Page updated on 06-18-2018

how do you check the transmission fluid level on a 97 malibu

05-18-2009, 04:38 PM
1997 malibu
I notice a red cap under the air filter, but no dip stick.......I am very curious about how do you check the trans fluid level on this car.........

05-18-2009, 05:02 PM
this is a automatic right? if so it may be black and cant see it? and when you check it have it runing and go all threw the gears before checking and it has to be runing to check could get a haynes manul from autozone if you don't have the the manual that go's to your car.

07-24-2009, 12:18 AM
There is no dipstick,,,,, you aren't blind,,,,,,,, and you are not going crazy.

I found another posting that talks about a small screw near the Right hand Front of the transmission. They were right. You remove this screw and add fluid through the little red cap that is located under the exhaust pipe (under the hood on top of the transmission).

You start the engine, run through the gears, let the engine continue to run to allow the fluid to fill all the areas in the transmission (LEAVE THE ENGINE RUNNING UNTIL PLUG IS RE-INSTALLED) then remove the small plug from the transmission. This screw is at the oil level of the transmission (about 1 to 2 inches above where the oil pan bolts to the bottom of transmission) and is on the axle housing of the RH side of the car. Add fluid through the fill hole under the exhaust pipe (under the hood) until fluid runs out of the hole. Do this while the engine is running with trans in park.

If you do not have a lift to perform this task, it is very difficult, and I would recommend that you take it to a mechanic and tell him what you found out.

I just bought a used Malibu and I have been an ASE Certified Master Auto Tech for 20 years, and this is the first time I have heard about this problem. Obviously, nobody has been checking this fluid level. The transmission fluid level needs to be checked at every oil change. I do not know what GM was thinking when they did away with the dipstick????
This is nuts. Maybe that is why they are going through so much financial troubles (they do not have they're heads on straight).

07-24-2009, 12:25 AM
Here is the posting that I found on this site. This would be very helpful to all that are attempting to check this level. This guy has the knowledge.

Here is the quote:

Start the engine and allow the engine to idle until the transmission fluid temperature has reached the value specified. Depress the brake pedal and move the shift lever through the gear ranges, pausing a few seconds in each range. Return the shift lever to the PARK range. Raise the vehicle on a hoist. The vehicle must be level, with the engine running and the shift lever in the PARK range. CautionThe engine must be running when the transmission fluid fill plug is removed, or excessive fluid loss will occur. Transmission fluid may be hot. Since the actual fluid level is unknown, stand clear when removing the fill plug. Have a container ready to capture any lost fluid. Do not turn the engine off with the fill plug removed, as you can be injured by hot transmission fluid being expelled out of the oil fill opening.
Remove the transmission plug.
The transmission fluid may darken with normal use and does not always indicate contamination or oxidation.
At least 40C
Transmission fluid (At least 104F) 5-10 minutes at idle will give correct temp.
Does the fluid have a burnt odor or a dark brown color?Check the fluid level. The fluid level should be even with the bottom of the threaded plug hole.Is the fluid level low?
Add DEXRON III automatic transmission fluid in increments of 0.5L until the fluid drains from the plug hole.
Install plug before stopping engine or fluid will spill out of plug hole.
Pan drop and filter change 7.5 qts

Check plug is just to the right of the passenger side axle housing , 11 mm plug, can't miss it, only one there.

Add your comment to this topic!