Know Your Car Better: How Much ATF Does A 99 Subaru Forester Hold?

Are you a proud owner of a 99 Subaru Forester? Do you want to keep your car in perfect condition but don’t know how much Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) it can hold? Worry not, this article will provide you with all the essential information to maintain your car’s ATF level and prevent significant damage.

Why is it Important to Know the ATF Level?

ATF is one of the essential fluids that keep your car running smoothly. It plays a crucial role in lubricating the transmission’s moving parts and preventing it from overheating. Therefore, maintaining the correct ATF level is necessary to ensure the longevity and performance of your car.

How Much ATF Does A 99 Subaru Forester Hold?

The 99 Subaru Forester can hold up to 4.3 quarts (4.1 liters) of Automatic Transmission Fluid when the car’s transmission is dry. However, when changing the ATF, it is essential to check the dipstick and add ATF gradually to prevent overfilling.

How to Check the ATF Level?

Checking the ATF level is a straightforward process that can be done at home. The steps are:

  1. Park your car on a level surface and turn off the engine.
  2. Locate the dipstick at the back of the engine, near the firewall.
  3. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth.
  4. Reinsert the dipstick all the way back in, then pull it out again.
  5. Check the fluid level on the dipstick. If the top of the fluid is between the two lines on the dipstick, the ATF level is okay. Otherwise, add ATF gradually until it’s at an adequate level.
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How to Drain and Fill the ATF?

To drain and refill the ATF, you will need a few essential tools such as a pan, a funnel, and a socket wrench. The steps are:

  1. Locate the transmission pan under the car.
  2. Place the pan under the transmission pan, then remove the bolts with a socket wrench.
  3. Drain the old ATF into the pan.
  4. Clean the transmission fluid pan and reinstall it with a new gasket.
  5. Refill the transmission with fresh ATF using a funnel.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the proper ATF level is reached.

Consequences of Overfilling or Underfilling the ATF

Overfilling or underfilling the ATF can cause severe damage to your car’s transmission. Underfilling the ATF can result in improper lubrication, overheating, and poor performance. On the other hand, overfilling can cause the ATF to foam, leading to aeration and reduced lubrication. It can also cause the seals to fail, leading to leaks.

How Often Should You Change the ATF?

Subaru recommends changing the ATF every 30,000 miles (or every 24 months) for the Subaru Forester 99. However, the frequency can depend on factors such as driving conditions, temperature, and load capacity. Always consult your owner’s manual or a professional mechanic for recommendations.

Tips and Advice for Maintaining Your Car

Apart from checking, draining, and filling the ATF, there are other tips and advice that you can follow to maintain your car, such as:

  • Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.
  • Always use the recommended fluids, oils, and filters.
  • Ensure that your tires are properly inflated.
  • Regularly inspect your car’s brakes, belts, and hoses.
  • Keep your car clean and free from debris.
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Q: What type of ATF should I use for my Subaru Forester 99?
A: Always use the recommended fluid specified in your owner’s manual. The Subaru Forester 99 uses Dexron III ATF.

Q: Can I drive with low ATF level?
A: No, it is not recommended. Low ATF level can cause severe damage to your car’s transmission and lead to expensive repairs.

Q: How do I know if my car has low ATF level?
A: You can check the ATF level using a dipstick. If it’s below the minimum level, it’s likely that your car has low ATF level.


Maintaining the correct ATF level is essential to ensure your Subaru Forester 99’s longevity and performance. By following the steps outlined in this article, checking, draining, and filling the ATF can be done quickly and easily. Additionally, proper car maintenance and care can prevent significant damage and unexpected expenses. Always refer to your owner’s manual or a professional mechanic for recommendations.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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