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Please help-- oil change

My husband just changed the oil on our 2003 Subaru Forester, and now when we go to drive it, white smoke billows out of the exhaust pipe, and the gears are not engaging properly, and we do not have as much power when they do, WHAT DID HE DO???

Just guessing…too much oil.

could it be the transmission?

If you transmission has a drain plug I am guessing he emptied the tranny and added oil to the engine. So the engine has too much oil and the tranny is half full. Both would need to be attended to ASAP.

how do i attend to it asap?

Well 1st check the engine and tranny oil levels. If they are off you have to find the correct ATF for your car and fill it BEFORE you drive it any more. THEN you have to find the engine oil drain and empty it and pour the correct amount of engine oil in it.

would it be driving funny because of too much oil?

Not really, but maybe from lack of transmission oil. I am just hypothesizing in here though.

This is an automatic, correct?

Ask your husband if the oil he drained out was red. If it was red, then Galant is right on the money.

Try not to drive this car until you get these oil levels corrected. You can do a LOT of damage.

most likely that will not be the problem, usually you check the oil when pouring it in
on the off chance he did not though, that could be the problem

If there is to much engine oil there will be a problem later. The crankshaft will whip air into the oil and the oil will froth and then no liquid oil will lube the engine.

Galant is likely correct on all of this. It’s very easy to drain the final drive (automatic) or the entire transaxle (manual) if one is not careful. This is due to the tranxaxle drain plug being similar in appearance and located so close to the engine oil drain plug.

It can cause the car to drive strangely (often a binding feeling), may cause a whining noise, and overfilling the engine oil could cause this smoke.
You should immediately check the engine oil level and the final drive oil level (NOT the ATF level) if this is an automatic transaxle before the transmission gives up in a catastrophic way.

Many a Subaru has suffered an exploded transaxle from this simple mistake and for future reference; whenever an oil change is performed the engine should be started, run for a few minutes, shut off, and the oil level rechecked after a few minutes.

In several of the worst cases I’ve seen the entire transaxle case was cracked completely through or around and the internals were pretty much scrap iron. These turned out to be pretty pricy oil changes.

Reading through the OP’s description, I too agree with Galant and OK4450.

I concur with the others who said that hubby drained the transmission fluid, rather than the motor oil, thus resulting in an overfilled engine and a dry transmission. The most likely result is a ruined transmission, but if the engine is operated any more than it has been already, then bearing damage to the engine could occur also.

What to do:

*Immediately check the levels of both the transmission fluid and the motor oil.
*If our theory is correct, drain the motor oil and refill with the proper amount of oil.
*Refill the transmission with the proper amount of the specified transmission fluid.
*Pray to God that this DIY service didn’t result in thousands of $$ of repairs to the transmission and/or the engine.

It sounds like he made a Jiffy Lube mistake. I know Subaru is pretty notorious for the reasons others have stated

To clarify what bscar said, the motor oil drain plug and the transmission drain plug (or is it the differential drain plug?) on Subarus are very close together, and they appear identical, thus leading to mistakes by those who don’t know what they are doing in general or those who are just not familiar with the mechanical layout of Subarus.

So–it isn’t Subarus that are “pretty notorious” for this problem, but rather, it is people like Jiffy Lube personnel and others without sufficient training who are notorious for making mistakes on Subarus.

However, no matter what type of vehicle one is working on, it is standard procedure to check the level of the oil dipstick after performing an oil change, in order to avoid serious overfill or underfill mistakes. If the OP’s husband had checked the oil dipstick (and, in this case, also the transmission dipstick) before attempting to drive the vehicle, problems could likely have been averted.

I believe that galant is 100% correct. When I first read it that is exactly what I thought of. Need to check the oil and tranny oil levels.

We fixed it. After some much needed rest, and the necessity of sunlight, my husband went to drain the oil, and it gushed out. He also realized he had drained the transmission fluid as opposed to the oil, leading to our problems. Thankfully, we think we have fixed the problem, and all fluid levels are back up to normal. Scary, though, especially since we just purchased the vehicle. Thank you to everyone who offered advice-- you helped ease my anxiety.