Automatic Transmission no dip stick

This really has to do with most modern cars that don’t have auto transmission dip sticks. My dealer recommends changing the transmissionffluid at 60,000 miles. But no mention in my owners manual. With no dip stick, how do they fill up the transmission after draining? Is this a scam?

Not a scam. The dealer gave good advice. Just because you don’t see a dipstick does not mean there is no way to fill and check the level of the transmission.


Not a Scam and yes it can be done. As a matter of fact most of the mechanics here say change the transmission fluid every 30000 miles. Your transmission may have a plug on the side .

Refilling a transmission without a dipstick can be a real pain.

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Yes, I’ve heard that different transmissions have different procedures. And some of the procedures get pretty intricate.


The vehicles without a dipstick require you to add fluid from the bottom/side . . . I’m not going to get into the specifics, because it would take too long . . . and then operate the transmission, go through all the gears and check the fluid level at a specific temperature

The “specific temperature” part is where it gets really tricky

Some manufacturers specify a temperature which can easily and quickly be reached with the car on the hoist

Others . . . I’m thinking of some Fords . . . specify a temperature which most definitely can’t be reached with the car idling on the rack. We’re talking a temperature so high that it takes about 15 minutes or so of very spirited driving on the freeway to achieve. Then you head back to the shop, put the car back on the rack, and check fluid level again, adding or draining fluid as needed. Draining fluid isn’t a big deal, but adding is. And the car’s running while you check the fluid or add/drain . . .

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OK, thanks. The dealer wants $250.00 plus shop material. Amco wants $150. Is the dealer worth the extra $100.00?

We can assume the dealer will use the correct fluid

Will AAMCO do that . . . or use some jack of all trades fluid that covers everything under the sun?


They use a transmission flush machine.



I can almost guarantee that AAMCO will call you and say you need a new transmission even if you don’t .


On my Pontiac there is an access plug down by the axle someplace but I’ve never found it. The trans shop says they pump the fluid through the hole until it seeps out. Of course car is level and fluid temp is important.

I was thinking the same thing on AAMCO. Is your transmission worth $100?

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All Automatics Must Come Out.

Click on “Mechanics Files” at the top of this page or use to find an independent, non-franchise shop.


My experience with Cottman at 2 locations leaves me thinking they are as bad as any franchise regarding unnecessary work and empty warranty promises.

Aamco and cottman are owned by the same company.

I assume that Lee Myles and Mr. Transmission are not owned by the same company, but they are equally bad news.

If the OP wants a shop with actual transmission expertise–but without the likelihood of telling him that he needs a transmission overhaul when he really doesn’t-- he should seek an independent trans shop in his area that has been in business for at least 3 years. Ask friends, co-workers, neighbors and relatives for the names of indy trans shops that they have used.

Absolutely. Even if their price was $200 higher, I’d trust the dealer shop over a company like AAMCO any day of the week. You can be sure that the dealer will use the correct fluid, an OEM filter, and an OEM gasket, wheras AAMCO is likely to use a flush machine and refill with a “universal” transmission fluid.


I have a Kia optima. the dealer connects a machine to the cooler lines and flushes the system with new fluid. about 250 bucks I think. Same with Toyota. I’ve changed both. On the kia (close to hyundai), you take off the skirt on the bottom (on ramps) and remove the drain plug on the bottom of the trans (24mm). About 3.5 quarts flow out. Clean the magnetic drain plug. The fill plug is the vent in the top engine compartment near the battery. I have to take the scoop out, the hose connecting next to it and then open the vent with a socket extender bar. Fill it with a funnel slowly as it “burps”. Takes about 30 minutes to fill slowly. Whole procedure is 2 hours. Only does about 50% of the 7 qts of fluid in the system. I buy new washers for the drain plug.

I’ve been scammed by Mr. Transmission in georgia so be careful. $1500 lost and they didn’t replace the $3 part causing the problem.


this was in early 1990’s on a pontiac grand am. They tore the trans apart and showed me filings. It wasn’t shifting into the lockup gear (overdrive). They charged me 1500 and didn’t fix it. I went to a reputable place and they said Mr. Transmission gave them a lot of business. It was some switch ($3) and all was fixed. Many took Mr. T to small claims court in that town.

Well our BMW 740 IL didn’t have a dipstick either, the procedure was essentially put back in the same amount that came out! But that just addressed the amount that comes out of the pan and doesn’t address the converter fluid. There would be a procedure in the MB shop manual. A good independent transmission shop in your area or the MB either one can help you.