Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Factory radiator defect caused transmission fluid to contaminate transmission

asked by on

A factory defect in the radiator has caused a transmission fluid leak to contaminate and destroy my transmission. I had driven my SUV to work and back and it parked fine. The next night when I was backing the SUV out of our driveway, it seemed to be struggling a lot to go forward. The ‘Check ATS’ light came on. Since the only direction that it would go was forward, I backed it into the drive and parked it. The manual said the ATS light meant to take to the dealership, so I had AAA tow it there. They reported to me that the radiator was leaking and the transmission needed to be replaced. Instead of having them do it, I went to a reputable transmission shop and they told me that this is a common problem with the QX56 models. They also informed me that the radiator also cools the transmission fluid and can ruin the transmission because of a defective part in the radiator. Now, I’m still waiting for the transmission shop to install a valve body ordered from Infinity. They will also have to rebuild the transmission, replace the radiator, plus all hoses and clamps. Do you know of any thing that I can do to keep from having more problems with this SUV?

Hello! I would suggest to using a radiator that has an abundance of good reviews from other customers. If the radiator is in fact causing the issues you’ve described there should definitely be other people who have already voiced their opinion on the radiator operation through reviews. A good review is a great indicator that a part will perform properly.

I would also suggest that you check under the vehicle before and after leaving the car for an extended period of time. Your description gives me the impression that there may be a transmission fluid leak present. If this is the case you will certainly be able to see fluid on the ground. Regularly check the vehicle for transmission leakage once you get it back. 

If you decide that you want a fresh pair of eyes on this problem, feel free to enlist a qualified mechanic who can diagnose the issue with your radiator and address the transmission fluid leak if necessary.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Factory radiator defect caused transmission fluid to contaminate transmission

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Could it be the coolant sensor?

Hi and thank you for contacting YourMechanic. If your vehicle engine is overheating, there are 3 different things that can cause this problem. The first is the thermostat is not opening up. A stuck thermostat will cause an engine to...

Q: I have added power steering fluid to my car...I have seen a video which says the fluid should be in middle level. Can I add more? 2005 Honda Accord

Hello - either the side of the fluid reservoir will have Max/Min marks for the maximum and minimum fluid level desirable for power steering fluid, or there will be a "dipstick" indicator on the inside of the fluid cap that...

Q: What should I know about towing a trailer?

Your SUV can be equipped to tow a trailer with a light load. You’ll need to see the driver side door placard for load and weight limits specific to your vehicle. However, there are several precautions that you should follow...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...