Why Would a Manual Transmission Auto Not Have a Dip Stick?


Quick Answer

Manual transmission autos do not have dip sticks because the fluid must be checked using the fill plug that is found by hoisting the vehicle on a lift or on jack stands. Unlike the ease of popping the hood and just checking the fluid level, the procedure is more complicated and can be messy. The check should only be done by a professional unless the owner is car savvy and has the proper equipment.

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Full Answer

Getting the vehicle in position is much easier using a lift. The car is driven onto the platform, the lift plates adjusted and the lift elevated, usually hydraulically. To get a car on car jacks, one end is jacked up using a regular jack, and the car jack is put into place. The same is done at the other end. While a lift may be raised so the checker may stand under the vehicle, the jacks only raise the car high enough to allow the checker to slide under it.

The fill plug, usually found on the side of the transmission, must be removed. An oil pan is used to catch any leakage. If the fluid level matches the height of the plug, the level is correct. The checker must reach inside to verify this. If the level is too low, additional fluid is added through the plug.

Unlike automatic transmissions, which may run for miles without the driver noticing a problem, manual transmissions give early warnings. The car may be difficult to shift or may stutter when in gear. The latter often happens when the car is not parked on level ground.

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