ATF in 1990 Mercury Topaz

I have a 1990 Mercury Topaz. I’m trying to find the dipstick for the Transmission fluid and I think I may have found it. Since I do not have an owner’s manual, however, I wanted to check. The dipstick I found was near the front of the car engine on the right side(set low so that you have to look down into the area in front of the engine to see it). The fluid is pink, but I hear power steering fluid can be the same color as well. Does this sound like the right one? If I’m not clear enough, Is there a diagram somewhere on the net I can look at to see where it is? Thank you in advance for any help!~

We owned an 88 Topaz, so if I recall correctly, you have the dipstick for the AT. It may be painted yellow on top.

Your power steering reservoir is a screw cap with dipstick, so if you found only a dipstick it is either oil or AT. Pink fluid indicates AT. There might even be some markings on it that tells you what ATF to put in, or a Ford part # for ATF.

Thank you! Turns out that was the case. I put about a whole quart into that thing before it got up to the hatch marks on the stick. It really needed trans fluid. I was wondering why it was shifting so hard when I drove it and that’s when I decided to look for the dipstick for the fluid. Thank you again for your help.

I hope you checked the fluid warm, car running at idle, in Park or Neutral. Otherwise, you may have overfilled it. That amount of fluid loss should be visible around the pan gasket or somewhere else, given the age of the car and amount of fluid you replenished.

If you haven’t paid for an ATF fluid change-out (pan drop, filter & gasket replace w/new fluid) in the past 30K miles, it would pay to get one done, to extend the life of your transmission. The act of the pan drop might also provide some insights to the ATF usage, and possibly resolve it.

The car was warm and running (I drove home from the auto store). I would fill it a bit, get in the car and shift through the gears while holding the brake before getting back out to check the fluid again. The transmission shifting hard like it was happened pretty gradually (when it first started happening, I thought it was a quirk because the car was old…shows how much I know about cars). It’s a pity they don’t make depends for cars this old because I know mine needs it. I will make sure to have that checked though the next time I have the cash to take it in. It sucks being a poor college student. >_<

OK sounds like you did the right procedure. If it still gives you some trouble, or if you don’t need to do a pan drop and refill soon, try adding some transmission conditioner when it is low again. Sometimes the conditioner helps; sometimes not, but it doesn’t cost much to try.