Water in Your Car’s Transmission

By Mister Transmission

Water in the transmission spells trouble, even a very small amount can create massive problems. But how does it get in there in the first place, and how can you prevent it from  getting inside?

If your transmission fluid looks like a strawberry milkshake, you’ve got water in the transmission. Once water gets into the transmission enough to affect operation, a rebuild is required. It doesn’t take much–less than an ounce of water can cause problems. Fortunately, if you address the issue quickly, the hard part damage will be minimal, and you’ll save a lot of money. Here we will cover why water is bad for the transmission, how it can enter get into the transmission and how you can get it out quickly in order to avoid a rebuild.

Why is water in the transmission bad?

When water gets inside of an automatic transmission, the friction lining of the clutches absorbs it and dissolves the glue that attaches the material to the clutch plates.  Usually, some amount of water will come out of suspension and form white gummy masses in various areas of the unit. This is why the unit cannot be flushed to remove all of the water. In addition, the presence of water will start rust forming on the ferrous metal parts throughout the unit.  The amount of water and the length of time that it is inside of the unit will determine the extent of the damage, but the resolve to the problem will be to overhaul the transmission.

How does water get into the transmission?

There are plenty of ways for water to find its way into the transmission. Figuring out where the water came from is tricky. Water can come from the radiator or an external source. All transmissions have a cooling line that runs to the radiator. A separate fluid passage circulates the transmission fluid through a portion of the radiator to cool the fluid. Sometimes, a leak develops in the radiator between the coolant passage and the transmission fluid passage, and coolant gets into the radiator.

One good pass through a deep puddle can soak the unit’s insides. Or if the car stalls in a flash flood rainstorm at a low spot in the road.

All transmissions have a vent to maintain equal barometric pressure inside of the transmission.  If the vehicle is driven through water (as in a flood) and the water level is at or above the vent, the water will cool the unit lowering the internal temperature and water is drawn inside of the transmission.

On other cars, rainwater leaks into the fluid, usually through the dipstick tube. Moisture can effortlessly enter the transmission if the dipstick was sprayed during an engine cleaning, or in some situations, water draining from rain or a carwash drips onto the dipstick. Some cars have actually been recalled for a poorly positioned dipstick tube which allowed water to seep into the transmission.

How can I get the water out?

We recommend you visit your nearest Mister Transmission for a free diagnostic. They can determine how the water got in there in order to avoid a reoccurrence and do a fast, thorough flush with new transmission fluid. In some cases, this process will require several dozen quarts of fluid. There is no shortcut that will repair the situation. Several factors including how long the automobile was driven with the contaminated ATF, the kind of gearbox your automobile has and how much water in total got in can all affect the outcome, in other words whether you need a rebuild or a replacement.

Water inside of an automatic transmission is highly destructive and there are few things more damaging to a car than water in the transmission fluid. If left unaddressed, the friction plates in the transmission will separate and the transmission will no longer shift into any gears. This will almost immediately begin corroding the iron in the transmission. Because the transmission is made up of very delicate parts, it can very quickly be destroyed so be sure to get the car towed to your nearest Mister Transmission!

Want to know more?
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Customer Reviews
They are great down to...
Chad Binnie
They are great down to earth service and have an excellent work ethic
Date: October 9, 2021
Website: Google
Awesome customer service. A year...
Jeffrey Dominic
Awesome customer service. A year after my transmission repair I felt an adjustment was required to my transmission and they performed it free of charge standing behind the quality of their work.
Date: October 8, 2021
Website: Google
Excellent service, my car was...
Phyllis Roy
Excellent service, my car was fixed in no time & they did a professional job...I recommend it!
Date: October 7, 2021
Website: Google
I have known Eric and...
Jared Shura
I have known Eric and his crew for some time now. As a mechanic, I often come across difficult transmission related issues that get sent to him and resolved quickly and fairly priced. I just had Eric rebuild the transmission in my truck and I couldn’t believe how fairly priced the work was and the transmission shifts perfect now. Wouldn’t recommend anyone else but Eric at Mr.Transmission.
Date: October 7, 2021
Website: Google
Mister Transmission staff were very...
R R
Mister Transmission staff were very professional and friendly. Answered all our questions and kept us upto date with the process.Jenna is wonderful she is friendly and professional and was able to respond in timely matter . Thank you Jenna your are great employee. I highly recommend them for any one in moncton and surrounding areas. They did an excellent work thank you so much.Ruby
Date: October 7, 2021
Website: Google
Jeff was very kind and...
Julie Restas
Jeff was very kind and helped me a great deal. Would recommend to anyone. Diagnosis was not transmission recommended to go for other problem, did not charge me Unbelievable service and trustworthy.
Date: October 7, 2021
Website: Google
It is not too often...
Jim Cerant
It is not too often when you find a local business that has over 50 5 star ratings, and when you do, you know that you are at the right place to get what you need, done. that was my experience with Mr. Transmission in Owen Sound . My first point of Contact was Warren who was great to speak with and we arranged a time to bring the car in. Later that week after I dropped off the car I had a chance to speak with the owner Chris. Again. another great guy to speak with and knew I was at the right place. They diagnosed the problem - Told me what it needed- gave me the price - fixed the problem- and in no time at all I was on my way. That is what I call great customer service. if you want to RYDNSTYL you need to visit Mr. Transmission in Owen Sound. Jim
Date: October 5, 2021
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Got my trans fixed here....
Paul Ferrante
Got my trans fixed here. It still had issues brought it back and they honored the warranty with no hassle at all .. very pleasant management.. very easy to talk to . Great job . Truck is running perfect again . I recommend these guys..
Date: October 4, 2021
Website: Google
Great customer service
Darlene Cross
Great customer service
Date: October 3, 2021
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Honest & professional auto repairHighly...
Clenry Guzman
Honest & professional auto repairHighly recommend 👍
Date: October 2, 2021
Website: Google
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