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How to Get Water Out of Transmission Fluid

by Jean Asta

When water gets into the transmission fluid, you have a very small window to get it out before the water will cause permanent damage to your transmission. In fact, if you have started the car's engine since the water got in the transmission fluid, the water will have been pulled into your transmission. It can then cause rust, buildup, adhesive loss on the clutch, expanding, dangerous vapor and the need for the transmission to be rebuilt. However, you can try getting the water out of the transmission fluid and hope that you have prevented the need for a transmission rebuild.

Put the car in park and engage the emergency brake. Put on your gloves and protective glasses.

Jack up the vehicle so that you can reach the transmission pan. Remove the transmission pan with the adjustable wrench. Unscrew the drain plug and drain the fluid out into the bucket.

Replace the drain plug and refill the reservoir with transmission fluid.

Locate the cooler-out line, which takes oil from the transmission to the cooler. Disconnect the line from the cooler. Place one end of the length of tubing over the line end and place the other end of the length of tubing in the bucket.

Have your assistant start the engine and put the car in neutral. While one person watches the fluid pouring into the bucket, the other person needs to add more transmission fluid to keep the level adequate. Continue to flush the fluid through in this manner until the fluid coming out into the bucket is as clean as the fluid being poured into the transmission.

Shut off the engine. Reconnect the cooler-out line to the cooler. Check the transmission fluid level before turning the engine on again.

Tip

  • When water gets into the transmission from a flood or from an accident, you have no reason to believe that there is another issue causing water to leak into the transmission fluid. However, if you see "milkshake" looking fluid in the transmission indicating there is water in the fluid and you don't know the cause, you need to have the engine inspected to locate and repair the cause before performing these steps.

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About the Author

Jean Asta has been a freelance writer for domestic and international clients since 2005. She also acts as a training consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the southeast United States. Asta holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, both from the University of Georgia.

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