No Power After Transmission Fluid Leak

While driving one of the transmission fluid lines popped out of the radiator. After pulling to the side of the road and shutting of the car I lost power. The hazard light button flashes every couple of seconds and there is power to the OBD2 port but nothing else turns on. My scanner can’t connect to the car because it doesn’t turn on but it doesn’t seem to be an electrical issue. I’m really stumped and the only thing I can think of is it’s some mode the car goes into after a catastrophic event and there’s some specific set of things to do to get it working again. Any ideas would be appreciated, I don’t have to money to have it worked on.

By loses power… do you mean electrical power? In other words, you can’t start the car? You don’t want to anyway as long as the trans line is broken.

Not sure how you would classify this as “not an electrical problem” as it certainly seems to be one. Your OBD reader is no help here.

Repair the trans line first. Refill with trans fluid. Next, check the battery for proper voltage (12.3 and up to 12.8v) at the battery with a voltmeter. Then check resistance from the battery negative post to a clean metal surface on the engine… you should get nearly 0 ohms. Check this and post back.

I can’t direct you any farther since you didn’t tell me the year, mileage or if the check engine light was on before the trans line broke. If you have skills and tools you might fix this cheaply depending on what you find.

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Yes, and keep in mind that filling a trans to the correct level can take several steps: measure, pour, run, shift, check dipstick (if it has one) with engine running (or not running - see instructions for your car), measure, pour, etc.


Repair the trans line first. Refill with trans fluid.

Agree to fix transmission proplem first but without car running how do you fill it to correct level?

How did you realize you had a trans leak?

If it were me, I’d guess how much I lost. If it was a couple of quarts, I’d add 1. You need at least enough to prevent that the pump from burning up. Then address the starting problem.


It was a coolant line leak so I would deduce there was a substantial fluid loss. I would repair leak, put three quarts in. Then repair electrical. Then finish adjusting fluid.


Coasting to roadside. I think car is not on roadside now?

I’d guess it is still there based on this…

Engine was revving but the car wasn’t accelerating.

Correct, there is no electricity going to the car, nothing will turn on.
After pulling over it was too hot to work on and I had to be somewhere. I got the car towed and set a pan under to catch leaking fluid. Later that night I bought a new retaining clip for the line that had disconnected and reassembled everything. Most if not all fluid was gone so I threw in about 3/4 of a gallon I had on hand, it’ll need more for sure.
I was tires while posting, I can’t imagine how a non-conductive fluid leak caused an electrical problem. All the fluid leaked out the bottom of the engine bay and didn’t come into contact with any wires. The battery is all good as is resistance to ground.

The car is a 2014 with 86k miles and no check engine light prior to the leak.

Thanks for your thorough response, hopefully I’ve provided enough information

OK so we’ve agreed it is an electrical problem. I agree that the electrical problem is unlikely to be caused by the trans line issue so it should be treated as such. Stuff happens and sometimes it comes in 2s or 3s. There is no magic instant fix, you’re going to have to chase it down to the fault.

I don’t know how you determined the battery is good… maybe checked voltage across the terminals? You didn’t say if the CEL or any other lights were on before the car died…

The next place to check is the other end of the battery cable. Follow it down to its next attachment. Is there 12v? Check at the fuse box… is there 12v there? Check at the back of the alternator… is there 12v there? There may be a fusible link - basically a wire that burns up to protect the car from a fire - that broke or burned through.