Fluids play an essential role in proper automobile operation. Incorrect fluid levels can cause catastrophic engine and transmission damage, or even an accident. When checking car fluids ensure that the car is level so that your readings are accurate, and that it will not move by applying the parking brake or chocking the wheels. You can use your owner's manual to familiarize yourself with the dipstick and fill locations, as well as the recommended fluids and procedures.
Engine oil level is normally checked with the ignition switched off using a dipstick mounted on the side of the motor. If the engine has been running allow a few minutes for the oil to drain back into the crankcase. Remove the dipstick and wipe any oil from it using a clean rag. Replace the dipstick, wait a few seconds and pull it out again. The oil level should be in the hatched area or between the low and full lines. Some newer cars show the oil level on a display on the car's dashboard, making it easy to monitor.
Automatic transmission fluid should normally be checked with the car running at operating temperature with the transmission in park or neutral. The dipstick for the transmission fluid is usually located near the front of the engine on a front-wheel drive car and near the back of the engine on a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Some cars do not have gearbox dipsticks, and the transmission is considered to be sealed for life.