Checking the transmission fluid on a Volkswagen Golf can be tricky, particularly if you have a manual transmission Golf. Most of the time, owners are advised against doing any checks or fluid changes, particularly with sealed transmission units. However, if you experience changes in your Golf’s transmission, such as a sticky shifter, lags in shifting, loss in torque, a slushy clutch pedal and the like, the problem might be in the gear oil.
You can conduct a do-it-yourself check of your Golf’s transmission fluid through a few easy steps. You will need a lifter, extra gear oil, a funnel, and some automotive common sense.
Drive your Golf for about 20 minutes to get it warmed up to normal operating temperature. Bring it to the shop or garage for lifting. While you’re parked on top of the lifter, engage the parking brake and step on the foot brake. Switch your stick shift through all five gears, without lifting the clutch pedal. Hold the shifter on each gear for about five seconds.
Shift to Neutral and leave the car to idle. Now pull the hood latch and prop the hood open. The car should still be idling at this point.
Find the transmission fill plug, which is usually near or on the transmission housing.
Set lift posts on the lifter’s rockers, and lift the car up.
Find the transmission check plug on the passenger’s side of the car. You can find it at the lower part of the transmission’s housing.
Get a drain bucket or basin underneath the car, corresponding to the point beneath the transmission fluid check plug. Remove the check plug. You can loosen it with a ratchet, and unscrew using a 5mm male hex head adapter.
Observe what happens when you remove the check plug. If fluid trickles out, then this means you have enough transmission fluid in your system. However, if no fluid trickles out, then this means you’re low on gear oil. You need to add transmission fluid to your gearbox.
If you need to add transmission fluid, have the car lowered a bit, such that you can reach the fill plug. Add a bit of fluid with the aid of a clean funnel. After each addition, check under the car to see if fluid starts trickling out the check hole.
When you have enough fluid in the gearbox, replace the check plug and clean the transmission housing with a clean rag. Take away the drain pan and lower the car.
Then, take out the funnel from the fill hole and screw on the fill plug.
After topping up your gear oil, drive your Golf around to check if this has solved the problem. If transmission problems still persist, you might have to have a professional look into your transmission. Sticky shifting and other transmission issues can be caused by a handful of factors, from thin clutch pads, worn out gears, and the like.
Be sure to have your gear oil changed at the interval specified by your Volkswagen Golf’s user manual.