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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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There are 2 plugs on the side of the trans. The top one needs to have fluid filled until it starts to run out. However, the service manual has other specifics, such as what temperature the trans fluid needs to be, etc.
 

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Car has to be jacked up perfectly level front to back and side to side and trans. fluid has to be hot to get an accurate reading.
 
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· Super Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T/6-speed 6T40
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4,577 Posts
What is shown in that video is assessing the absolute minimum necessary fluid before starting the engine. It is a process only used if there was a catastrophic leak and you want to begin restoring the fluid to the proper level. To properly set the fluid level the engine needs to be on and the fluid hot.

What @repairman54 wrote about fluid being hot is key to the actual process. The fluid in the unit needs to be hot - specifically 85-95C - and checked with the engine running. If you check at 75C and adjust fluid based on that temp, you will end up with an overfilled unit as the fluid hasn't fully expanded. If you check with the unit at 105C and drain until a drip, it will be underfilled. The biggest problem with the video above is the temp is totally unknown and the car is off. There is a Fluid Level Control Valve inside the 6T40. When you cross 60C, it closes trapping fluid inside the valve body. If that car has been driven and the unit reached say 70C, fluid is trapped in the valve body making even the minimum fluid check useless.
 

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2015 Malibu 2LT
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59 Posts
It sounds like the level is EXTREMELY CRITICAL from what's being said here. Would 1 ounce one way or the other make a HUGE DIFFERENCE? There must be some tolerance. If you can go years between changes, the level is bound to drop a little over time.

The owner's manual sure isn't much help - here's what my 2015 manual says:
Automatic Transmission Fluid
It is not necessary to check the transmission fluid level. A transmission fluid leak is the only reason for fluid loss. If a leak occurs, take the vehicle to your dealer and have it repaired as soon as possible.
Change the fluid at the intervals listed in Maintenance Schedule on page 11-2, and be sure to use the fluid listed in Recommended Fluids and Lubricants on page 11-11.
There's no mention of how to check it or what the temperature needs to be when it's checked. Perhaps that information is in the $450 set of service manuals?
 

· Super Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T/6-speed 6T40
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4,577 Posts
Or $20 as an alldatadiy month subscription. But many owners want everything for free. Some believe the service manuals should be provided with any car automatically under a right to repair model - until that happens, which I doubt, we have the model we have. Either way the video does more harm than good.
 
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· Super Moderator
2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T/6-speed 6T40
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4,577 Posts
At $240/year for access to alldatadiy, buying the printed manual sounds cheap. 2 years = $480. I'm figuring on owning my Malibu a lot longer than that.
To each, his own.
What a strange silly path to wander down. $20 is just the lowest cost possible for the shortest subscription. You can get a whole year for $60 or 3 years for $130 with no promo code. I linked the full pricing in my post. I even have promo codes for significant discounts and give them out frequently.
 
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