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The Importance of Regularly Checking Your Transmission Oil

Checking Your Transmission Oil Is Essential

Whenever you drive a car, one component that needs to be taken care of is the transmission since it is responsible for the smooth shifting of gears. This system is essential for the proper functioning of the car and without regular maintenance, your car’s transmission might begin to malfunction, leading to expensive repairs.

Therefore, it is crucial to check your transmission oil regularly. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why it’s important to check your transmission oil, the tools required to perform the task, and provide relevant information that will help you understand the process more effectively.

Why Checking Your Transmission Oil is Important

Checking your transmission oil is a critical aspect of maintaining your vehicle’s performance. Regular maintenance of your transmission can help you avoid costly repairs and extend your vehicle’s lifespan.

Inaccurate transmission fluid levels can lead to inadequate lubrication of transmission parts, which can lead to friction and wear. This, in turn, can lead to your transmission failing in the long run.

Moreover, if your transmission oil level is low, it can cause the engine to overheat due to increased friction. An overheating engine can cause several problems including warped cylinders and head gaskets.

Although you most likely won’t be able to detect any immediate problems with your car, you may end up having to pay a huge repair bill. Therefore, it’s wise to check your transmission oil regularly.

Tools Required to Check Your Transmission Oil

Checking a car’s transmission oil is relatively easy but requires the right tools for the job. Here are some items you need:

– Car jack and stands

– Clean rags or towels

– A calibrated dipstick or a specialized tool to check transmission oil

– A funnel

– Transmission fluid (optional if you need to add it)

Once you’ve gathered these items, you’re ready to check the transmission oil level.

How to Check Your Transmission Oil

Now that you know why checking your transmission oil is important and the tools required to do so, it’s time to check the transmission oil level. The process is simple, just follow these steps:

Step 1: Ensure that your car’s engine is running and the transmission is in neutral.

Step 2: Look for the dipstick that is typically located towards the back of the engine, near the firewall, with a red or yellow colored handle. Step 3: Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a towel or a clean cloth.

Step 4: Reinsert the dipstick into the transmission and push it in as far as it goes. Then, pull it out and check the fluid level.

Step 5: Make sure that the transmission fluid is within the “hot” or “cold” levels, indicated on the dipstick, as well as the owner’s manual. If the transmission fluid is below the required level, it’s essential to add some so that it’s within the safe range.

Step 6: While checking the transmission fluid, you should check its condition. If the Fluid is dirty, cloudy or has particles in it, you must replace the oil immediately.

If you need to add more fluid to the transmission, you can use a funnel to pour it in slowly. However, overfilling can lead to problems, so ensure you do so carefully without going beyond the recommended levels.


Regular maintenance of your car’s transmission system is essential in maintaining a healthy vehicle. It’s wise to check the transmission fluid level regularly to ensure that it’s not too low or too high.

This simple check could save you a lot of money in the long run by helping you identify problems early enough. Additionally, by following our guide on checking your transmission oil, you’ll be better equipped to identify any issues with your car’s transmission system quite quickly.

By prioritizing your car’s maintenance routine, you can extend its lifespan and prevent avoidable problems from occurring. How Often Should You Check Your Transmission Oil?

Checking your car’s transmission oil regularly is an essential aspect of maintaining your car’s transmission system. However, the recommended frequency of checking transmission oil levels can vary depending on several factors, including driving conditions, vehicle age, and its make and model.

Below are some guidelines on how often you should check your transmission oil. Manufacturer’s Recommendations

The first step in determining how often you should check your transmission oil is to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations in the car owner’s manual.

Most car manufacturers suggest checking the transmission oil every 30,000, 50,000, or 100,000 miles. However, it is recommended to check the oil level every 3,000 miles of driving, even if the owner’s manual recommends checking every 30,000 miles.

Driving Conditions

Driving conditions play a significant role in determining the frequency of checking the transmission oil. If you face extreme driving conditions, such as in heavy traffic, driving on off-road terrain, or excessive stop-and-go traffic, you should check the transmission oil more often.

