leak is fixed and the rest of the car is inspected.

For an automatic be sure you follow the book ie. the owners manual. Check the fluid in neutral with the engine running. The levels are different for hot and cold. Do not add fluid if you do not follow the manual. Do not worry about the leak at this point. Just check the level for a few hundred miles. A small amount of fluid will look like a big mess. Your noises are not transmission noises.

This is good advice I probably should have mentioned in my earlier post- you don’t want to overfill the transmission. Follow the recommendations in the owner’s manual.

Aside from the noise, did the car drive well on your test drive?

If you haven’t already done so, you might want to lift and support the car and try turning each wheel to make sure the noise you heard isn’t actually coming from something that went wrong during the brake job. You sound pretty sure about the fluid pan, so I apologize if you’ve already checked out the wheels and brakes.

I checked everything up front and I am almost 100% sure the rapping noise is coming from the area of the tranny fluid pan. I did notice that the front right CV boot had a tear and grease had seeped out - do you think this could be the source of the "tinging’ noise I described? That noise does only happen while in motion.