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Fluid level checks Dodge Ram 2500 2003 - 2011 Petrol 3.7 V6

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Dodge Ram 2500 2003 - 2011  | 3.7 V6 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
1 Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See the specifications at the bottom of this Section before adding fluid to any of the following components. Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked
2 The oil level is checked with a dipstick, which is located on the side of the engine (arrowed) . The dipstick extends through a metal tube down into the oil pan
3 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 5 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper part of the engine, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube and pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick. At its highest point, the level should be between the ADD (A) and FULL (B) marks on the dipstick. On gasoline models, it takes one quart of oil to raise the level from ADD mark to the FULL mark. On diesel models it takes two quarts
5 On gasoline engines it takes one quart of oil to raise the level from the ADD mark to the FULL mark on the dipstick. Do not allow the level to drop below the ADD mark or oil starvation may cause engine damage. Conversely, overfilling the engine (adding oil above the FULL mark) may cause oil fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures. On diesel engines, it takes two quarts of oil to raise the level from the ADD to the FULL mark on the dipstick. Maintaining the oil level above the FULL mark can cause excessive oil consumption.
6 To add oil, remove the filler cap from the valve cover (arrowed) . After adding oil, wait a few minutes to allow the level to stabilize, then pull out the dipstick and check the level again. Add more oil if required. Install the filler cap and tighten it by hand only
7 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky in color or has water droplets in it, the cylinder head gasket(s) may be blown or the head(s) or block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed. Some later models are equipped with an engine oil change reminder system. This system will alert you by displaying “Oil Change Required” on the EVIC (Electronic Vehicle Information Center) when it is time to change your engine oil

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contaminated areas immediately with plenty of water. Don’t store new coolant or leave old coolant lying around where it’s accessible to children or pets - they’re attracted by its sweet smell. Ingestion of even a small amount of coolant can be fatal! Wipe up garage floor and drip pan spills immediately. Keep antifreeze containers covered and repair cooling system leaks as soon as they’re noticed
8 All vehicles covered by this manual are equipped with a pressurized coolant recovery system. A plastic coolant reservoir or expansion tank is located either on the fan shroud or in the right rear corner of the engine compartment
9 The coolant level in the tank should be checked regularly (see illustrations). Warning: Do not remove the pressure cap or expansion tank cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm! The level in the tank varies with the temperature of the engine.
  1. On models with an expansion tank, when the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at the COLD FILL RANGE mark on the expansion tank. If it isn’t, remove the cap from the tank and add a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol-based antifreeze and water.
  2. On models equipped with a coolant reservoir, start the engine. Once the engine has warmed up, let the engine idle and check the coolant level in the reservoir. The level should be between the marks. If it isn’t, allow the engine to cool, then remove the cap from the reservoir tank and add a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol based antifreeze and water
9a When the engine is cold, the engine coolant level should be within the COLD FILL RANGE (models with an expansion tank)
9b Coolant level marks (models with a coolant reservoir; this one’s a diesel)
10 Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. Don’t use rust inhibitors or additives. An empty plastic milk jug or bleach bottle makes an excellent container for mixing coolant
11 If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the pressure cap or expansion tank cap pressure tested by a service station
12 If you have to remove the pressure cap or expansion tank cap, wait until the engine has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop. If coolant or steam escapes, or if you hear a hissing noise, let the engine cool down longer, then remove the cap
13 Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it’s brown or rust-colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals

Brake and clutch fluid

14 The brake master cylinder is located in the driver’s side of the engine compartment, near the firewall. The hydraulic clutch master cylinder used on manual transmission vehicles is sealed at the factory and requires replacement if leaks develop
15 To check the fluid level of the brake master cylinder, simply look at the MAX and MIN marks on the reservoir. The level should be within the specified distance from the maximum fill line. Never let the brake fluid level drop below the MIN mark
16 If the level is low, wipe the top of the reservoir cover with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake system before lifting the cover
17 Add only the specified brake fluid to the brake reservoir listed below or to your owner’s manual). Mixing different types of brake fluid can damage the system. Fill the brake master cylinder reservoir only to the MAX line
Warning: Use caution when filling either reservoir - brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces. Do not use brake fluid that is more than one year old or has been left open. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Excess moisture can cause a dangerous loss of braking
18 While the reservoir cap is removed, inspect the master cylinder reservoir for contamination. If deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are present, the system should be drained and refilled
19 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the lid is properly seated to prevent fluid leakage and/or system pressure loss
20 The fluid in the brake master cylinder will drop slightly as the brake pads at each wheel wear down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated replenishing to keep it at the proper level, this is an indication of leakage in the brake system, which should be corrected immediately. If the brake system shows an indication of leakage check all brake lines and connections, along with the calipers and booster. If the hydraulic clutch system shows an indication of leakage check all clutch lines and connections, along with the clutch release cylinder
21 If, upon checking the brake master cylinder fluid level, you discover the reservoir empty or nearly empty, the system should be bled

