04 V6 AWD Vue - Transaxle fluid

Discussion in 'Saturn VUE' started by Howard Slomer, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Where is the dipstick for checking the transaxle fluid? My owners
    manual has a nice description on how to check the fluid level on Page 5-26
    and references Page 5-12 to find the location of the dipstick. The V6
    diagram is actually on Page 5-14 but has no reference to the transaxle
    dipstick location.

    Thanks in advance,
    Howard Slomer, Oct 25, 2005
  2. Howard Slomer

    Steve Guest

    Hi, Howard,
    The last time I checked an automatic trans fluid level, the dipstick was
    actually a part of the cap. Might that be where yours is?
    Good luck!
    Steve, Oct 25, 2005
  3. Steve,

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I checked with a local Saturn service department. The 04 VUE V6
    transmission fluid level cannot be checked from under the hood. The car
    has to be put on lift and a plug removed from the transmission from under
    the car. The owners manual is wrong.

    Howard Slomer, Oct 27, 2005
  4. Howard Slomer

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Sounds like this is a manual transmission. Specifying the trans would have
    helped get you a better reply.

    Bob Shuman, Oct 28, 2005
  5. Bob,

    No, it is an automatic. Manual transmissions were/are not available
    with the V6 engine!
    Howard Slomer, Oct 28, 2005
  6. Howard Slomer

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Odd that there is no easy way to check trans fluid level from the engine
    compartment. If this is indeed correct then it sounds like a poor design
    to me.

    Bob Shuman, Oct 28, 2005
  7. Howard Slomer

    blah blah Guest

    It has one, its a Honda 5AT Transmission so of course its a b*tch to
    find. Its a short tube and has a yellow handle. Look down around closer
    to the transmission. Its view will probably be blocked by some of
    Honda's wonderfully engineered clutter...
    blah blah, Oct 28, 2005
  8. I've looked several times but I'll try again.

    The service manager at the local Saturn dealer told me that the
    transmission could only be checked while the car is on a lift by removing a
    plug on the side of the transmission. He also claimed that Saturn failed to
    update the owner's manual when they switched to the Honda drive train in
    2004. This doesn't sound true because the manual does refer to the 3.5L V6.

    Howard Slomer, Oct 28, 2005
  9. You are correct, I found it! The dipstick is hard to see because it
    has a black loop handle. It is short and is located low just behind the
    lower radiator fan on the left side (drivers side) of engine. The only
    markings on the dipstick are two small holes near the bottom of the

    I'll show the Saturn service manager when I take the car in for

    Howard Slomer, Oct 28, 2005
  10. Howard Slomer

    blah blah Guest

    Black? Of course, Honda doesnt really want people to to check their
    fluid levels... :-\ Everything GM made for years has had a Yellow or Red
    handle. See below for fluid checking.


    Too much or too little fluid can damage the transaxle. Too much can mean
    that some of the fluid could come out and fall on hot engine or exhaust
    system parts, starting a fire. Too little fluid could cause the
    transaxle to overheat. Be sure to get an accurate reading if you check
    the transaxle fluid.

    Wait at least 30 minutes before checking the transaxle fluid level if
    you have been driving:

    * When outside temperatures are above 90°F (32°C).
    * At high speed for quite a while.
    * In heavy traffic - especially in hot weather.
    * While pulling a trailer.

    To get the right reading, the fluid should be at normal operating
    temperature, which is 180°F to 200°F (82°C to 93°C).

    Get the vehicle warmed up by driving about 15 miles (24 km) when outside
    temperatures are above 50°F (10°C). If it's colder than 50°F (10°C), you
    may have to drive longer.

    Checking the Fluid Level (Automatic Transaxle with 3.5L V6 Engine)

    Prepare your vehicle as follows:

    * Park your vehicle on a level place.
    * Warm the engine to normal operating temperature until the electric
    radiator fan turns on at least once.
    * With the parking brake applied, place the shift lever in PARK (P).
    * With your foot on the brake pedal, move the shift lever through
    each gear range, pausing for about three seconds in each range. Then,
    position the shift lever in PARK (P).

    Then, turn off the engine and, follow these steps:

    The transaxle fluid dipstick handle is the yellow loop. See Engine
    Compartment Overview for more information on location.

    1. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it with a clean rag or paper towel.
    2. Push it back in all the way, wait three seconds and then pull it
    back out again.
    3. Check both sides of the dipstick, and read the lower level. The
    fluid level must be between the upper mark and the lower mark.
    4. If the fluid level is in the acceptable range, push the dipstick
    back in all the way.

    How to Add Fluid

    Refer to the Maintenance Schedule to determine what kind of transaxle
    fluid to use. See Recommended Fluids and Lubricants .

    If the fluid level is low, add only enough of the proper fluid to bring
    the level into the cross-hatched area on the dipstick.

    1. Pull out the dipstick.
    2. Using a long-neck funnel, add enough fluid at the dipstick hole to
    bring it to the proper level.
    It doesn't take much fluid, generally less than one pint (0.5 L).
    Don't overfill.


    Use of automatic transaxle fluid other than that listed in the
    Maintenance Schedule may damage your vehicle, and the damages may not be
    covered by your warranty. Always use the correct automatic transaxle
    fluid in your vehicle. See Recommended Fluids and Lubricants for the
    correct automatic transaxle fluid.
    3. After adding fluid, recheck the fluid level as described under
    "How to Check" earlier in this section.
    4. When the correct fluid level is obtained, push the dipstick back
    in all the way.
    blah blah, Oct 29, 2005
  11. Howard Slomer

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Too much fluid is a problem in another way as well. If fluid is too high
    then it gets whipped up by gears and causes the fluid to foam. Once these
    small air bubbles get introduced into the fluid, it ceases to function
    correctly since its hydraulic properties get severely compromised possibly
    causing the transmission to slip or cause permanent damage.

    Too much or too little fluid can damage the transaxle. Too much can mean
    that some of the fluid could come out and fall on hot engine or exhaust
    system parts, starting a fire.

    Excellent Instructions removed
    Bob Shuman, Oct 29, 2005
  12. Howard Slomer

    Mike Broda Guest

    It took me like for ever to find the tranny dipstick in my 04 Vue but it is
    there. Takes a lot of looking 1st time but after that it is easy. i painted
    the top of the dipstick bright pink.
    Mike Broda, Oct 30, 2005
  13. Howard Slomer

    John Horner Guest

    Hmmm, sounds like a poorly informed service manager.

    In it's Honda applications Honda requires a special transmission fluid
    only sold at the dealers (ATF-Z1). Does Saturn use the Honda fluid or a
    more generic Dexron?

    John Horner, Nov 21, 2005
  14. Howard Slomer


    May 2, 2019
    Likes Received:
    First I know this is an older thread: I have a 04 AWD Vue 6 cyl that the tranny has no dipstick. It's suppose to need no service but it doesn't take into account losing fluid when replacing CV axles or a damaged cooling line.

    I have found multiple ways yo check the level. Supposedly there if a plug in the wheel well on the passenger side that you unscrew and see if fluid drips out if not, you add some until it does. the other is a bolt on the bottom of the transmission with a hex bolt in the middle.

    No wonder they stopped making Saturns....
    byrnet, May 2, 2019
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