Automatic transmission fluid level when cold

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VibeNation2024
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2024 6:06 pm
Location: Central IL

Automatic transmission fluid level when cold

Post by VibeNation2024 »

I have a automatic front wheel drive 2007 Pontiac Vibe with 110,xxx miles that I purchased new so I know it has never had any transmission issues or service. At 100,000 miles, I decided to drain and fill the transmission fluid where I dropped the pan, replaced the screen/filter, wiped down the pan, replaced the gasket and reassembled.

Before this, I checked the transmission fluid level with the engine cold after sitting on level surface overnight, it was right at the top notch of the Hot line. (see attached picture. It is a little hard to see so I marked it with the arrow). I then drove it for about 20 miles on a flat smooth highway without any traffic or pulling a trailer, where the air temp was about 70º F. I then stopped, cycled through gears and let it idle for about 3 minutes before checking the dipstick to find it at the same spot (top notch of Hot). I then let it idle for a few more minutes, checked and it was at the same top notch of the Hot area. I didn't really think much about it being the same when cold vs hot since I know you should check when hot and running for an accurate reading.

During the drain, I measured the amount of fluid that I drained and it was 3.7 quarts. The engine was hot when I started and I let it drip for about an hour. I drained the filter/screen as best as possible but of course did not account for any of the fluid that I wiped off the pan or around the gasket. I figured that it would be negligible. I put back in the same amount(3.7 qt) of the Toyota Type T-IV.

After the service, I noticed the same results when checking cold and hot with the same conditions, temp, amount of driving, process, etc. Again, I didn't pay much attention since it was reading correct when hot, it shifts smooth, no unusual noises, I put the same amount back in, etc.

I have now purchased another automatic front wheel drive 2008 Pontiac Vibe with around 70,000 miles and I wanted to do the same on it. I have been checking the transmission fluid when cold and hot (same process) and have the same results.

I read the past forums (i.e. viewtopic.php?t=22730, viewtopic.php?t=42984, viewtopic.php?p=528488, etc) and found the dipstick diagram but didn't find an answer to explain the same reading when hot or cold.

Should I even worry about the cold reading? Am I overthinking it since there will be fluid that might not have drained out of the torque convertor? Anyone else notice the same thing with their Vibes?

Any input/help would be appreciated!
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VibeNation2024
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2024 6:06 pm
Location: Central IL

Re: Automatic transmission fluid level when cold

Post by VibeNation2024 »

After some additional searching, it appears that the only reason the cold level is on the dipstick is so the factory employees have a way to check that there is "enough" transmission fluid added to avoid any damage if needed to start before the final top off down the factory line. I will just check using the procedure when hot and ignore the cold level.
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