The engine in your car is much like you: quite fussy about what fluids go where. Just like you’d freak out if, say, your tear ducts became full of urine or blood, you average engine doesn’t want, say, washer fluid where oil should go. Which just happens to be what happened to this poor, now-disgusting Mini.

These pictures come to us from the Club BMW Région Centre, a French BMW Facebook group. Yesterday, the world was treated to these remarkable images. First, under the valve cover, with what looked a lot like a mass of refried beans:


... and then a view from where the oil pan normally resides, which resembled a mass of guacamole stalactites:

The means by which this Mini engine was transformed into a Taco Bell-flavored goop factory was that the owner mistakenly poured five liters of windshield washer fluid into the oil filler.

And then, according to the description on the photo, the owner drove around with the washer fluid in the crankcase for about ten minutes before returning to the place that sold the owner the washer fluid, complaining about excessive blue smoke from the exhaust.


That was long enough for the washer fluid to get churned up into foam that mixed with the oil in the crankcase to form the brown and green meringue-like glop we see in these pictures.

I have a theory why we see brown goop up top and green down in the oil pan: the mostly-water-and-alcohol-and-blue-dye washer fluid sank to the bottom, while the oil floated to the top, like it would if you filled a glass with water and oil. That made the admixture churn to brown goop up top, and greenish goop below.


I imagine all that goop probably provided some sort of lubrication, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the engine is salvageable, after a pretty involved flushing process and probably a strict schedule of changing oil every 50 miles or so for the next couple weeks.


It’s not like the two fillers are even close to one another on a Mini. Perhaps the little oil-can symbol that’s commonly used to indicate where the oil goes is just too far removed from what normal people have experienced. I mean, I bet most non-gearheads have never even seen an oil can like that; if they’re lucky, they assume it’s some sort of archaic genie-housing oil lamp.


Now that I think about it, maybe it’s time for distinct shapes of fluid bottles? Like, what if all oil came in triangular-cross-section bottles? Maybe that’s a whole other post.

Anyway, maybe take a moment to sit down your non-gearhead friends and scare them straight with these pictures of unholy muck, then make sure they know what car-juices go where.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter