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General E46 Forum
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:10 PM   #1
sergio
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My wife used ATF instead motor oil - Help!

Guys,

My wife accidentally topped her motor oil with Mobil ATF synthetic oil.

Some questions I have:

1. What do I do with her? My car

2. Is it serious?

3. Do I wait or do a complete oil change?

Thanks..
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:15 PM   #2
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1) car - A complete oil change is in order posthaste. wife - that's a tough one....at least she's mechanical enough to open the hood, know where the oil goes, know how to top it off....gotta give her some credit there....I say put her on probation, but go ahead and keep her!
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:19 PM   #3
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Thats why you dont let women drive expensive cars or touch yours..... but yeah get an oil change asap.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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^^ do not get an oil change unless you plan on putting your car on a flat bed...

do the oil change yourself and don't start the car
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #5
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1) car - A complete oil change is in order posthaste. wife - that's a tough one....at least she's mechanical enough to open the hood, know where the oil goes, know how to top it off....gotta give her some credit there....I say put her on probation, but go ahead and keep her!
+1 you should be fine I wouldn't start the car until you do this. I'm digging the probation thing might work out in your benefit
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:31 PM   #6
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LOL...thats funny....do an oil change ASAP...you might want to flush it as well
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:31 PM   #7
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How much ATF did she put in the car? If it's less than a quart you probably have nothing to worry about. ATF has lubricating properties and actually has very good cleaning qualities. In the past it was used to help break up sludge in higher mileage engines.

All that said, I'd change the oil before you drive it too much.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:50 PM   #8
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How much ATF did she put in the car? If it's less than a quart you probably have nothing to worry about. ATF has lubricating properties and actually has very good cleaning qualities. In the past it was used to help break up sludge in higher mileage engines.

All that said, I'd change the oil before you drive it too much.
Back in the days old school mechanics would use ATF(small amt) to clean out motor/lifters etc.
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:04 PM   #9
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Back in the days old school mechanics would use ATF(small amt) to clean out motor/lifters etc.
Exactly my point. It won't kill the car to run it with a small amount of ATF in the crankcase.
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:11 PM   #10
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Change the oil and then make her pay you back.
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:28 PM   #11
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Change the oil and then make her pay you back.
best idea so far!
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:29 PM   #12
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Guys,

Thanks for comments. My car, her car I paid for it, she drives it, and I instructed to watch the oil since the 330xi/2001 seems to be a little thirsty.

She probably put 1 quart of Mobile ATF synthetic in last 4 weeks and has been driving car almost every day.

If I do the flush thing, what kinda of stuff do you suggest?

What damage do you see can be done or has already happened, if she continues to drive car? I just noticed this tonight, and she just left for 4 days for a re-certification 1.5hrs away from home with car.

Poor girl, she really got mixed up with my mobil ATF and mobil 0w-40, they look the same to her.

Some pictures I found, that explains my situation - enjoy!

Cheers...
Sergio


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Old 02-17-2008, 11:43 PM   #13
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I don't see it being a big problem, so don't worry. As some have said this has been a very common pratice to help clean the engine before an oil change. (I have done this many time to many different cars with no issues) Being that she didn't put that much in and has driven for a few weeks - she actually did good then harm.

I would suggest to just change the oil and you'll be fine.
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:54 PM   #14
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Change the oil ASAP.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:45 AM   #15
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its fine if you have to top it off with a different viscosity it wont hurt the motor. Just dont drive it hard or anything. Change the Oil when you get the chance to be on the safe side. I topped my ML55 AMG with a different viscosity because I had to. The dealer later told me not to worry as long as I dont drive it for thousands of KMS.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:00 AM   #16
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It shouldn't be a problem, but spend $65 and get a good BMW indy shop to change if you don't DIY.

Just a complete oil/filter change should do. Tell the shop what happened and that you want a nice long drain to get all the oil out to the point it stops dripping before they refill.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:47 AM   #17
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Thats why you dont let women drive expensive cars or touch yours..... but yeah get an oil change asap.
LOL, agreed, but with a mistake like that, ANY car will get very expensive to repair!!!!
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:12 AM   #18
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Old 02-19-2008, 02:18 PM   #19
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I'll say just do a reg oil change as normal, it's not much harm, it will actually help clean your engine in there. But if its been in there for more than 4 weeks. I'll change it soon. Very soon, it will brake your oil down and make it very thin
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:30 PM   #20
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Wow, listen to all these chicken littles screaming for you to change the oil ASAP. It's hilarious.

I occasionally substitute 1 quart of oil with 1 quart of ATF in the Caravan. The ATF has good cleaning agents and won't damage the car.

Here's an article:

If you have neglected regular oil changes and you want to do some interior engine cleaning, get the oil and filter changed and replace one quart of motor oil for one quart of transmission fluid. The transmission fluid has a high detergent content that will clean the engine without damaging it. Do this every 3,000 miles and you will clean the inside of the engine slowly and gently.

http://autotechrepair.suite101.com/article.cfm/040206
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