Sudden loss of transmission fluid



Taurus circa '97. Son’s friend drove in from out of town. They say that upon arrival, tranny fluid spilled out onto ground, and car stopped going. Car is not at my house. Looking for possibility of self-repair (esp if no shops are open Memorial Day), I am guessing that, other than transmission seals, it could be the cooler lines to the radiator, or maybe the trnsmission cooler itself (in the radiator). Any suggestions?

Also, son and friend are thinking about just pouring in some fluid to see if it will hold long enough to drive a few miles to excellent tranny shop or to dealer. Thinking of possibility of leak in cooler, and maybe sucking coolant into the tranny, I’m wondering if they should just have it towed. What’s your advice?


Anybody’s guess without looking at it. Your best shot is to put a drain tray under the car, fill it up with tranny fluid and start it up to determine the leak location and leak rate. Check first to make sure the tranny isn’t full of water, if it is you’ll need to get it drained, flushed and new tranny fluid along with a new rad / oil cooler. The tranny may be compromised if it’s been driven any distance full of water.

If it’s just a leak but a heavy one and you can’t fix the leak in situ, get the car trailered to a tranny shop, don’t try and drive it.


Thanks for clarifying my thoughts. We have come to our senses. We decided to have it towed to a repair place. Too much hassle to fix it where it is (even if I could), and too much risk to try driving it. Son is scouting out to see who might be open today, or to make sure that the favored tranny shop has a place to leave it.