Have you ever opened the hood of your 2018 Jeep Compass wondering where the transmission dipstick is located? Being able to safely check your Jeep’s transmission fluid level is important preventative maintenance. But if you can’t find the dipstick, how can you check if your automatic transmission fluid (ATF) needs to be refilled?
The transmission dipstick on a 2018 Jeep Compass is tucked away on the passenger side of the engine bay near the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
In this detailed guide, we will cover:
- Exactly where the dip stick is located in the 2018 Compass engine bay
- What the Jeep transmission fluid fill tube and dipstick look like
- Steps to check your transmission fluid level
- When to change your Compass’ automatic transmission fluid
- What problems to watch for if your transmission fluid is low
- How to safely add more ATF if needed
And much more related to maintaining the automatic transmission in your 2018 Jeep Compass!
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Transmission in a 2018 Jeep Compass
The 2018 Jeep Compass comes with either a 6-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual transmission option depending on your trim and engine sizes. Most Compass models sold feature the 9-speed automatic option.
This advanced 9 speed auto transmission is designed and built by Aisin exclusively for Chrysler vehicles. Understanding where its dipstick is located and how to check the fluid level is important routine maintenance for your ** Compass transmission**.
Low fluid can cause major transmission problems leading to expensive repairs down the road. Checking the fluid regularly and adding transmission fluid when needed can prevent many issues and help your 2018 Compass transmission last over 200,000 miles.
Now let’s dive into where exactly the transmission dipstick and fill tube are tucked away under the hood of your Jeep Compass!
Where is the Transmission Dipstick Located in a 2018 Jeep Compass?
The transmission dip stick on a 2018 Compass is located towards the back of the engine bay, near the driver side but closer to the center.
Specifically, you’ll find it next to the windshield washer fluid reservoir. The reservoir cap will likely be labeled “fluid only”, while the transmission fill tube will be unlabeled on your Compass.
If you are standing in front of the Jeep looking into the engine bay, the transmission dipstick placement is on the passenger side of the automatic transmission oil pan closer to the front firewall.
Here are step-by-step directions to finding it:
- Open the hood of your 2018 Compass and locate the large hinged plastic engine cover over the components. Unlatch the cover clips and remove this protective shielding to expose the engine.
- Scan just right of center and towards the back firewall for the long narrow plastic windshield washer reservoir. This is a helpful landmark when searching for the transmission fluid fill tube and dipstick.
- Just behind and slightly passenger of the washer fluid reservoir cap, you’ll notice a yellow loop ring attached to the transmission dipstick handle.
- The small diameter metal tube next to the yellow ring is the transmission fluid fill plug you will feed fluid into if refilling. And the ring itself allows you to safely pull out the dipstick to check oil level.
So in summary, the key to finding the Compass automatic transmission dipstick check location is looking for the windshield washer fluid reservoir first. Then scanning an inch or two towards the passenger side and closer to the firewall to spot the small yellow handle loop.
What Does the Transmission Dipstick Look Like in a 2018 Jeep Compass?
Once you’ve located the general area next to the washer fluid reservoir toward the vehicle firewall, identifying the actual transmission dipstick components takes just seconds.
As mentioned, you’ll see:
- Yellow loop ring attached to the transmission fluid dipstick handle
- Silver metal tube rising from the transmission fill plug hole
The ring loop allows you get get a solid grip to safely pull out the dipstick to check oil level, without touching any hot engine components directly.
While the fill tube next to it leads directly down to the oil pan and is where you add more automatic transmission fluid (ATF) if needed.
The actual dipstick itself is only about 6 inches long when removed from the tube. It has a molded black handle on one end for grip, and the level indicator portion on the lower end.
This clear and color-coded level indicator on Compass dipsticks allows you to immediately tell if your transmission oil level falls within the safe “hot” range for operation. Or requires adding some additional fluid.
Being able to quickly distinguish the important transmission fluid check components in your engine bay helps make routine maintenance easier. So study up on what to look for using your owner’s manual diagram for reference too.
Checking Transmission Fluid Level with the Dipstick
Understanding the location and appearance of your Jeep’s transmission components now leads to the crucial next step – actually checking fluid levels.
Let’s run through the proper procedure for inspecting oil level on your 2018 Jeep Compass:
- Make sure your Jeep has been warmed up to full operating temperature first. The fluid will expand some when hot, and you want to check the “hot” level range with the engine running.
- Shift into park and engage the emergency brake. Then let your Jeep run at idle speed for this process – the transmission needs oil flow during the inspection.
- Locate the yellow handled transmission dipstick again as outlined above. Get a grip on the ring end.
- Gently pull the dipstick directly up and out in a vertical motion to remove it.