Due to the added stress on the transmission, the oil is subjected to more frequent wear and tear than regular driving,

Age of Your Vehicle

The age of your car is also an essential factor that determines the frequency of checking the transmission oil. With age, the transmission system can become more susceptible to problems.

Therefore, it’s better to check the transmission oil levels more frequently for older cars to spot potential issues early.

Symptoms of Low Transmission Oil

It’s essential to check the transmission oil to ensure optimal performance of your car’s transmission system. Here are some symptoms to look out for if your car’s transmission oil levels are low:


Transmission Slipping

One of the most common signs of low transmission oil is a slipping transmission. If you experience a delay or jerk when shifting gears, it could be due to insufficient transmission fluid.

When transmission oil levels are low, it results in less hydraulic pressure, causing gears to slip. 2.

Burning Smell

If you smell something burning while driving, it could be an indicator of low transmission oil. An overheated transmission system could cause the burning smell, and inadequate fluid levels can cause the engine to work harder, leading to overheating.

3. Unresponsive Gear Shifting

If your car is unresponsive when you try to shift gears, it could be due to low transmission oil.

Inadequate fluid levels can prevent the transmission system from building the necessary hydraulic pressure to shift gears. Furthermore, difficulty shifting between gears is also a sign of low fluid levels.

4. Unusual Sounds

Low transmission oil levels can cause grinding or clunking noises while driving in low gears.

As a result of low oil levels, the transmission system fails to create enough hydraulic pressure, which might make it hard for the gears to engage properly.


Checking your car’s transmission oil levels is critical to maintaining your car’s performance. Ensure that you check your transmission oil levels regularly, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or owner’s manual.

Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of low transmission oil, such as slipping gears, burning smells, and unresponsive gear shifting. By paying attention to these signs, you can reduce potential damage to your car’s transmission system, as well as save yourself from spending excessive amounts of money on unnecessary repairs.

Keep your car’s transmission oil levels optimal, and it will pay dividends in the long run.

Different Types of Transmission Oils Used in BMW Cars

One critical aspect of maintaining your BMW car’s performance is understanding the different types of transmission oils available in the market and which one is appropriate for your car. Using the correct transmission oil for your BMW will help prevent premature wear and tear, and ensure optimal transmission system performance.

Here are some of the different types of transmission oils used in BMW cars. 1.

Dexron III

Dexron III is a type of transmission oil that is appropriate for use in most BMW cars. It is a semi-synthetic, multi-purpose automatic transmission fluid that is suitable for a range of automatic transmissions.

This type of oil is renowned for its excellent temperature stability and smoother shifting performance. 2.

Esso LT 71141

Esso LT 71141 is a specialized transmission oil utilized in some BMW models designed with a five-speed automatic transmission system. This oil is specific to BMW vehicles and is engineered to minimize fluid getaways.

The Esso LT 71141 provides superior protection to the transmission system, excellent resistance to corrosion, and extended service life. 3.

Shell M-1375.4

Shell M-1375.4 is a specialized transmission oil utilized in some BMW vehicles equipped with seven-speed automatic transmissions. This transmission oil is engineered to provide exceptional performance for ultra-low-viscosity transmission systems while ensuring exceptional stability during operation.

It has superior properties to protect the transmission system from wear and tear and ensure optimal performance.

How to Locate Your Transmission Oil Dipstick in a BMW Car

Before checking your car’s transmission oil level, it’s essential to locate the dipstick in your BMW. The location of the transmission dipstick on a BMW car can vary depending on the car model and transmission type.

However, most BMW models have a similar location for the dipstick. Below are some easy steps to locate your transmission oil dipstick in a BMW car.

Step 1: Pop your car’s hood

Locate the lever you use to open your car hood, usually located at the bottom right-hand side of the driving panel. Step 2: Look for the transmission oil dipstick

The transmission oil dipstick is typically located on the driver’s side of the engine, near the back of the engine bay.

