Oil in the ATF tank

transmissions
#1

I have a 2001 BMW 330xi and I have had an issue with the oil level dropping. Well I went to add oil to the oil tank but put it in the ATF tank by accident. What do I do? I am in such a panic!!

#2

If you haven’t started the car since you added this, then all of the motor oil will still be sitting in the transmission pan. If it were me and it was in my driveway I’d just drop the pan, clean it all up, refill and call it a day. Some cars (I don’t know about yours) also have drain plugs which would be golden since it would be worlds easier - though without being able to clean the pan, I’d likely drain a couple of times.

If you have run the car the the motor oil is now through the whole system and you’ll probably need to get it to a tranny shop, tell them what happened, and have them flush the whole system out.

I don’t know enough to tell you whether driving it this way (e.g. to a shop for service) would be certain death or not. You may be smarter to have it towed if you can’t/won’t do it yourself.

I do know that you can’t leave it this way as the only thing that should go into the trans is the trans fluid recommended by the manufacturer.

#3

ATF tank? You mean the plastic one for the power steering? Does BMW use an external trans fluid reservoir?

#4

I wasn’t taking “tank” literally - but that’s a good point.

kendallann28 - describe exactly what it is that you poured the oil into, and whether or not you’re sure it is the AT

#5

How much did you put in?

#6

After seriously panicking and calling Valvoline (and getting made fun of) I found out that it was in fact my power steering tank not the ATF tank. Since I hadn’t started the car, I went to Stop and Shop and bought a turkey baster. I was able to suck out 99% of anything in there and put new ATF fluid in there. Thanks guys! If my power steering goes, at least I will know why.

#7

You mean you removed the accidentally added oil from the power steering reservoir, and replaced it with automatic transmission fluid (ATF)? I don’t know a whole lot about BMWs, but I would think that even they require power steering fluid for the power steering, not ATF. Or, am I mistaken?