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?
Visite one of our locations!

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Customer Reviews
Excellent service
Michael Gardner
Excellent service
Date: September 18, 2020
Website: Google
Was convinced I had a...
Jonathan Campbell
Was convinced I had a transmission failure and was prepared for a big bill but they spent the time to diagnose that it wasn't transmission related. Let me know where to go with no charge. Very honest.
Date: September 17, 2020
Website: Google
Called Friday afternoon and booked...
Clarence Benson
Called Friday afternoon and booked me in for 8am Monday.👍
Date: September 17, 2020
Website: Google
I remember my father always...
Chris W.
I remember my father always saying go to Mr. transmission and luckily for me I didn’t need their services until 20 years later.They’re still solid, knowledgeable, professional & very helpful. Steve offered recommendations but wasn’t trying to sell or push services on me. Will return in the future.
Date: September 15, 2020
Website: Google
Gary at North Bay transmission...
Colleen Whalley
Gary at North Bay transmission was amazing. My 2016 Rogue had some major issues. He was able to find a second hand one. These are common issues with the Nissans CVT transmissions. Which after speaking with Nissan doesn't seem to be a concern. Repairs all total $7600 plus rental $575. Gary ensured that i received their rate from Enterprise. It was suspected that the awd unit had leaks/issues. When I went back for the 10 day check after repair. It was confirmed the awd needed some repair. When I brought it back in for that repair. Gary did not charge me the cost of taking the unit out again. He absorbed the almost $600 i would have been charged. I was treated with respect and fairness! Their estimatex time frames for work completion were kept. Keep up the good work Mister Transmission in North Bay!
Date: September 15, 2020
Website: Google
It is a rarity when...
Renee Lauzon
It is a rarity when you come across an honest mechanic who puts looking out for your vehicles safety and longevity as well as the the owners best interests firsthand. Although I was not happy with the news that I received from Kris (honest mechanic) he did help me get my lemon (my SUV) on the road again and even offered to inspect my next used vehicle prior to purchasing it FOR FREE!!! When was the last time you received a diagnostic check on your vehicle without having to pay?I thought Kris was a straight forward, no BS, and very kind mechanic that everyone wit a vehicle needs!!! Thank you Mister Transmission, You are my newest BFF!!!🤗
Date: September 13, 2020
Website: Google
Terry Hillier owner of a...
Joanne Hillier
Terry Hillier owner of a rogue / truck Second time using this location . I had my truck done there a year ago and i just Took my mother suv there and so far so good Got a transmission rebuild there.. guys seem Friendly.. will update again in a few months .
Date: September 13, 2020
Website: Google
Danny was very professional and...
Marlene Hyde
Danny was very professional and informed
Date: September 12, 2020
Website: Google
Honest and quality service
Bin
Honest and quality service
Date: September 10, 2020
Website: Google
Took my Jeep to Mister...
Bailey Brown
Took my Jeep to Mister Transmission. They took it in at the end of day and had it done the next day by 3:00. Amazing service. They made me feel comfortable by explaining the issue and how they fixed it. Their customer service is awesome and they make you feel welcomed. Special thank you to Denise and Sean for this experience! Would 110% go there again and recommend this shop to anyone!
Date: September 10, 2020
Website: Google
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