- Wipe the indicator end clean with a lint free rag. Important to get a precise reading.
- Slowly insert the dipstick back into the fill tube until it stops and seats fully.
- Carefully remove the dipstick again and inspect the level. The plastic handle end shows minimum cold levels and maximum hot reading.
Ideally, the fluid will fall between the upper and lower notch indicators towards the metal tip end. If it is within, gently re-insert the transmission dipstick back into the tube snugly and re-attach the yellow handle loop.
However if the oil level is low near or below the lower notch line, add transmission fluid until within the proper “hot” quartz range. Use the steps outlined later in this article before re-checking.
Using this cautious process routinely makes monitoring transmission health much easier. Next let’s cover the recommended service intervals Jeep suggests.
How Often to Check Transmission Fluid in 2018 Compass
The manufacturer recommends inspecting transmission fluid level about once per month on your 2018 Jeep Compass as part of routine maintenance.
Some technicians also advise checking the oil every 1-2 fuel stops to keep better tabs on any potential leaks or unusual changes. Especially if you just had major transmission service performed recently.
As transmissions can deteriorate quickly if low on fluid for long. Getting into the habit of frequent inspections takes little time and can avoid many major issues down the road.
In addition to the monthly dipstick checks, the actual automatic transmission fluid replacement interval is roughly every 40,000 miles based on how you drive.
Severe driving conditions like hauling heavy loads, stop-and-go traffic, very hot operating climates, or off-roading may necessitate changing transmission fluid more frequently in your Compass though.
So consider your normal driving habits when scheduling ATF drain and fills. And stick to high quality branded fluids only, never generic unapproved varieties.
Overall getting familiar with where your Jeep’s transmission dipstick is found under the hood makes completing suggested fluid checks much quicker.
Where is Transmission Dipstick on Other Jeep Models?
While we’ve covered the 2018 Jeep Compass exclusively up until this point, it’s common for owners to crossover between Jeep, Dodge or Chrysler models over time.
So knowing where to find the transmission dipstick on other popular Jeeps models is helpful in case your next vehicle is a Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, or something else.
Here’s a quick overview of transmission fluid check locations on other Jeep models:
Jeep Wrangler (JK) – The transmission dipstick is situated toward the front of the engine closer to the radiator support. Passenger side mounted in the 3 o’clock position, just under the intake air duct when facing the engine bay.
Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2) – The Grand Cherokee dipstick location is along the passenger fender well closer to firewall. Near the black fuse box around 3 o’clock position when looking down at transmission pan.
Jeep Renegade (BU) – Similar harder to reach location along passenger side inner fender lining underneath air box. Access by removing black snap-in clips then folding back protective plastic shielding.
So while not identically placed across all models and generation years, the general rule of thumb is checking the passenger side first if unable to spot the transmission dipstick right away. Consult your specific manuals for any uncertainties.
Knowing the check procedure by heart though means one less barrier to keeping your Jeep healthy with plenty of transmission fluid at all times.
What Problems Can Low Transmission Fluid Cause?
We’ve covered best practices on how to check fluid levels, but understanding what happens if you accidentally let things get too low is critical too.
Driving any extended distances with inadequate transmission fluid can cause major issues including:
Difficulty Accelerating – Pump relies on fluid to create hydraulic pressure needed for gear and clutch engagement. Low levels leads to sluggish acceleration and reduced power.
Trouble Shifting Gears – Similar to accelerating, the valve body relies sufficient ATF to smoothly transition between gear ratios as speeds change.
Gear Slipping – Friction discs and bands begin losing grip and “slip” as fluid falls below minimum safe operating capacity.
Burning Smell – Friction material and clutch packs start overheating severely from lack of cooling and lubrication.
Complete Transmission Failure – If ignored long enough, total seizure of internal components is possible requiring extensive repairs or replacement.
And the list of problems goes on. But the main takeaway is low transmission fluid can create a cascading effect of issues that worsen quickly. So proper level checks, refills, and changes are crucial.
Catching things early and restoring proper fluid levels minimizes risk the of permanent damage or runaway problems. Next let’s cover adding oil if indeed low.
How to Safely Refill Transmission Fluid if Low
First and foremost – only add approved transmission fluid varieties as specified in your 2018 Jeep Compass owner’s manual for the 9 speed automatic.
The recommended factory fill is Mopar ATF+4 automatic transmission fluid, or equivalent Dealership quality equivalent like Pennzoil ATF Plus-4. Mixing fluid types or using non-approved substitutes can cause major operating issues.
Here are the step-by-step instructions for safely adding more transmission oil:
- Confirm fluid level is in fact low using the dipstick checking steps outlined earlier. You want it registering below minimum notch indicators when hot.
