Checking fluid level

Tiny
WORDEN
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 50,000 MILES
There is no dipstick to check tranny fluid level. The owners manual confirms this as I have the 3.5L. An axle seal has started to leak some and I would like to monitor the level somehow. Is there a plug somewhere to check the fluid level? The model is a Malibu Maxx.
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Monday, July 12th, 2010 AT 6:48 PM

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Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Hello,

There is a level indicator on the side which must be removed with the engine running to see the level add until it comes back out like a standard transmission. (65) on the diagram below.

Transmission Fluid Check fill port below


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/12900_t_4.gif



https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-service-an-automatic-transmission

Please let us know if you need anything else to get the problem fixed.

Cheers,
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Monday, July 12th, 2010 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
To check the fluid, run the car until it is at a normal operating temperature. Place the trans in park on a flat surface with the engine running. Pull the transmission dip stick and wipe it, put it back in, and remove it again. The fluid should be in the hot area of the stick.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:44 PM (Merged)
Tiny
HOOSIERMARIE
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 98,544 MILES
I feel so stupid. I went to a mechanic because I need a fuel pump replaced very soon. My youngest son said to get a transmission fluid changed. I have never had this done before. Will it hurt the engine or car in general to change it now?
I feel so stupid about this. Please advise. I have had regular oil changes with synthetic oil, and checked all the fluids except transmission fluid obviously.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:44 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Well, I guess you can feel stupid if you want to, but allow me to add another dimension to the story. I have an 1988 Grand Caravan that I used to drag around a tandem axle enclosed trailer that's bigger and heavier than the van for fifteen years. It got the transmission fluid changed once at 85,000 miles because the side cover rusted out. Figured I would change the fluid and filter while I was at it. The van rusted away with 281,000 miles last year and the fluid and filter had never been replaced again. That is not neglect. That is abuse, but there was never a problem with the transmission.

Obviously I am not recommending anyone else do that, but it shows what some vehicles are capable of. The next person might not have such good luck. Unless it is spelled out differently in your owner's manual, the industry standard used to be to change the fluid and filter every three years or 36,000 miles. It should also be changed right after the transmission has been overheated, as in excessive tire spinning from trying to get unstuck, or when pulling a big load for a long distance. Overheated transmission fluid will be dark red, black, and / or smell burned. The fluid will still do its job, but there are additives in it that wear out and that get destroyed by overheating. Losing those additives can result in problems from foaming, loss of lubrication to critical parts, and abrasive wear to fiber parts and rubber seals.

Since the additives in transmission fluid last much longer than those in engine oil, there is a lower chance of damage occurring due to neglect, so do not beat yourself up too much.

Some mechanics will push for a transmission flush which is much more expensive. The jury is still out on the value of that, and I am not convinced yet. A simple fluid and filter change was all we ever did for decades. That gets about half of the old fluid out, and there were enough additives in the four or five quarts of new fluid to keep the transmission happy. With the newer computer-controlled transmissions, and the fact the engineers find all kinds of ways to cut corners, some people believe a flush is better because it gets one hundred percent of the fluid replaced, but a lot of mechanics do not do the additional step of removing the pan, (and the new fluid), to replace the filter. I consider the filter to be just as important as the new fluid.

Many people will tell you they had a catastrophic transmission failure shortly after having it flushed, but I suspect they had the flush done in an attempt to solve a problem that was already destined to cause that failure. That is just my opinion, but it seems to hold true more so for older or high-mileage vehicles. Some mechanics feel the force of the incoming fluid during a flush can dislodge debris that can tear or cut rubber seals, and that can cause a failure later. My recommendation is to have the fluid and filter replaced at one of your next oil changes. It is not unusual for your mechanic to find a little pile of debris in the bottom of the pan. If you aren't having any shifting problems now, that debris is not a cause to warn you of an impending failure or need for a transmission rebuild. Decline any such recommendation. That debris is in the pan because it was stopped by the filter from getting into the valves and passages. It came from flaking off some of the fiber clutch plates and "thrust washers". It is when there are large chunks of something in the pan that you need to worry, but you would have had some type of problem before that.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:44 PM (Merged)
Tiny
VWEIBEL
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 51,000 MILES
How often do I need to change the transmission fluid?
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
SCOTTY DEE
  • MEMBER
Hi vwiebel! I suggest a trans fluid transfusion every 50K, and again at 100K with a pan drop and filter replacement. I like the BG synthetic transmission fluid and the machine they use to do it.

Also, I always suggest replacing all fluids every 30-50K as well as cleaning the upper and lower fuel induction.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
SCOTTY DEE
  • MEMBER
Hope that helps.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LORENZAANSTEAD
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 4 CYL
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 100,000 MILES
When should I do a transmission fluid flush?
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Most owner's manuals used to specify a fluid and filter change every 36,000 miles, but some of them have longer intervals now in an attempt to make their cost of maintenance appear lower than that of their competitors. Opinions vary on the value of a complete flush. In my experience, if you're not having a problem, a flush is not any better than simply draining the half of the fluid that will drain out, then replacing the filter, and if there is a shifting problem, a flush isn't going to solve an internal mechanical problem.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BART08
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 101,700 MILES
I have a 2006 chevy Malibu and my mileage is roughly 101,700. I have been told that it should roughly be done at 90,000 by my dealership and another mechanic said it could go to 100,000. With a tight budget I still need to new back tires (already have 2 new ones in front). First, when should a transmission flush be done typically on a 2006 chevy malibu (car appears to be running just fine) and second what should I do first the tranny service or get the 2 new tires? Thanks
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • EXPERT
Your vehicle's transmission fluid and filter should be replaced every 100,000 miles. As for which to replace first, I would suggest replacing tires first.A life is much more important than a car. Bald tires can easily cause an accident. Also, even with FWD vehicles, it is always safest to put the best tires on the rear of the vehicle.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
JAZSHAH
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 CHEVROLET MALIBU
Transmission problem
2004 Chevy Malibu 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive

