I don't have the capabilities to take a pic right now.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Feb 13, 2020 at 19:26

2 Answers 2


It shouldn't cause any amount of damage to your engine. Many old time mechanics used to (and maybe they still do) put tranny fluid into the engine to clean it out prior to an oil change. Transmission fluid has a lot of detergents in it, but doesn't have the viscosity of engine oil, so it will clean it really well, but doesn't have as much of the "other" properties which engine oil has. My suggestion to you is to go ahead and get the oil changed out as soon as possible, that way it won't be in there for a long time. Again, it shouldn't cause you any issue especially if it's only the small amount you've stated.

  • @SandyFarmer-Simmons - If this answers your question, please consider selecting it as the answer and upvoting if you feel so inclined! Feb 13, 2020 at 19:43
  • @Paulster2 would a few tablespoons be enough to constitute "contaminated" oil? If so, may be worth informing the shop... maybe? Don't know if they'd really do anything different with it. Feb 13, 2020 at 20:33
  • Too much trans fluid and it will swell all the engine oil seals, but a few tablespoons may actually help old seals.
    – Moab
    Feb 13, 2020 at 20:52

I would agree with the first comment. I’ve worked as a hobby on both bike and car engines since I was a kid with my grandfather. On more that one occasion I’ve accidentally started a pour with the wrong container, tilted back and then finished with engine oil. I knew it would get diluted and mixed well with the oil anyways. In my case, it had been about 6-8 tablespoons from my recollection. But knowing the viscosity difference and how little went in, I’ve gone ahead and driven my car until about a month early before the next needed oil change to finally flush it again. Mainly because I didn’t want to waste the oil I had already filled with (eg lazy!). But I would tend to agree, that to be on the safe side, just change it out a lot sooner than later. But that small amount shouldn’t wreak any havoc on the engine.

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