What the potential damage to the car due to overfill of transmission fluid?

I am interested in buying a 2001 Chevy Impala LS (3.8 L engine V6), which has about 93000 miles. The seller asked for $6500. (His original price is $7000)

The mechanic check from my local Chevy dealer showed that there were three quarters quart (~700 ml) of transmission fluid overfilled. The fluid seems brown color and has foams. It is estimated that the overfilled fluid existed more than at least six months.

The driving feeling is good, including gear change and acceleration. The technician said the transmission seems ok.

Can I buy this car, especially considering overfilled issue?


9 Responses to “What the potential damage to the car due to overfill of transmission fluid?”

  1. gameman552000 says:

    It may not hurt the car. I have heard that overfilling the transmission fluid can lead to damage. It’s really a gamble. It may be a perfectly good car, but then again, it may not be. Your choice. Hope this helps!!!

  2. startrektosnewenterpriselovethem says:

    I would not. The brown color of the oil indicates it is burning and thins will go wrong eventually. I would run from this car

    If you buy it have a complete transmission oil change by a qualified mechanic

  3. nigel v says:

    i would avoid this vehicle. Transmissions overfill can cause seals to leak. We all know transmissions are very expensive to repair or replace.

  4. cdever5 says:

    Excessive fluid can cause pressure build up on the internal seals and gaskets. I would ask the current owner whats up with the fluid issue first. Did he change the fluid recently? If that’s the case he/she may be hiding something.

  5. Ham B says:

    It shouldn’t be brown or foaming at all. There is definitely something going on there. Have the transmission flushed and replace the fluid with new, clean fluid (which should be pink in color), drive it and see if it duplicates the problem. Generally, when you overfill the fluid all that happens, is it causes leaks because seals and gaskets are broken. The fluid shouldn’t change color or foam due to being overfilled.

  6. nyteglori says:

    The foaming is probably caused by being over filled. The brown color is ok as long as it is light and doesnt smell burnt. The main danger with over filling is that the fluid can become mixed with air (hence the foaming) causing shifting problems, slippage and noise. If the transmission does not seem to have any of these problems then it should be ok but you should do a complete fluid change and flush performed. Otherwise you may end up destroying your transmission. If you had just overfilled it but the foaming hadnt started you would be ok just draining some off.

  7. Hokiefire says:

    Overfilling the transmission with fluid, same applies to engine oil level, will cause foam to form. Foam reduces the ability of the fluid to lubricate and will over time cause internal damage and result in very expensive repair bills.

    If the transmission fluid is brown and smells burnt, the transmission has been overheated and the fluid is no longer of good quality and needs to be replaced.

    Over filled transmissions can be drained from the drain plug on most models to the correct level.

    Draining does not remove the fluid from the torque converter, therefore the transmission should be completely FLUSHED with an extraction machine at a qualified service center. This will remove ALL the fluid in the transmission and replace it with clean fluid, including the torque converter. A good additive, like Lucas Transmission Fix, can be added to the machine also. Cost about $50.00 plus cost of fluid and takes about 30 minutes, and should be done at least very 100,000 miles, some say very 30,000 miles. GOOD INSUREANCE!

    Take the car to a transmission specialist, someone that only repairs and builds tansmissions, before buying. If there are no leaks, a good FLUSH will be all that is needed. If the specialist gives his ok on the transmission, get something in writing, then get the owner to knock at least $500.00 off the asking price.

    Start your research here; http://www.google.com/search?q=auto%20transmission%20overfilled&sourceid=groowe&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8


    Make it a great day!

  8. ideamanbmg says:

    Overfilling can be as bad as not enough fluid. Trans fluid works like hydraulic fluid. Foaming fluid cannot operate the valves and clutch packs properly because of air bubbles. It can cause parts to ‘burn out’, the trans to slip and not shift correctly. A fluid and filter change might help, but could not be guaranteed to fix any problems. It depends on how long it has been overfilled usually. If the fluid smells funky like it’s been burned and there is metal filings in the bottom of the pan, avoid it. 3 qt.s is way overfull and has probably caused seals to leak or blow out.

  9. dave.30120 says:

    I would walk away from this car . A seller will tell you anything to unload this car . It has problems . Overfilled Transmissions can blow the seals out . You stated the fluid is brown and foams another bad sign . Again if you are buying this from a dealer [ you stated technician ] they will say anything to sell this car . More then likely if you do a Transmission service on this car their is a very good chance after the trans. service the Transmission will not work properly. Another thought , if the transmission is neglected it is a good guess that the rest of the cars is / has been neglected too . I would not by any car from this dealer , why ? It appears they are selling car,s that have problems. If you for whatever reason buy a car there take it to YOUR own mechanic for a independent inspection . If the dealer / private party will not allow it with excuse,s do not buy this car / truck .It is a Heart ache .

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