- Place funnel into fill tube hole and add approved ATF slowly until level reaches center of hot band on indicator. Pour carefully avoiding overfills.
- Recheck fluid a final time using dipstick again to confirm level is now within normal operating range. Top off if needed.
- Safely dispose of any used rags and washing your hands thoroughly after.
- Consider adding a transmission fluid leak detector dye if suspicion of leaks. Then monitor closely for drops showing up.
Getting familiar with types of transmission fluid approved for your Compass gives confidence you are using the proper formulations. And learning the safe refill process prepares you to maintain healthy levels at all times.
But what about going a step further by servicing the entire system? Let’s dig into that.
When Should You Drain and Refill Transmission Fluid?
As important as simple level checks and vital adds are, periodically flushing old contaminated ATF provides cooling system cleansing too.
Full fluid drain and fills should be performed roughly every 30,000 to 50,000 miles per the manufacturer’s recommendations for the 2018 Compass automatic transmission.
The exact interval can vary depending on operating conditions though. Things like frequent towing, off-roading, stop-go traffic driving tend to accelerate fluid breakdown.
Plan on more frequent complete fluid exchanges if you fall into more extreme use categories. And never exceed 60,000 miles between changes under any circumstances.
The actual drain and fill service procedure on a 9 speed automatic is best left to trained transmission technicians if possible. But includes:
- Safely elevating front of vehicle and removing protective underbody panels to access drain plug.
- Positioning oil catch pan securely underneath.
- Using proper socket wrench to loosen and remove drain plug, allowing old ATF fluid to fully evacuate into pan.
- Thoroughly cleaning magnetic drain plug of metal contaminants before reinstalling with new sealing washer.
- Checking for any debris in drained oil which could indicate internal wear occurring.
- Lowering vehicle, refilling with precise amount of fresh, approved transmission fluid through dipstick fill tube using a funnel until level perfect on indicator.
- Checking for any leaks around plug or externally, correcting as needed.
- Safely recycling old ATF fluid.
While seemingly complex at first glance, learning the drain and refill process prepares you for servicing your Compass completely over the long run. Or conversing accurately with your mechanic on what needs done at routine intervals.
Between proper level checks, vital adds when low, and complete fluid changes, keeping fresh ATF flowing is absolutely essential to ensure long automatic transmission life in Jeeps over 150,000 to 200,000 miles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of transmission fluid does my 2018 Jeep Compass use?
The factory-fill fluid is Mopar 8&9 Speed ATF Automatic Transmission Fluid. Acceptable substitutes that meet manufacturer specifications include Pennzoil ATF+4 and Valvoline MaxLife ATF. Many dealerships also have their own compatible brands. Use only approved types!
Can I overfill the transmission fluid level?
Yes, adding too much fluid can cause retention issues and lead to operation problems. Always carefully pour, recheck the dipstick frequently, and only fill to within the safe operating range. Err on slightly low rather than risk overfilling.
How much does a transmission fluid change cost?
Expect to pay $100 to $300 for a complete fluid drain and fill service on average. Multi-point inspections and replacement filters can run higher. While discounts coupons can reduce costs at national franchise shops.
Should all the fluid be drained out when servicing?
Ideally 85-90% of old fluid should be evacuated to clean out debris and clutches. Hard shift concerns may require more aggressive fluid exchanges up to 3X if issues continue afterwards.
Conclusion and Final Takeaways
Finding where the transmission dipstick hides in your 2018 Jeep Compass is step one for taking control over your automatic transmission’s health and longevity. Learning where the tube resides along the passenger side fender allows quick fluid level inspections. Understanding how to check a Compass’ 9 speed gearbox maintains protection against wear or breakdown over the long run too.
Pay attention for any leaks underneath over time, and monitor acceleration feel in case topping off becomes necessary between changes. Consider adding an ATF conditioner when servicing for enhanced friction properties as well.
And should problematic shifting, burning smells, or leakage ever arise down the road, immediately verifying sufficient fluid is onboard minimizes odds of permanent and costly damage occurring.
By mastering exact dipstick locale, check procedures, fill points and capacities, adding transmission fluid as needed, plus best intervals for complete ATF flushes, keeping your 2018 Compass running smoothly for 150,000 miles. However, depending on factors like maintenance and driving conditions, the Jeep Compass can last up to 200,000 miles
So use this detailed guide as a reference when performing general under-hood inspections, before longer road trips for peace of mind, if accelerating behavior changes over upcoming miles, or anytime mechanical concerns arise. Invest a few quick minutes for fluid inspections now to avoid expensive transmission repairs later!