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Spilled tea on gear shift

As the subject line says, I accidentally spilled tea with some honey on my automatic gear shift this morning. By this evening it was making a funny squeaking noise when I put shifted into reverse then drive and then park. Is the spilled tea going to do great harm to my gear shift? What should I do?

Nothing except, clean the surfaces you can see. The water and tannic acid that found their way into your gear box might have a long term effect. Sugar, though. It bakes, did you know that?

Since the shift lever doesn’t really enter the transmission (they usually just operate a linkage or cable) to shift the gears, you really don’t need to worry about it getting inside the transmission. Your only worry is the shifter getting harder to move since the honey will probably start gumming up the works pretty quickly.

Thank you for your responses.

Things like that can really screw up the plastic parts on the shift gate. It helps the plastic bind & jam.

A few customers who drink coffee with creme and spill it into the shifter console have had problems with the shift lock mechanism sticking. I have freed them with WD-40 and all was well. Removing the console cover can be very simple or quite a task and a RAV-4 isn’t familiar to me. But serious damage is unlikely from one glass of tea.

As Rod Knox says spray with wd40 and move shifter and spray some more.

Thanks to every one who responded to my query. I tried the wd40 and that seems to have solved the problem.