The handle of the dipstick may be various colors, such as red, yellow, or blue. Step 3: Check the owner’s manual

If you can’t locate the transmission oil dipstick, it’s always recommendable to have a look at the owner’s manual to determine the exact location or ask your mechanic for assistance.


In summary, it’s crucial to understand the different types of transmission oils used in BMW cars and choosing the one that suits your car’s specific requirements. Using the appropriate transmission oil extends your car’s lifespan, maximizes transmission system performance, and minimizes repair costs.

Ensure that you locate the transmission oil dipstick in your BMW car so that you can regularly monitor the transmission oil levels to prevent damage to your car’s transmission system. If you have any doubts or concerns about the type of oil to use or checking the transmission oil levels, consult your BMW mechanic for further assistance.

What to Do If Your Transmission Oil Level Is Low

When you suspect that your BMW car’s transmission oil level is low, there are several things you ought to do to, including:

1. Check the Fluid Levels

The first thing you should do is check the fluid level to ensure its low.

If the level is low, it’s essential to add more transmission oil immediately. However, if the level is adequate, and you’re still experiencing transmission problems, it might be due to another issue that requires professional assistance.

2. Add More Transmission Fluid

If you identify that the transmission oil levels are low, you need to add more fluid.

You should pour the ATF (automatic transmission fluid) slowly and carefully into the transmission fluid reservoir to avoid overfilling, which could cause even more problems. 3.

Repair Any Leaks

If you see that the transmission oil level keeps decreasing, it could be a sign of leaks in your transmission system. If this happens, you will need to seek professional assistance to identify the root of the leaks and repair them.

How to Top Up Your Transmission Oil in a BMW Car

Your BMW car’s transmission system requires topups to optimize its performance. Here are some steps to follow to top up your car’s transmission oil.

Step 1: Park Your Car

Ensure that your car is parked on level ground and that the engine is off. Step 2: Locate the Transmission Oil Dipstick

Locate the transmission oil dipstick under the bonnet.

Step 3: Check the Transmission Fluid Level

Pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean with a towel, and reinsert it into the transmission fluid reservoir. Once it is pushed in as far as possible, pull it out again to get an accurate reading of the fluid level.

Step 4: Add Transmission Fluid

Use a funnel to add the transmission fluid slowly and carefully to the reservoir. Ensure you pour a small amount in and check the level again, then repeat the process until the level reaches the required level indicated on the dipstick.

Step 5: Check the Fluid Level Again

Once you’ve topped up the transmission fluid, reinsert the dipstick, wait for a few seconds, pull it out again, and check the fluid level. Check to see that it’s between the maximum and minimum levels marked on the dipstick.

Step 6: Close the Transmission Dipstick

Once you’re done checking the fluid level, make sure you push the dipstick back into place and secure it correctly. Ensure that it’s seated well, so no leaks occur.

Step 7: Start the Car and Check for Leaks

Start the car, let it idle, and then check for any leakage underneath where you filled the transmission fluid.


Maintaining optimal transmission oil levels is crucial to maintaining your BMW car’s performance. Once you identify that your car’s transmission oil levels are low, follow the steps outlined above to fill and top up the transmission fluid accurately.

Always remember to check your car’s fluid levels regularly, as regular checking helps ensure that you catch possible issues early. Doing so can save you thousands of dollars in transmission system repairs down the road.

Also, if you suspect other transmission problems, always consult your mechanic to avoid potential damage caused by any defects in the transmission system. Can You Change Your Transmission Oil Yourself?

Changing the transmission oil in your BMW car is a relatively complex task that requires knowledge and expertise in automotive maintenance. While some car owners may feel confident in performing their own maintenance tasks, it is generally recommended to have a professional mechanic handle the transmission oil change.

Here are a few reasons why it’s best to leave this task to the experts:

1. Specialized Tools and Equipment

Changing the transmission oil in a BMW car often requires specialized tools and equipment.

These tools may include a car jack, jack stands, a transmission fluid pump, and a torque wrench. Professional mechanics have access to these tools and are experienced in using them correctly, ensuring that the oil change is performed accurately and safely.

