How To Check the Manual Transmission Fluid in a Volkswagen

On a manual transmission vehicle, the gear oil or transmission fluid serves to lubricate the gearbox, ensuring smooth shifting. Gear oil also ensures proper operating temperatures. If your car runs low on gear oil, you will experience sticky or difficult shifting. Your clutch and gearbox might also overheat, resulting in bigger—and more expensive—problems.

Checking the manual transmission fluid on your Volkswagen will involve checking underneath the car. You should therefore have the proper equipment for doing this, such as a car jack, and jack stands. It’s even better if you have a hydraulic lift or simply a hydraulic jack.

Before working on your Volkswagen, be sure to wear safety equipment like goggles, gloves and work clothes. You will have to go underneath your car, so you should use a creeper or dolly to help you slide in, unless you have a hydraulic jack.

  • Jack up your car. Place jack stands in place of the jack and lower the jacks.
  • Look for the transaxle housing. This will usually have two plugged holes. On the top is the fill hole. The lower hole is for drainage. Unscrew the higher hole.
  • The Volkswagen’s transmission does not have a dipstick. You will need to do a visual inspection to check the transmission fluid. The gear oil should be almost at the point of the lower portion of the fill hole. If it is lower, then you will need to top up the gear oil.
  • You will also need to inspect the quality of the oil. If it’s dark and opaque, you will need to have it replaced.
  • If you need to top up, use a syringe to add in gear oil a little at a time. Avoid overfilling the transmission fluid, as this will result in leaks.
  • Once the fluid is topped up, screw in the plug tightly.
  • Lower the car and drive it around a few blocks. Then, park the car and check for leaks. If you find oil on your driveway or garage floor, you will need to check if the plug is loose.

After a certain interval—usually every 60,000 miles or so—you will need to replace your Volkswagen’s gear oil. If you need a replacement, you will have to drain your gear oil through the drainage hole. Be sure to use a pan to drain the oil with. After draining, replace the drain plug and fill the transaxle housing with the proper amount of gear oil.

Sticky shifting and other transmission problems are usually a result of inadequate or old gear oil. However, if you still experience shifting problems after topping up or replacing the gear oil, then this might be a sign that you have more serious transmission problems. You will need to consult a mechanic to help you fix such issues.

Remember that your car’s fluids need checking and replacement every certain interval. Be sure to check your user’s manual for the correct service intervals. Note down the date and service done every time you change or top-up fluids and replace other parts.


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