Power steering fluid

22 Check the power steering fluid level periodically to avoid steering system problems, such as damage to the pump
Caution: DO NOT hold the steering wheel against either stop (extreme left or right turn) for more than five seconds. If you do, the power steering pump could be damaged
23 The power steering fluid reservoir (arrowed) is located on the left side of the engine (5.7L V8 engine shown, others similar)
24 For the check, the front wheels should be pointed straight ahead and the engine should be off
25 Use a clean rag to wipe off the reservoir cap and the area around the cap. This will help prevent any foreign matter from entering the reservoir during the check
26 Twist off the cap and check the temperature of the fluid at the end of the dipstick with your finger
27 Wipe off the fluid with a clean rag, reinsert the dipstick, then withdraw it and read the fluid level. The fluid should be at the proper level, depending on whether it was checked hot or cold
28 If additional fluid is required, pour the specified type directly into the reservoir, using a funnel to prevent spills
29 If the reservoir requires frequent fluid additions, all power steering hoses, hose connections, steering gear and the power steering pump should be carefully checked for leaks
30 Fluid for the windshield washer system is stored in a plastic reservoir (arrowed) located at the right front of the engine compartment on 3.7L, 4.7L, 5.7L and 5.9L gasoline engine models, and at the left front of the engine compartment on 8.0L gasoline and 5.9L diesel engine models
31 In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container. Caution: Do not use cooling system antifreeze - it will damage the vehicle’s paint

Automatic transmission

32 The automatic transmission fluid level should be carefully maintained. Low fluid level can lead to slipping or loss of drive, while overfilling can cause foaming and loss of fluid
33 With the parking brake set, start the engine, then move the shift lever through all the gear ranges, ending in Neutral. The fluid level must be checked with the vehicle level and the engine running at idle
Note: Incorrect fluid level readings will result if the vehicle has just been driven at high speeds for an extended period, in hot weather in city traffic, or if it has been pulling a trailer. If any of these conditions apply, wait until the fluid has cooled (about 30 minutes)
34 With the transmission at normal operating temperature, remove the dipstick from the filler tube. The dipstick is located at the rear of the engine compartment on the passenger’s side (arrowed). Note: Normal operating temperature is after a few minutes of engine operation or after 15 miles of driving
35 Wipe the fluid from the dipstick with a clean rag and push it back into the filler tube until the cap seats
36 Pull the dipstick out again and note the fluid level
37 At normal operating temperature, the fluid level should be between the two upper reference holes (HOT). On 5.9L diesel engine models, if the fluid is warm, the level should be between the two holes. If it’s hot, the level should be in the area marked OK (crosshatched area). If additional fluid is required, add it directly into the tube using a funnel. Add the fluid a little at a time and keep checking the level until it’s correct. Note: Wait at least two minutes before rechecking the fluid level allowing the fluid to fully drain into the transmission
38 The condition of the fluid should also be checked along with the level. If the fluid at the end of the dipstick is a dark reddish-brown color, or if it smells burned, it should be changed. If you are in doubt about the condition of the fluid, purchase some new fluid and compare the two for color and smell

Specifications

Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations at the time this manual was written. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Engine oil type
  Gasoline engine API grade “certified for gasoline engines”
    Oil viscosity
      3.7L V6 engine 5W-30
      4.7L V8 engine 5W-30
      5.7L V8 engine (2004 and earlier) 5W-30
      5.7L V8 engine (2005) 5W-20
      5.9L V8 10W-30
      8.0L V10 engine 10W-30
  Diesel engine API grade CI-4/SL multigrade and low sulfated ash limit engine oil
    Oil viscosity 15W-40 or synthetic 5W-40
Automatic transmission fluid type Mopar® type ATF+4 or equivalent
Manual transmission lubricant type
  NV3500/NV5600 Mopar® manual transmission lubricant part or equivalent
  NV4500 Mopar® synthetic 75W-85 manual transmission lubricant or equivalent
  G238/G56 Mopar® type ATF+4 or equivalent
Transfer case lubricant type Mopar® type ATF+4 or equivalent
Coolant 50/50 mixture of Mopar 5 year/100,000 mile Formula antifreeze/coolant with HOAT (Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) and water
Note: Most models are filled with a 50/50 mixture of Mopar® 5-year/100,000-mile coolant that shouldn’t be mixed with other coolants. Some early model diesel engines are filled with a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol-based antifreeze and water. Refer to the owners manual for your vehicle to determine what type coolant you have. Always refill with the correct coolant
Differential lubricant type
  Front axle SAE 75W-90 GL-5 gear lubricant
  Rear axle
    2002
      1500 model SAE 75W-90 GL-5 gear lubricant*
      2500/3500 models SAE 75W-90 GL-5 gear lubricant**
    2003 and later
      1500 model Mopar® Synthetic gear lubricant SAE 75W-140***
      2500/3500 models Mopar® Synthetic gear lubricant SAE 75W-90
Brake fluid type DOT 3 brake fluid
Power steering fluid Mopar® type ATF+4 or equivalent
Chassis grease type NLGI no. 2 EP chassis grease
39 * Limited-slip rear axles add 5 oz. of Mopar® limited slip additive or equivalent, to the specified lubricant
40 ** Limited-slip rear axles add Mopar® limited slip additive or equivalent, to the specified lubricant
41 (Model 60) 2WD add 5 oz
42 (Model 60) 4WD add 6 oz
43 Model 70/80) 2WD add 7 oz
44 (Model 70) 4WD add 8 oz
45 (Model 80) 4WD add 10 oz
46 *** Limited-slip rear axles add 4 oz of Mopar® limited slip additive or equivalent, to the specified lubricant
47 *All capacities approximate. Add as necessary to bring the appropriate levels
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