I would really appreciate if you can guide me on how to do transmission oil change with filter on a 2004 Chevy Malibu, 2.2L, 4Cyl.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Try a library for a manual it may have one close to your year. It iw quite lengthy on how to do on here.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:45 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BGOTHARD
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 CHEVROLET MALIBU
  • 3.5L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 188,000 MILES
My wife's car is a 2006 Chevy Malibu Maxx. We bought the car a year ago as a beater to get her back and forth to work, about 8 miles a day. It currently has 188k miles on it and I would like to see it hit 200k before I scrap it, but I am not willing to put a bunch of money into it so I would like some constructive advice.

I am a computer repair guy with enough auto repair knowledge to make a real mechanic mad, so feel free to bash me for my obstinance and bad decisions before providing your constructive advice. I have included a lot of detail because I don't know what will strike a chord.

This adventure started when the car began lurching every once in awhile while accelerating. Not very much, but just enough to notice. Felt like the transmission slipping a little to me. It was also shifting a little hard into reverse and drive when sitting still. It has no dipstick. Sealed, dealer service, all that jazz. I will not go into my thoughts on that. So, I did my online research and found out that there is a sight hole on the tranny. Everything I read said that you make sure the car is running, at operating temperature, and level and add fluid until it starts coming out the sight hole. OK, sounds simple enough. I planned to top it off with LG Red, drive it for a week, then drop the pan, change the filter and refill it with new fluid.

I have a nice level spot where I can pull up over a depression and slide under the car. I ran it to operating temperature, shifted through the gears slowly several times, and crawled under with my trusty drain pan. I started loosening the sight plug and fluid started dribbling out. I figured someone had added an extra quart sometime, so I let it dribble... and dribble... and dribble.

After two quarts, I went back to the computer and reread all of the information I had found, thinking I had missed something. Again, everything indicated adding fluid until it comes out the sight hole, indicating that it is full. (All the web pages and diagrams are listed below.)

Back under the car, I kept draining. I ended up with over 6 quarts of fluid. OK, I am questioning everything now, but figuring somebody just overfilled it since there is no dipstick and information is so hard to find. I shifted through the gears, and it was smooth as glass (not good as you will see). I put it in reverse and backed up a few yards, then pulled forward. It seemed sluggish. Back and forth just a few yards several times. About the fourth attempt to pull forward, it would not move. Engine revs, no pull. Well, obviously that amount of fluid was necessary. Not having planned well apparently, I did not have 6 quarts of new fluid and the wife took my truck to work while I worked on this. I added the quart of LG Red and the one new quart I had on hand, then used coffee filters to filter the old fluid before adding it back in. It is dark, but still red and no funny smell. (Drain pan was new and clean, so no weird contaminants.)

It started pulling again, thank God. I drove it slowly around the block a couple times, but it keeps dropping into limp mode. I have a BT OBDII scanner. The output is included below. (Ignore the P0401. That is for a different day.)

QUESTIONS:
1) What am I doing wrong on the fluid level check? I followed all instructions and when I get the level at the sight hole the car stops moving. (Photo of sight hole included just in case I am opening the wrong one.)
2) Is the P0756 something I damaged in this process, or possibly the original problem?
3) Why are there 6 quarts of fluid ABOVE the sight hole?

http://www.2carpros.com/questions/chevrolet-malibu-1997-chevy-malibu-checking-fluid
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
The pic shows the correct place to check fluid level looks like you did a pressure line. Also you must remove the vent cap prior to checking fluid. The fluid being dark is not a good thing if it was more to the blacker color you probably have either a seal or clutch problem and will be due for a rebuild. But don't try to replace fluid to fix it cause it will go faster. The P401 is an eger problem see if the hole in intake is plugged and pipe for that matter as this can set that as well. Cold be an egr valve as well. For the 449 code test to see if the valve gets power if not then it will need to be smoke tested to see where it leaks or if a bad valve. For the 756 code is a 2-3 shift solenoid and that can be caused by a bad solenoid, contaminated fluid which sounds like your case, plugged or restricted fluid circuits.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:46 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BGOTHARD
  • MEMBER
Thanks hmac300.

Yes, I was opening the wrong hole (smacks head on wall). The one I circled IS an 11mm plug, not a line, so I don't feel completely stupid, I was just not far enough back under the car. Rookie mistake, I know. I found the other one and will be much more attentive in the future. Still had to remove a little over 2 quarts, so with all of the draining, filtering and refilling I still think there was at least one quart too much.

I will be spending Mother's Day under her car trying to resolve the remaining issue, which is the "P0756 Shift Solenoid "B" Performance or Stuck Off" error. I think that was probably the original problem, although it was not throwing a code yet. Fluid is dark, but still fairly red, not dark brown or black.

Thanks for the advice on the other codes. Those have been on my to do list for a few weeks, just have not had time.
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Saturday, September 29th, 2018 AT 5:46 PM (Merged)

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