Help Reading Transmission Dipstick

This is kind of a noob question, but I just wanted to be sure. I have a 2005 Camry, automatic transmission. U250E. The car is off but hot, not cold. Looking at the dipstick the red coloring seems to stop right at the first notch in the dip stick for hot. So I think I’m fine? I noticed the red coloring on the oil stuck to the dip stick is darkest at the bottom and slowly gets lighter as it goes up the dipstick. Thanks for double checking me.

How many miles?

Many automatics are checked with engine running, transmission in park. Check your owner’s manual for the correct procedure for your car.


And so is this one . . .

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I figured. OP said the car was “off” when he checked it.

As you pull the dipstick out, the fluid falls from top to bottom so it’s thicker on the stick at the bottom.


Here’s dip stick with car on at operating temperature with car in park. It was a little low so I added more.

I think it looks ok? I have a hard time reading it because the oil clings to it way up the dip stick but is very light in color.

You should be checking it with the car on level ground, hot, engine running in park, after shifting through all the gears

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ok thanks i had drove around only in Drive, and then reverse, I’ll shift around through all the gears and try again.

This is what I got, after driving around, shifting through all gears, with the car in park, flat surface, car running. Does it look ok?

After you’re done driving, leave the engine running, apply the parking brake, keep your foot on service brake, pull shifter down to first (or low) leave if there for 30 seconds, then move up one position and repeat, continue repeating until you get to Park. Check the fluid at that point, with the engine running. Did you use the correct fluid?

Thanks for the help. I went to get some gas then pushed the break pedal down, and pulled up the brake, I then went to the lowest gear and stayed at it for 30 seconds. I then switched to the next gear, and repeated this process until I got to “P”, I then attempted to read the transmission level with the car still running, see picture. It looks like the red film stops in the “HOT” area so I think it’s ok? I used a fluid that meets the specifications of Type T, T-II, T-III, T-IV, so yes. U250E transmission requires type T-IV from what I found online. Thanks for the help!

Here’s a close up, to me it looks like the red film stops about right here. Do you guys agree with my reading?

The oil level is within specs, you are fine.

Keep it at the top mark. Even a little over that mark will not hurt a thing.

What I might be concerned with is the comment that the fluid is darker at the bottom than at the top. That could mean the lower part of the fluid has more sediment in it than the upper level. Sediment meaning clutch material, oxidized fluid, etc.

Has the transmission fluid on this car ever been changed?

thanks i just wanted to be sure because I was having difficulty reading it. Yes it’s been changed twice as far as I know, one done recently. I’m afraid that the last time it was done, not enough was poured into the transmission, I’m not sure I have difficulty reading the dip stick. But it’s good to hear that I’m within spec now, I found it a bit hard to read the dip stick. I haven’t heard any winding sounds, or had trouble shifting, so I hope everything is ok. Thanks for the help everyone.

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