checking transmission fluid hot or cold

Checking Transmission Fluid Hot or Cold on Ford F150!

The thing about checking transmission fluid hot or cold on Ford F150 actually requires understanding what situations the different temperature results in.

Generally checking transmission fluid when it’s hot is highly recommended. This is because the automatic transmission fluid expands when heated. So make sure you drive your vehicle for about 20 miles to reach its best operating temperature before checking the fluid level.

This approach ensures a more precise measurement, preventing underfilling or overfilling of the transmission fluid. In this guide, I’ll explain exactly how to check the temperature of the transmission fluid in your F150.

Checking Transmission Fluid Hot or Cold on Ford F150!

Even though checking the transmission fluid when it’s hot is recommended, it does not mean you cannot check the fluid when it’s cold. To check the fluid when cold, just idle the car in Park and use the dipstick or scan tool to check the temperature. Then again, use the dipstick or scan tool directly on the transmission tube to check the fluid when hot.

To test out the F150 transmission fluid in order to find out whether it’s hot or cold, you’ll need to do a few things. Let me explain how you can check transmission fluid hot or cold.

checking transmission fluid hot or cold
Image 1: Checking Transmission Fluid Hot Or Cold


  • Before any work, put on gloves to protect your hands when dealing with vehicle components and checking the transmission fluid.
  • Only inspect the transmission fluid level when your car’s engine is at the right temperature, which is between 179°F (82°C) and 199°F (93°C). This ideal temperature range is typically achieved after driving approximately 20 miles (30 kilometers).
  • Be sure that your vehicle is parked on a flat, level surface to get accurate fluid level readings. And, be sure to check this guide to know whether you need to check transmission fluid in Park or Neutral.
  • When you’re ready to check the fluid level, make sure the engine is running, and the transmission gear is set to “Park” (P).

Checking Transmission Fluid When Cold

When the engine is cold, you can check the transmission fluid but it requires some additional work. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Find the Transmission Dipstick

You’ll need to find the location of the transmission dipstick in your F150 car and remove it. FYI, it should be either near the engine bay (under the hood) or near the transmission housing (under the truck).

Step 2: Clean the Transmission Dipstick

Once you remove the dipstick of the F150 transmission fluid, take a clean cloth or towel and simply wipe it. Ensure that it doesn’t have fluid left on the surface.

Step 3: Insert the Dipstick into the Transmission Tube

Then, you’ll need to insert the dipstick in the transmission tube and then lift it upward. Next, read the dipstick that shows the cold and hot indicator. If it indicates Cold, this means the engine is not hot enough for you to add transmission fluid to the F150.

Step 4: Idle the Engine and Put the Gear to Park

Now, put the car’s gear in the Park position and run the engine for a few minutes to warm the car up. This will help you to get the real reading. Note that the car is safe to drive if the transmission fluid is in the cold level range of around 32 °C – 43 °C (90 °F – 110 °F).

checking transmission fluid cold
Image 2: Transmission Fluid COLD Range On Ford F150

While the engine is running at 600 – 750 RPM, you’ll need to use the scan tool to test out the transmission fluid again. Be sure to place the selector lever in each gear position (starting and ending in Park) and take 5 seconds of break in between when doing so.

Step 5: Repeat This Until You Get Constant Reading

You’ll need to keep on doing Steps 2 – 4 a couple of times until the scan tool or dipstick is showing the right reading. Lastly, reinstall all the parts.

Benefits of Checking When Cold: Get rid of burning your hands or eyes as the transmission fluid will be cold.

Checking Transmission Fluid When Hot

When the engine is hot, it doesn’t require you to run the engine at 600 – 750 RPM in Park or other stuff. Based on RX Mechanic, you’ll need to check the fluid when the engine is hot after a normal drive (around 10 miles).

This will help read the temperature correctly. Then, you only need to remove the dipstick from your car (either under the hood or the car’s transmission housing).

After that, clean the dipstick using a clean rag and then insert it into the transmission tube to find the correct temperature reading of the fluid.

checking transmission fluid hot
Image 3: Transmission Fluid HOT Range On Ford F150

The TFT (Transmission Fluid Temperature) needs to be between 32 °C and 43 °C (90 °F and 110 °F). To do that, you can use a scan tool too.

Then, read the dipstick or scan tool that should show a Hot indicator to confirm that it’s warmed up to continue adding or removing the fluid.

After checking the transmission fluid when the engine is hot, you’ll need to put everything back on to conclude the task. During this, be sure to change the F150 transmission dipstick tube, dipstick, or cap if required.

Benefits of Checking When Hot: This way you can get a proper reading of the transmission fluid and the tank will expand.

Overall Thoughts

It’s simple to check the transmission fluid in a Ford F150, whether the engine is hot or cold, as long as you have a dipstick. Most experts test the temperature of fluid when the engine is cold to avoid interaction.

If the process seems hard for you, it’s best to contact a skilled mechanic to check the temperature

Hope this guide is somewhat helpful! And don’t forget to read this our ultimate guide on changing the transmission in a Ford!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you check transmission fluid with the car running?

To heat up the transmission fluid and get the right reading, it is vital for drivers to keep the car’s engine running. In a cold state, you’ll find false readings with the dipstick or scan tool.

Can you check transmission fluid when the truck is hot?

Yes! You can test out the transmission fluid in your Ford F150 even if it’s hot or warmed up. Just ensure to wear safety equipment when doing so.

When to check transmission fluid hot or cold on Ford F150?

You’ll need to check fluid if the transmission itself seems to act weirdly. The transmission fluid thickens up or changes color if it stays cold for a long while.

Leave a Reply