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Oily residue on rear window and lift gate

I have a strange oily residue on my rear window and lift gate of my 2009 Ford Escape, but I should mention something first…

I brought my car in for a recall related to the transmission. They said they took care of it, but, they said I was also down 3 quarts of transmission fluid. I just bought the car 2 months earlier. So I don’t know why it was that low in the first place. They filled it up.

In any case, after I brought the car in, I drove on the highway for a couple of hours at about 65/70 mpg. I noticed an oily residue all over the back of the SUV. I thought it was just weird and someone splashed something on it. I washed it off the best I could but noticed it was very oily. I brushed it off and didn’t think of it much, until again I took another highway drive for a couple of hours and again oily residue. I washed it off at a rest stop and kept a close eye on it while driving some more, and it started building up again. So something is going on. I brought it back to the dealership and explained all of this. They said they put it on the lift and looked at everything and didn’t see anything wrong. Obviously something is wrong, so I need to “prove” it and I plan on driving it early tomorrow morning to build up the residue again and then bring it to them.

Sorry for the longwinded posting, but any idea what this could be? It seems extremely likely it has to do with something they did. When doing some searching online I found a couple postings that sounds pretty related and they said it was a crack in their transfer case. Any ideas??? It’s driving me crazy and i want to know real bad what is causing this, so any ideas at all would be greatly appreciated.


Could very well be a transmission fluid leak, keep an eye on fluid levels and the one that needs fluid is the source of the problem. Look under the car for drips, and you may be able to ID he source of the problem.

I am assuming this is an automatic V6 with AWD. The transmission dry capacity is 9 quarts of fluid. Ordinarily, a automatic transmission that is down 1 qt of fluid will have noticable problems. Being down 3 quarts would be about the entire capacity of the sump so the transmission should not have engaged at that point.

There are two possible cases. Case one, you indeed lost 3 quarts of fluid. In that case you may have a sizeable leak that only appears while the transmission is running.

The other case would be that the transmission is overfilled with fluid because of a problem with the dip stick (wrong dipstick, mismarked dipstick, etc.). In that case the mechanical components are churning in the oil; aerating it; and expelling fluid through the vent. This would happen while the vehicle is on the highway and abate when going slower or stopped.

You might check the fluid level yourself according to the owners manual. In either case, monitor the fluid level and see if it is going down.