2. Knowledge of Transmission Systems

BMW cars have intricate transmission systems that vary between models.

Each transmission system requires a specific type of transmission oil, and the appropriate amount and viscosity must be used. A professional mechanic specialized in BMW vehicles will have the knowledge and expertise to identify the correct transmission oil and perform the oil change according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

3. Proper Disposal of Old Fluid

Disposing of used transmission oil responsibly is crucial for environmental reasons.

Oil that is not disposed of properly can contaminate the soil, water, and air. Professional mechanics have systems in place to collect and dispose of used fluid safely, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.

4. Maintenance Record and Warranty

When a professional mechanic performs the transmission oil change, they provide a maintenance record.

This record is valuable if you have a warranty or plan to sell your car in the future. It shows that the oil change was performed by a qualified technician, reinforcing the vehicle’s maintenance history and potentially adding value to the car.

How Often to Change the Transmission Oil in a BMW Car

The frequency of changing the transmission oil in a BMW car depends on various factors, including the specific model, driving conditions, and manufacturer recommendations. While BMW vehicles are generally known for their reliability and high-quality engineering, it is still necessary to follow a regular maintenance schedule to ensure optimal performance.

Here are some general guidelines for when to change the transmission oil in a BMW car:

1. Manufacturer Recommendations

The first and most essential reference for determining when to change the transmission oil is the manufacturer’s recommendations.

BMW typically suggests changing the transmission oil every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, but it’s essential to refer to the specific model’s owner’s manual for accurate information. Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance intervals helps maintain your BMW car’s warranty and ensures the transmission system’s longevity.


Driving Conditions

If you frequently drive in severe conditions such as stop-and-go traffic, extreme hot or cold temperatures, or towing heavy loads, it is advisable to change the transmission oil more frequently.

These conditions put additional stress on the transmission system, causing the oil to degrade faster. Regular oil changes can help prevent potential damage and ensure smooth operation.

3. Inspecting the Fluid

Even if you are following the recommended maintenance schedule, it’s a good idea to periodically inspect the transmission fluid to ensure its quality.

The fluid should be a clear, reddish color. If you notice any discoloration, an unusual smell, or contaminants such as metal particles or debris, it may be an indication that the transmission oil needs to be changed sooner than expected.


While it’s possible to change the transmission oil yourself, it’s generally recommended to have a professional mechanic perform this task. Professional mechanics have the necessary tools, knowledge, and experience to ensure the oil change is done correctly.

The frequency of changing the transmission oil in a BMW car depends on various factors, including manufacturer recommendations and driving conditions. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations and periodically inspecting the fluid can help maintain the longevity and optimal performance of your BMW car’s transmission system.

The Consequences of Running Low on Transmission Oil

Running low on transmission oil can have severe consequences for your BMW car’s transmission system. Transmission oil is essential for lubricating the transmission components, cooling the system, and maintaining the hydraulic pressure needed for smooth gear shifts.

When the transmission oil level is low, several issues can arise:

1. Increased Friction and Wear: Transmission oil serves as a lubricant for the moving parts within the transmission system.

When the oil level is low, there is insufficient lubrication, resulting in increased friction and wear on the gears, bearings, and other components. This can lead to premature wear and damage, reducing the lifespan of your transmission system.

2. Overheating: Transmission oil also plays a crucial role in dissipating heat generated by the transmission system.

When the oil level is low, there is not enough fluid to effectively cool down the transmission system. This can lead to overheating, which can cause significant damage to the transmission components, such as warping, metal fatigue, and burnt clutch plates.

3. Slipping Gears: Inadequate transmission oil levels can result in slipping gears.

This occurs when there is not enough hydraulic pressure to engage the gears properly. Slipping gears can lead to erratic gear shifts, delayed engagement, or difficulty in maintaining the appropriate gear ratio.

Continued use of a transmission with slipping gears can cause further damage and result in costly repairs. 4.

