GM Prizm/Nova 1985-1993 Repair Guide

Automatic Transaxle



The correct automatic transmission fluid for all Nova and Prizm cars is Dexron® II. There are no acceptable substitutes; internal damage may result if other fluids are used.


See Figures 1 and 2

Check the automatic transmission fluid level at least every 5,000 miles (more often if possible). The dipstick is in the engine compartment between the battery and the distributor.

The fluid level should be checked only when the transmission is hot (normal operating temperature). The transmission is considered hot after about 20 miles of highway driving.

  1. Park the car on a level surface with the engine idling. Shift the transmission into Neutral and set the parking brake.
  3. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and reinsert it firmly. Be sure that it has been pushed all the way in. Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level while holding it horizontally. With the engine running, the fluid level should be between the notches in the HOT range on the dipstick.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Always check automatic transmission fluid when fully warmed up. The fluid level should always be between the notches

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Fig. Fig. 2: Automatic transmission fluid dipstick location - 1992 VIN code 6 engine shown

  1. If the fluid level is below the second notch, add Dexron® II automatic transmission fluid through the dipstick tube. This is easily done with the aid of a long-necked funnel. Check the level often as you are filling the transmission. Be extremely careful not to overfill it. Overfilling will cause slippage, seal damage and overheating. Approximately one pint of ATF will raise the level from one notch to the other.