How to Check Your Gearbox Oil Level

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 26th May 2022 3:00pm

Gearbox oil lubricates cogs

Your gearbox is one of your vehicle's most essential components. If your gearbox fails, you may experience grinding, shaking, or jerking, which can eventually lead to permanent gearbox faults and a faulty vehicle.

Checking your gearbox oil level is one of the best ways to prevent a defective gearbox. But do you know how to do it? If not, read on to find out how.

What is a gearbox?

Your car’s gearbox is the second stage of the transmission system. You’ll usually find it bolted to the rear of your engine, and it’s used to change the speed of your motor or to increase the output or torque.

Put simply, a gearbox is made up of a series of gears that are designed to offer more power and less speed, or less power and greater speed if required.

If you have a faulty gearbox, get it repaired with Kwik Fit.

Why do you need to check the gearbox oil level?

If you let your car run low on gearbox oil, your transmission can shift improperly or not at all. You may find yourself missing gears or feeling a ‘grinding sensation’ when you’re driving. Inadequate oil levels can permanently harm your gearbox, resulting in some costly repairs.

The oil in your gearbox is there to prevent teeth from grinding on gears and metal-to-metal contact, which can damage your car's components. Your gearbox oil level should never drop noticeably between oil changes. If you need to top it up significantly to reach the correct level, check for leaks.

How to check your gearbox oil level

  1. To obtain a dipstick reading, your engine needs to be running, and your oil needs to be warm. Start by parking your vehicle on a flat surface, activate the brake, and leave it idle until the engine warms.
  2. Open the vehicle bonnet and find the gear oil dipstick. This is usually positioned near the back of the engine compartment.
  3. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth or towel, then reinsert the dipstick. Now, take the dipstick back out and check the oil. Most dipsticks feature a ‘cross-hatch’ pattern where the oil level should sit. You may also see ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ lines - your oil should never go above the ‘hot’ line.
  4. If your oil is running low, top it up with the advised level of gear oil; to do this, you may need a long-neck funnel.

For more advice on testing your car’s oil levels, see here.

How often should you check your gearbox oil level?

We recommend checking all primary fluid levels in your car monthly or before a long journey. This includes your engine oil, gearbox oil level, transmission fluid, and steering fluid.

Most manual gearboxes will usually need an oil change every 30 to 50,000 miles. Automatic gearboxes differ and may require changes between 60 to 100,000 miles.

You can book in for an engine oil and filter change with Kwik Fit today.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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