Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) Condition Inspection

1. Inspect the ATF for the following to determine whether the transmission should be disassembled.

• The ATF is muddy.

• The ATF smells strange or unusual.

ATF Condition


Possible cause

Clear dark red
Light red (pink)
Contaminated with water
• Damaged oil cooler inside of the radiator
• Poor filler tube installation:
Problem could occur to parts inside the transmission by water contamination. It is necessary to overhaul the transmission and detect defected parts.
If necessary, replace the transmission.
Reddish brown
Has burnt smell and metal specs are found
Deteriorated ATF
Defective the powertrain components inside the transmission:
Particles cause wide range of problems by plugging up in oil pipe, control valve body and oil cooler in radiator.
• When large amount of metal particles are found, overhaul the transmission and inspect for defective parts.
If necessary, replace the transmission.
• Implement flushing operation as there is a possibility to have particles plugging up the oil pipe or oil cooler inside the radiator.
Has no burnt smell
• Discoloration by oxidation

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) Level Inspection

• The ATF amount varies according to ATF's temperature. Therefore, when inspecting the ATF level or replacing the ATF, use a thermometer to measure the temperature then adjust the ATF amount to the specified level according to the specified temperature.

1. Place the vehicle on level ground.

2. Apply the parking brake and position wheel chocks securely to prevent the vehicle from rolling.

3. Adjust the length of the thermistor probe measure to the measure same as the dipstick and hold the probe with a paper holder.

4. Insert into the filler tube and measure the temperature.

5. Warm up the engine until the ATF reaches (60-70 °C {140-158 °F}).

• Do not warm the transmission by stall speed test. This will damage the torque converter.
• In some cases it may be necessary to inspect the ATF in the cool range 15-25 °C {59-77 °F} before warming up the engine.

6. While depressing the brake pedal, shift the selector lever to each range (P-D), pausing momentarily in each range.

7. Shift back to the P position.

• If the ATF level is too high or too low when the engine is hot, the following malfunctions may occur.

ATF level



Too low
Line pressure is lower than the specification.
Air in the transmission oil passage causes slipping or damages clutch mechanism.
Too high
ATF is hot.
ATF deterioration causes slipping clutch or stuck valve.

8. While the engine is idling, verify that the ATF level is in the HOT (65 °C {149 °F}) range. Add the specified type of ATF if necessary. (See AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID (ATF) REPLACEMENT.)

ATF type
ATF M-III or equivalent (e.g. DexronII)