Transmission slipping after fluid flush from a quick lube shop

HI Everyone,

Quick back story here, brought our 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor in for a transmission fluid change or “flush” at a local quick lube. Car was running perfect, just needed to have the maintenance done. They used Wolf’s Head synthetic ATF. Car seemed fine, drove it for a while, then it stalled on me when slowing down for a light.

The next morning, it took about 30 seconds to shift into reverse (it slammed into it), same for drive. Went lurching down the driveway, it tried to find second, RPMs just went way up. Found it eventually. I drove back to the place (very close) and they adjusted the fluid (said it was overfilled) and told me to drive it and let them know. It is not any better. Now they want me to get 3 estimates (are you kidding? $$$) and then if all three mechanics find that it is their fault somehow, then they will pay for the repair. They said there is some sort of Michigan law about that, although I can’t find it. Was going to take it on a trip this week, but now it sits in the garage…

Any advice? Do I have any recourse with the quick lube shop?

I don’t know what to do…I am afraid I made a $3000 mistake.


Well, the real advice you need is now belated - don’t use quick lubes. I wouldn’t even ask them for directions to the closest gas station.

Have you checked the fluid level yourself? I probably don’t need to even ask - but they didn’t change the filter, did they?

Find your best local transmission shop - not a transmission chain and not a general purpose mechanic - a locally owned transmission specialty shop with a decent reputation. Get the car there. Chances are that the ATF they used doesn’t meet the specifications required by Mitsubishi, although Wolf’s Head claims that it does ( ATF’s come in lots of different types. Some (like Wolf’ Head) claim to be universal, but there’s really no such thing. Universals will work for many cars. For others they are a disaster.

So…you need a pro with transmissions. If you are lucky a complete fluid replacement with transmission fluid from a Mitsubishi dealer will put the thing back to normal. But its also possible that they messed it up in one way or another.

Another possibility is that they did overfill it. This can foam up the fluid. The fluid then can’t work properly - it can’t do its hydraulic work well, it can’t lubricate well, and it can’t cool well (yes, trans fluid does all of those things). If you drove around like that long enough, it can actually damage the transmission. You said the symptoms started the next morning, so I tend to doubt that.

Thanks for the info. I have a local shop in mind that has been around for around 40 years. I have a friend who can tow it for me so I don’t have to drive it. But maybe I should just do a fluid change first? You can’t get it all out can you though? Some will be in the convertor, etc. Also is it worth my time going after them to pay for it? Or is a losing battle.

Oh,they didn’t change the filter, just hooked up some machine. Level is OK.

Don’t mess with it at all - tow truck to the transmission shop is the way to go.

First, if you mess with it at all this will take the quickie lube off the hook no matter what. They will say that you really did whatever it was. Second, its possible to make bad worse. I also have to assume that if you were comfortable servicing an automatic transmission you would have - rather than taking it to a shop. This is not the moment to try to do any learning. The next person to look at the car should be someone who spends their professional life on transmissions.

For future reference, not only are the quick lubes a bad idea, but no transmission fluid changing should get done without a filter change. (Its not possible on all automatics, but it is on most).

Thanks for your advice. I will get it towed there and go from there. If they find obvious evidence of negligence I will see if I can go after them.

Thanks again.

Flushing without changing the filter is a bad technique. At this point you should have the pan dropped cleaned and a new filter installed. Then get all that fluid out of there and replace with the proper fluid, perhaps even Mitsubishi brand fluid.

The fluid could simply be wrong for the vehicle. The filter and/or pick up screen clogged with gunk and debris, or worst case is dirt has been introduced into moving parts of the transmission. Good Luck!

I am going to do what you suggested and hope for the best. Thanks.

Mitsubishi requires a special fluid. Make that is what is used.