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A Leaky Transmission Makes For A Leaky Case

While watching an episode of “The Mentalist,” I saw something a little iffy. At the scene of the crime, they discovered a conspicuous pool of what smelled like transmission fluid. The immediately deduced that the killer likely drives a car with a leaky transmission. This seems reasonable. However, the next conclusion was a bit specific for my taste.
“The couldn’t have gone far before getting service.”
Hmm…while this possibility is not unlikely, it is far from definitive. A leaky transmission does not necessarily indicate a major problem. In my personal experience, some leaky transmissions have problems, but I also had a tranny that leaked for a short time immediately following a rebuild. So, they could have declared that “the killer must have just had his transmission rebuilt!”
But let’s assume that it is likely to indicate a problem. Not a bad conclusion, I admit. But here’s the big caveat: a leak does not always indicate a major problem (i.e. one that would require ‘service.’) A leak definitely increases the likelihood of a major failure, but a leak in of itself is not a major problem. It could be that the seal is just out. But all that it means is that you have to add oil often. Even for the mechanically inept, adding a quart of oil every day is not too hard and does not require stopping off for ‘service.’
While it was not a bad move to check the nearest garages and such, unequivocally deciding that a car ‘won’t get far’ without some sort of formal service was far from genius.