Increased Noise and Vibration: Insufficient transmission oil levels can result in increased noise and vibration during gear shifts. The lack of proper lubrication can cause the transmission components to rub against each other, leading to unwanted noise and vibrations.

These symptoms can signify more severe damage to the transmission system if the issue is not addressed promptly.

The Importance of Using Quality Transmission Oil in a BMW Car

Using quality transmission oil in your BMW car is crucial for maintaining the optimal performance and longevity of your transmission system. Here are some reasons why using quality transmission oil is essential:


Proper Lubrication: Quality transmission oils are specially formulated to provide the necessary lubrication to minimize friction and wear on transmission components. This helps maintain smooth gear shifts and reduces the risk of premature component failure.

2. Heat Dissipation: Quality transmission oils have excellent heat-dissipating properties.

They can effectively absorb and dissipate the heat generated during transmission operation, preventing overheating and potential damage to the transmission system. 3.

Cleaning and Protection: Some quality transmission oils contain detergents and additives that help clean and protect the internal components of the transmission system. These additives can help remove and prevent the buildup of sludge, debris, and varnish, ensuring the smooth operation of the transmission system.

4. Compatibility: BMW cars have specific requirements for transmission oil due to their unique transmission systems.

Using quality transmission oil ensures compatibility with the BMW specifications, which helps maintain optimal performance and minimizes the risk of potential issues. 5.

Extended Lifespan: Properly maintaining your transmission system and using quality transmission oil can help prolong its lifespan. Regularly changing the transmission oil and using high-quality products can prevent premature wear and damage, allowing your transmission system to operate efficiently for years to come.

It is important to note that using the manufacturer-recommended transmission oil and following the specified service intervals is crucial for maintaining your BMW car’s warranty. Using substandard or incorrect transmission oils could void your warranty and potentially lead to transmission system failures.


Running low on transmission oil can have severe consequences for your BMW car’s transmission system, including increased wear, overheating, slipping gears, and noise and vibration. It is crucial to use quality transmission oil to ensure proper lubrication, heat dissipation, cleaning, and compatibility with your BMW’s requirements.

Using quality transmission oil not only helps maintain optimal performance but also extends the lifespan of your transmission system. Regularly check the transmission oil level and adhere to manufacturer recommendations for changing the oil to keep your BMW’s transmission running smoothly.

How to Tell If the Transmission Oil Is Contaminated

Contaminated transmission oil can negatively impact the performance and longevity of your BMW car’s transmission system. It is crucial to be able to identify signs of contamination so that you can address the issue promptly.

Here are some indicators that the transmission oil may be contaminated:

1. Discoloration: Transmission oil is typically reddish in color when new.

If the oil appears dark or has a brownish hue, it may be an indication of contamination. Contamination can occur due to the presence of debris, dirt, or metal particles in the transmission system.

2. Unusual Smell: Healthy transmission oil should not emit a strong, burnt, or unpleasant odor.

If you notice a foul smell coming from the transmission fluid, it could be a sign of contamination or internal damage. Common causes of a foul odor include overheating, burnt clutch plates, or the presence of contaminants.

3. Presence of Sediment or Particles: When inspecting the transmission oil, you should examine it closely for any signs of sediment or particles.

Contaminants such as metal shavings, debris, or clutch material can cause a gritty texture in the fluid. These particles can contribute to increased friction and wear on transmission components.

4. Inconsistent Fluid Level: Contaminated transmission oil may lead to irregular changes in the fluid level.

If the oil level appears to be inconsistent or constantly dropping despite recent top-ups, it could be a sign of contamination. Contaminants can affect the fluid level and compromise the transmission system’s integrity.

5. Sluggish or Erratic Shifting: Contaminated transmission oil can impede the smooth shifting of gears.

You may notice delayed engagement, hesitant or jerky gear changes, or rough transitions between gears. The presence of contaminants can disrupt the hydraulic pressure necessary for optimal gear shifting.

