GM Cavalier/Sunfire 1995-2000 Repair Guide

Manual Transaxle



The manual transaxle require Synchromesh® transmission fluid, GM part no. 12345349.

Using the incorrect lubricant in your transaxle can lead to significant transaxle damage and a costly overhaul.


See Figure 1

The fluid level in the manual transaxle should be checked every 12 months or 7,500 milee (12,000 km), whichever comes first. The dipstick is located on the transaxle at the differential near the driver's side axle shaft.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: The correct level should be between the ADD and MAX lines on the indicator

  1. Park the car on a level surface. The transaxle should be cool to the touch. If it is hot, check the level later, when it has cooled.
  3. Flip the dipstick handle up and remove the dipstick from the transaxle.
  5. Clean the dipstick with a rag and reinsert it into the transaxle.
  7. Remove the dipstick and check the level with the marks located on the dipstick.
  9. If lubricant is needed, add it through the dipstick hole until the level is correct. When the level is correct, reinstall the dipstick firmly.

The dipstick must be fully seated in the filler tube during vehicle operation or leakage will occur at the vent plug.


Under normal conditions, the manual transaxle fluid does not need to be changed. However, if the car is driven in deep water (as high as the transaxle case) it is a good idea to replace the fluid. Little harm can come from a fluid change when you have just purchased a used vehicle, especially since the condition of the transaxle is usually not known.

If the fluid is to be drained, it is a good idea to warm the fluid first so it will flow better. This can be accomplished by 15-20 miles (24-32 km) of highway driving. Fluid which is warmed to normal operating temperature will flow faster, drain more completely and remove more contaminante from the housing.

  1. Remove the filler plug (dipstick) from the left side of the transaxle to provide a vent.
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely using jackstands.
  5. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the transaxle case. Place a pan under the drain plug and remove it.

The fluid will be HOT. Push up against the threads as you unscrew the plug to prevent leakage.

  1. Allow the fluid to drain completely. Check the condition of the plug gasket and replace it if necessary. Clean off the plug and replace, tightening it until snug.
  3. Fill the transaxle with fluid through the fill or dipstick tube. You will need the aid of a long neck funnel or a funnel and a hose to pour through.
  5. Use the dipstick to gauge the level of the fluid.
  7. Replace the filler plug (dipstick) and dispose of the old fluid in the same manner as you would old engine oil.

Take a drive in the car, stop on a level surface, and check the oil level.