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Accidently put transmission fluid in oil!!

blucy2blucy2 Member Posts: 7
My parents had an 81 Chevy Impala with 37K on it (yes, thats all). My daughter bought it since they never use it. Should have lasted forever....unfortunately a "friend" accidently put transmission fluid in oil.......then drove it a few miles, now it makes awful noise. Is this engine ruined? We're afraid to even drive it to a shop and have oil drained. What is best thing to do from here? Please help..
[email protected] Thanks


  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    If say 1/2 quart was added you may be lucky and just get it out of there and see, either way, drain, filter etc and fill and see what happens, What can you lose at this point
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    How much ATF did they put in? Basically, ATF is a very light weight very high detergent oil, so in small amounts it shouldn't harm the engine. But if it was ALL ATF (5 quarts), well, that's a problem.

    This could all be a coincidence, too.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Who always used four quarts of motor oil and one quart of ATF. He swore it kept his engine cleaner and was good for the lifters. He had an old Buick with lots of miles on it that ran like new.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It is extremely high detergent so you'd have to be careful. As for its high temp lubricating and additive qualities, I really don't know but I'd guess not great.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    Actually, its lubrication qualities must be pretty good since it is recommended as a stop gap measure to make a rotary engine run once the apex seals have worn away. It somehow helps the rotors seal against the engine walls and gives the engine enough compression to run so you can get it to the shop and have the engine rebuilt. But it can only be used briefly and it is supposed to be poured down the carbuerator, not into the oil fill tube. I would think the car would be fine as long as it was only topped off and not completely filled with it. I mean my friend filled up his mom's Mercedes diesel with regular gas and drove it around all day and it did little damage to her car.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    On the honda accord forum a Honda mechanic reccomended filling the crankcase with ATF and running it for 15 minutes to clean the engine if it was really dirty. Running the engine is not so bad, but putting a load on it and getting it real hot could do some damage. If it is making noise, I would drain the ATF immediatly and replace with fresh oil. It just may be fine.
  • john319john319 Member Posts: 37
    what do you have to lose?
  • blucy2blucy2 Member Posts: 7
    Only 1 quart went in and it was driven about 8 miles since. She said it is making a noise like maybe it is just the fan belt loose and naturally there is no one that can check it. The problem is, the shop is about 2 or 3 miles away, should we chance driving it to there? IDEAS?????
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    If you cannot perform the oil change how about friend/neighbor that can and if not hwo about mobile oil change units, many areas have them and they will come to your car.

    Or, if really concerned have it towed to shop and if you have any kind of road asiistance they should pay for it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I don't see how the engine could be damaged by driving 8 miles with one quart of ATF in the crankcase. Maybe someone spilled oil on a belt, as you say.
This discussion has been closed.