A car that’s leaking fluid is alarming, and it can make vehicle owners panic. However, not all fluids you see dripping off your vehicle should be a cause for concern. Nevertheless, whenever you see a car leaking fluid, you should have it checked immediately.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the most common fluid leaks and the signs that help identify which fluid it is. Sometimes the symptom could be due to a simple tire leak, which can impact your car’s tire pressure. In other cases, it can be an oil leak or dripping brake fluid, which are signs of more severe problems.
Identifying Vehicle Leaks by Location
When a vehicle owner backs up or leaves a parking spot, they may find a drip or puddle of fluid on the floor. It is crucial to identify which car fluid it is, where it came from and if it’s a cause for concern. Discovering where the car leak is coming from is one of the best ways to determine the type of car leak it is. In addition, the color of the liquid you find on the ground will give you an important clue.
Some cars do have an undertray. However, most vehicles are open. Because of this, when vehicle leaks occur, the fluid collects near the car part where it came from. This gives you a good idea of where to look to fix the problem.
Vehicle Leaks at the Front or Under the Engine
When the fluid drip is located at the front or near your car’s engine, it can be things such as engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid or antifreeze.
Oil leaks are probably the most common vehicle leak. You’ll find drips near or under the engine at the front half of your vehicle. Its color can range from light brown to black, and it will have a thick and greasy texture.
Check your oil levels to confirm the condition and top up your engine oil as needed. Then, bring your car to a mechanic as soon as possible to identify the source of the leak.
Removing oil and grime from the engine parts may be necessary to determine where the leak is coming from. A reliable engine degreaser, such as the B-33 Engine Degreaser, will come in handy since it can easily penetrate dirt, grease and grime.
If you have an automatic vehicle, your transmission fluid has a reddish color and a thin texture. However, if you’re driving a shift stick, the fluid will be brown and have a thicker consistency. Manual transmissions use gear oil instead of transmission fluid, which is the reason behind the color difference.
To check the transmission for cars with automatic transmissions, you need to have the vehicle running and in neutral or park. However, vehicles with manual transmissions should be parked with the engine turned off and the car on a lift. It’s best to have it checked by a professional in either case.
Power Steering Fluid
This liquid will have a reddish, amber, or light brown color and a thin consistency. The drip will most likely be found at the very front of your vehicle. While your car isn’t running, check the power steering fluid level and top it up as needed. Get your vehicle inspected by a mechanic immediately since a power steering leak is a safety hazard.
Leaking Coolant or Antifreeze
Your car’s antifreeze or coolant will look slimy and greasy, and it can come in various colors, such as pink, green or yellow. You’ll find the liquid near the radiator when it drips.
Don’t remove the radiator cap while the engine is hot because you will burn yourself. Instead, wait for the radiator and engine to cool before opening the lid to check fluid levels. Sometimes the drip you find on the floor could just be a spill, but if you suspect a leak, take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Leaks Near the Wheels
Any leak near the wheels could be brake fluid or a tire leak due to a spilled sealant, which can lead to reduced tire pressure. To know for sure, you must inspect your tires and rims since the fluids will leave traces.
Your car’s brake fluid will look clear to brown depending on how long it has been since you’ve replaced the fluid. It can also appear yellowish, and it will be slick. Be careful not to touch any painted surface if you have touched this fluid since it’s corrosive.
You can check the brake fluid levels under the hood. The cap on the receptacle will say “brake fluid” on top of it. If the fluid is below optimal levels, top it up and take your car to the shop for inspection. Losing even a small amount of fluid can impact your brakes’ performance.
Your mechanic will inspect your car’s braking system and clean the parts with a brake cleaner, such as a VOC-Compliant Non-Chlorinated Brake Parts Cleaner. In addition, the fluid will be replaced during this process.
If you notice reduced tire pressure, it can signal a tire leak from a loss of sealant at your tire’s rim. You may check for a tire leak using soapy water. If bubbles form at the rim, you have a sealant leak.
It’s best to take your car to a tire shop and have the bead resealed or upgrade with new tires.
You may also add Tire Sealing Compound to protect your tires and prevent corrosion. Berryman® Seal-R® is great for agriculture and off-road use, as well as for “leak emergencies” in highway vehicle tires.
Leaks Near the Exhaust or Rear of the Car
Sometimes the leaks can be found at the rear or under the exhaust. This can be water or fuel.
Gasoline on the ground sometimes looks colorless or kind of light gold. However, if your car runs on diesel, the spill will have some bluish tint. Either way, the drip will smell like gasoline. Have a mechanic check your car immediately since fuel leaks are hazardous and can cause a fire. Fuel leaks can occur at the rear of your vehicle, but they can also be found at the front. If you find this type of leak, your fuel lines will need to be checked, which is best left to professionals.
Most water leaks can be found in the middle or rear, but sometimes they can occur in the front area of your vehicle. This is because most cars combine water and antifreeze in their cooling systems. Therefore, water leaks are more likely to be condensation from your car’s AC. However, have your lines inspected by a mechanic to be sure.
Avoid Leaks by Using Quality Car Products
A vehicle owner should be concerned when cars begin leaking fluids. Have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible and use quality products to fix the cause of the issue.
And don’t forget to keep your vehicle running at optimum performance with expertly-crafted auto care products!