If you observe any of these signs, it is crucial to take your BMW car to a professional mechanic for further inspection and necessary repairs. Prompt attention to contaminated transmission oil can prevent further damage and extend the life of your transmission system.

Pros and Cons of Changing Your Own Transmission Oil Versus Taking It to a Professional

Deciding whether to change your own transmission oil or seek professional assistance is a personal choice. Both options have their pros and cons, which should be considered before making a decision.

Changing Your Own Transmission Oil:


1. Cost-saving: Performing the oil change yourself can save money on labor costs associated with professional services.

2. Convenience: You have control over the timing and location of the oil change, eliminating the need to schedule and visit a repair shop.

3. Learning Experience: Changing your own transmission oil can provide a valuable hands-on learning experience about your vehicle’s maintenance.

4. Satisfaction: Successfully completing the task yourself can give a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.


1. Lack of Expertise: Changing transmission oil requires knowledge of the specific BMW model, transmission system, and oil specifications.

Inadequate knowledge or mistakes during the process could lead to further problems. 2.

Tools and Equipment: Performing an oil change requires specific tools and equipment, which may need to be purchased or rented if not readily available. 3.

Disposal Challenges: Proper disposal of used transmission oil can present challenges, as it is harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly. 4.

Voiding Warranty: Some car warranties may require professional maintenance records to remain valid. Changing the transmission oil yourself may void the warranty if not done according to manufacturer specifications.

Taking It to a Professional:


1. Expertise and Knowledge: Professional mechanics have the necessary expertise, knowledge, and experience to perform the transmission oil change accurately and efficiently.

2. Proper Equipment and Tools: Professionals have access to specialized tools and equipment required for the job, ensuring the oil change is done correctly.

3. Warranty Maintenance: Keeping proper maintenance records from professional services can help maintain your BMW car’s warranty validity.

4. Diagnostic Capabilities: Professional mechanics can also perform a thorough inspection of the transmission system, identifying any additional issues or potential concerns.


1. Cost: Seeking professional assistance for an oil change will incur labor costs, which can be more expensive than performing the task yourself.

2. Schedule Constraints: Booking an appointment and adhering to the service shop’s schedule may be less convenient than performing the oil change at your preferred time and location.

Ultimately, the decision to change your own transmission oil or seek professional assistance depends on your comfort level, knowledge, and access to the necessary tools. If you are confident in your abilities and have the required knowledge and tools, changing the oil yourself can be a cost-effective option.

However, if you lack experience or are unsure about the process, it is advisable to seek professional help to ensure the job is done correctly and to prevent potential damage to your BMW’s transmission system.

Common Issues That Arise From Failing to Check or Change Transmission Oil On Time

Neglecting to check or change your BMW car’s transmission oil on time can lead to various issues that affect the performance and longevity of your transmission system. Regular maintenance and timely oil changes are essential to prevent the following common issues:


Increased Friction and Wear: Transmission oil acts as a lubricant for the complex mechanical components inside the transmission system. When the oil breaks down or becomes contaminated over time, it loses its ability to lubricate effectively.

This can lead to increased friction and wear on gears, bearings, and other parts, causing premature damage and reducing the overall lifespan of the transmission system. 2.

Slipping Gears: Without sufficient transmission oil, the hydraulic pressure required to engage the gears properly is compromised. This can result in slipping gears, where the transmission fails to maintain a consistent gear ratio.

Slipping gears can cause decreased acceleration, a loss of power, and difficulties when climbing hills or towing loads. 3.

Overheating: Adequate transmission oil is necessary to dissipate heat generated by the transmission system during operation. When the oil level is low or contaminated, it diminishes the system’s ability to cool itself.

This can lead to overheating, which can cause significant damage to internal components, such as warping of gears, burnt clutch plates, or damage to the transmission cooler lines. 4.

Rough and Erratic Shifting: Insufficient or contaminated transmission oil affects the smooth transition between gears, resulting in rough and erratic shifting. This can manifest as delayed engagement, jerky gear changes, or slipping when accelerating.

Such issues impact the overall driving experience, making it less comfortable and p

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