Q: I accidentally drained the transmission fluid on my car

asked by on May 13, 2016

I bought my car used a few weeks ago. A note from the dealer said it was due for an oil change. I have done oil changes before so I put the car up on ramps, unscrewed the plug, and then walked away for a few minutes. When I came back and noticed a smell and saw green liquid. I accidentally drained the CVT fluid. I put the car in neutral and pushed in down the ramps and into the driveway. I didn't start the car. Did I cause any damage by taking from park to neutral, and then back into park without transmission fluid in it? Also, should I go to the dealership to get the fluid replaced or can I do it myself?

It’s not at all likely that you damaged the transmission as long as it wasn’t started. Technically, you can put the CVT fluid back in, but it needs to be done from the same hole it was drained from. This could be done using a hand operated fluid pump stuck into a bottle of the fluid. The only concern I have is that proper fluid level is critical, and usually the level is set using a scan tool to monitor temperature while doing it.

If you decide to put the fluid back in yourself, you should have a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, verify the proper level after you’ve finished it. If you don’t want to do this, you can have them service the transmission fluid and properly set the level.

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