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2008 Kia Sedonna needs Transmission Fluid

Hi, my girl friend has the above mentioned problem which is that each week she has to add at least a quart of tranny fluid. There are no apparent spots on the garage floor. The problem started last week when the engine light came on and she found herself sitting on the side of the road with her daughters in Nevada’s 100+ heat.

This is a long distance romance, I’m on the East Coast so it is a bit hard for me to see her engine (yeah, I know or her) regularly.

I don’t understand where the fluid could be going, unless it leaks out when she is driving… but you would think that when she parks it, some would still drip off onto the floor and this is not the case. I thought maybe her ex-husband wants to feel needed, so he’s stealing it, but I don’t think he’s that devious… well, maybe… after all he left her for an older, uglier woman… :slight_smile:

Have her check the oil, if it looks milky the transmission cooler inside the radiator has failed and she now has some antifreeze inside her transmission. Is it still under warranty?

If there is no evidence of leakage, I agree that the likely source of the problem is the transmission cooler at the bottom of the radiator. Have her look for evidence of antifreeze in the transmission fluid–not in the motor oil.

It should be interesting to see if this is covered by that 10 year/100k Powertrain Warranty that Kia brags about. Since the radiator is technically not part of the powertrain, the warranty may not cover this damage to the transmission, which is part of the powertrain.

Thanks, I sent your replies on to her and she’ll check that out and I’ll let you know either way…

She said that the radiator fluid was filled all the way. The motor oil at proper levels as well as the tranny fluid. She also did not notice any milky fluid in the transmission fluid.

She bought the car used, but she was going to check to see if the warranty still applies to her or not.

Did find out that the ex-husband put a quart too much in motor oil and transmission fluid when he was over last week… She is taking her car to Jiffy Lube to change all the fluids.

Any other ideas as to where the transmission fluid could be going?

She may be better served getting the fluids changed using a trusted, recommended independent mechanic. Establishing a good relationship is important, so you have someone to go to when you have mechanical problems. He may be able to start the diagnosis process. Use mechanics files on the Car talk home page if she doesn’t know any mechanics that she can trust.

Leaks do not always show up as puddles on the floor. Fluid may be blown back along the car and drip off as the car is moving. This is true of trans fluid, engine oil, etc.
I’ve seen cars with fluid stains all the way to the rear bumper or fascia and very little in the way of drips on the garage floor.

Considering the loss of fluid and if the sitting on the side of the highway was due to a transmission fault then I would be very concerned that the transmission on that vehicle is not long for this world.

I don’t know that it has one but if it does, a bad vacuum modulator for shifting the transmission can pull the fluid into the engine to be burned. Other places to look would be around the pan, filter, and any cooling lines going to the radiator cooler. They can rust or wear a hole in and lose fluid in a hurry.

For heavens sake though don’t take it to a quick lube place. Either take it to a non-chain ATRA member shop to have a look, the dealer, or a decent general purpose shop where they have real mechanics. You really don’t want some kid messing around with it. They do have to check all of the fluids though since you said the ex added fluid and too much.

Hey thanks all for the comments. She just emailed me today and told me of this new problem. Do you think it could be related to her transmission problem? I don’t know enough about Kia’s to make an educated guess. I’m mainly a Mopar man. Here is a copy of her latest email:

On another note, the Kia let me sit today again. I drove 1/2 hour to Chandler.  2 blocks away from home, the "tranny" shut down, check engine lite came on AND the ESC OFF light came on. Pulled off the road. Shut off car and A/C and sat for about 5 min. Called my dad but got busy signal. Started car and ESC OFF light was out but check engine was still on. Drove 2 blocks and pulled into my garage. Daddy coming over in an hour to look at it again. I need a mechanic here! Now! I hate being out here, away from those who would lovingly come to my rescue!! Crap!

(and then she emailed me this)

Okay, I emailed you the info I found out. ESC and TSP sensors are screwed up. Need replaced and then the issue is not always solved. Great! Why does this always happen on a Sunday? Hope you are having a great family day. I am taking to dealer tomorrow after work. Daddy running me up. Grrrrr! Wish you were here! ♥

Any help would be greatly appreciated… Thanks