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I have a 2012 Impala with a 6 spd automatic transmission. Can anyone tell me the proper procedure for checking the fluid level? It operates normally and does not show any signs of leaks. When I check it at operating temperature in Park, it barely touches the end of the dipstick. With the engine off, it shows nearly full on the dipstick. What is the proper procedure?
Thanks.
 

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Running, in park or neutral. It can be a little low without any symptoms, may never have been filled all the way to begin with for all we know...
 

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Prairiechev, I see you've already received great help from the community! I just wanted to let you know I'm available via private message if you ever have additional questions. (I'm also on hand if you would like me to send a copy of your build sheet and provide you with your warranty parameters, etc.)

Best,

Katie
Chevrolet Customer Service
 

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If the fluid is just touching the dipstick this is normal it's better to have a bit too little fluid than too much. If the trans is too full, the trans fluid will get aerated by the exhaust fluid from the TCM/solenoid valve assembly and cause slippage and possibly damage.
Here is GM's procedure for checking the fluid level in this trans:


Transmission Fluid Level and Condition Check
This procedure checks both the transmission fluid level, as well as the condition of the fluid itself.

Caution: Use Dexron VI transmission fluid only. Failure to use the proper fluid may result in transmission internal damage.

Note:
Ensure the transmission has enough fluid in it to safely start the vehicle without damaging the transmission. With the vehicle off there must be at least enough fluid to wet the end of the dipstick bullet. This will ensure that there is enough fluid in the sump to fill the components once the vehicle is started.

Level Checking Procedure

1. Park the vehicle on a level surface, apply the parking brake and place the shift lever in PARK (P).
2. Start the engine.
3. Depress the brake pedal and move the shift lever through each gear range, pausing for about 3 seconds in each range. Then move the shift lever back to PARK (P).
4. Allow the engine to idle 500–800 rpm for at least 1 minute. Release the brake pedal.
5. Keep the engine running and observe the transmission fluid temperature (TFT) using the Driver Information Center or a scan tool.

Note: If the fluid temperature is below the specified range, perform the following procedure to raise the fluid temperature to the specified range.

6. If the TFT reading is not within the required temperature ranges, allow the vehicle to cool, or operate the vehicle until the appropriate TFT is reached.
Drive the vehicle in second gear until the fluid temperature is within the specified range.​

Note: Check the transmission fluid level when the TFT is between 180°F and 200°F (82°C and 93°C). The fluid level rises as fluid temperature increases, so it is important to ensure the transmission fluid temperature is within range.

7. Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean rag or paper towel.
8. Inspect the fluid color. The fluid should be red or dark brown.
If the fluid color is very dark or black and has a burnt odor, inspect the fluid for excessive metal particles or other debris. A small amount of “friction” material is a “normal” condition. If large pieces and/or metal particles are noted in the fluid, flush the oil cooler and cooler lines and overhaul the transmission. If there are no signs of transmission internal damage noted, replace the fluid, repair the oil cooler, and flush the cooler lines.

Fluid that is cloudy or milky or appears to be contaminated with water indicates engine coolant or water contamination. Refer to Engine Coolant/Water in Transmission .

9. Install the dipstick and tighten. Wait three seconds and then remove it again.

Note: Always check the fluid level at least twice. Consistent readings are important to maintaining proper fluid level. If inconsistent readings are noted, inspect the transmission vent assembly to ensure it is clean and unclogged.

10. Check both sides of the dipstick and read the lower level.

Note: It is not necessary to get the fluid level all the way up to the MAX mark. Anywhere within the crosshatch band is acceptable.

11.
Install and remove the dipstick again to verify the reading.
12. If the fluid level is not within the crosshatch band, and the transmission temperature is between 180°F and 200°F (82°C and 93°C), add or drain fluid as necessary to bring the level into the crosshatch band. If the fluid level is low, add only enough fluid to bring the level into the crosshatch band.

Note: Do not add more than one pint (0.5L) at a time without rechecking the level. Once the oil is on the dipstick bullet, it will not take much more fluid to raise the fluid level into the crosshatch band. Do not overfill. Also, if the fluid level is low, inspect the transmission for leaks. Refer to Fluid Leak Diagnosis .

13.
If the fluid level is in the acceptable range, install the dipstick.
14. If the fluid was changed, reset the transmission oil life monitor if applicable.
Fluid Condition Inspection

Inspect the fluid color. The fluid should be red in color. The fluid may also turn brown form normal use, and does not always indicate contamination.


Note: Fluid that is very dark or black and has a burnt odor usually indicates contamination or overheating.

If the fluid color is very dark or black and has a burnt odor, inspect the fluid for excessive metal particles or other debris which may indicate transmission damage. Refer to Road Test to verify transmission operation. Change the transmission fluid if no other conditions are found.
 

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good info. can we put this on a sticky???
 

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Needs to be in the crosshatched area, just touching the end of the dipstick isn't cutting it. I also tend to get confused by these written procedures, how do they figure you could get coolant in the fluid? Yes the cooler runs through the radiator, but the cooling system maxes out at 18psi, the transmission runs much higher than that at all times the engine is running. Coolant isn't going to get in the transmission, but trans fluid can get into the coolant.
 
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There is one thing that is very wrong with the above procedure. Never, ever use a rag to wipe the transmission oil dipstick. Use a clean paper towel or a napkin. Lint from rags can actually cause internal transmission damage by plugging fine openings. Similarly if you ever take of the transmission pan, do not clean it with a rag. Lint can kill an automatic transmission!!!!!!
 

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"5. Keep the engine running and observe the transmission fluid temperature (TFT) using the Driver Information Center or a scan tool."

How do you get the Driver Information Center to display the trans fluid temperature?
 

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I agree about the fluid level. I fill it to the top of the cross hatch. My reasoning is if you get a leak you have that much more time to descover what is going on. I never see anyone check under their hood at the gas station when in the croosshatch area its fractions of a pint.
 

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How do you get the Driver Information Center to display the trans fluid temperature?


anyone????
 

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^^What he said - I'm assuming that procedure is just a general procedure and not specific to the Impala... I wish there was a way to display the tranny temp though!
 

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My boss's escalade does, so at least it applies to some GM products.
 

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Yes, I always pass it trying to get to the mileage.
 

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just checked the 03, the level was at the bottom ark just under the crosshatch. I added not much maybe a few ounces and now it is well over the hatches. I'll check it again tomorrow. hoping being a bit over won't be horrible. it's 150k miles on it so maybe it can breath a little, meaning that it's not air tight anymore, tho I know about vents
 

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^^What he said - I'm assuming that procedure is just a general procedure and not specific to the Impala...

I wish there was a way to display the tranny temp though!
Torque Pro with the GM PIDs enabled.
 
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