Everyone like’s strawberry milkshakes, right? Although most people would probably admit to enjoying a tasty strawberry milkshake, we think it’s safe to say that most people would rather not have one in their vehicles transmission system. Well, at least if they knew what the cause was….
If you have noticed a milky substance when checking your vehicles transmissions fluid, it is most likely because of a few reasons. You may be experiencing issues with your transmission “slipping” which could be described by the engine RPM’s going higher than usual and the vehicle not having the forward acceleration it usually does. Or you have taken your vehicle to a repair facility for other work and they have pointed this out to you.
Regardless of how you have discovered this, you must act immediately! Read on to learn exactly what the cause is and what you should do to be as proactive as you can be given the situation.
So What Happened?
The milky substance you are seeing on the transmission dipstick is a result of cross-contaminated coolant and transmission fluid. More than likely, your radiator has failed which has allowed coolant to enter the transmission system. When coolant enters the transmission, it will cause failure very quickly. The reason for this is it will eat up the material that the clutches inside the transmission are made up of. These clutches are made of a hygroscopic material, which means that when they are exposed to any moisture they will displace ATF (automatic transmission fluid) for water. What does all that mean? Clutches exposed to any moisture WILL fail.
If the coolant in your vehicle has cross-contaminated with the transmission fluid and entered the transmission, DO NOT drive the vehicle. Have the vehicle towed to your local auto repair facility to be inspected immediately. Make sure the shop you take your vehicle to specializes in transmission repair to ensure proper diagnosis. Any shop that does not specialize in transmissions should be avoided, as they may end up misdiagnosing the vehicle due to lack of knowledge, which may end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Unfortunately, in most cases, it may be too late. However, there is still a chance for your vehicle and the quicker you get the contaminated fluid out of your transmission, the better off you are.