You leave your automobile for a few minutes — or a few hours, or a few days — and also come ago to discover a puddle forming underneath it. That’s more than likely not good. Maybe it’s simply water condensation dripping dvery own, however odds are it’s a sign of a fluid leak.

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Your automobile is a complex item of equipment. It supplies a range of fluids for different functions, including:

Engine oil, for lubricating the engineCoolant, for keeping the engine at the appropriate temperatureTransmission liquid, for lubricating and operating the transmissionBrake fluid, for operating the brakesWasher fluid, for cleaning the windshieldPower steering fluid, which renders it simpler to steer

Any of these fluids deserve to leak from your car, leaving a distinctive residue on the ground.

These fluids can be determined by shade and texture, and also sometimes odor. Most will certainly require immediateattention from your mechanicto prevent a instance that can leave you stranded by the side of the road via a big repair bill. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the fluids that save our cars, trucks and SUVs running appropriately, and also exactly how to recognize them.

How to inspect your auto for a liquid leak

If you watch a puddle under your automobile on your garage floor, driveway or parking spot, this is incredibly likely a sign of a leak. A excellent method to recognize the amount and also location of the liquid leakage is to location a large item of cardboard under your automobile when you park it overnight. Check the cardboard the following morning to check out exactly how much has actually leaked out, what shade it is, and wright here it is coming from. This is helpful indevelopment to have actually and share with your mechanic in order to identify which fluid is leaking, and also wbelow it’s coming from.

Get it diagnosed by a professional


If your leak is red

Your vehicle uses 2 fluids that are red: power steering liquid and also automatic transmission fluid. They are both hydraulic fluids. Some vehicles actually use automatic transmission fluid in their power steering systems. Check your owner’s hands-on.

Power steering fluid:This have the right to be red, reddish-brvery own, or brvery own if it is old. It’s thin in consistency, through an oily feel. It can smell favor burned marshmpermits. Your mechanic caninspect your power steering mechanism.

Automatic transmission fluid:This likewise starts out red once brand-new, then increasingly transforms reddish-brvery own as it wears and the miles pile up. It feels oily and also slick, and thinner than your engine oil. It will smell like petroleum. If you find this, atransmission inspectionis in order, particularly if you alert other indicators of a transmission difficulty, prefer delayed moving once the engine is cold.

If your leak is orange

Leaks that are oarray in shade can originate in two various areas of your vehicle:

Coolant:This deserve to be an indicator that tright here is rust in your cooling device, and also the rust pwrite-ups have combined in with the coolant. Coolant feels slimy and has a sweet odor. The optimal cause of serious engine damages is loss of coolant. If your vehicle repetitively loses liquid, call your repair facility immediately. Have yourcooling mechanism inspected.

Automatic transmission fluid:This have the right to likewise revolve an orange-ish shade as it periods. A mechanic deserve to inspect your transmission to confirm.

If your leak is green, yellow or pink

Coolant:This comes in many fluorescent colors, andcan leak from many kind of placesthroughout your cooling mechanism. Coolant has a sweet odor and also a slimy texture. Losing coolant will certainly lead to overheating if not addressed, and also if the engine overheats, you can be left stranded and with a vast repair bill. An inspection of your cooling device can identify the source of the leak.

If your leak is blue

Windshield washer fluid:This is thin and watery, and smells choose window cleaner. It deserve to come in various other colors, consisting of green. Check to watch if your washer liquid reservoir is cracked, or have actually a technician look at its seals and also lines.

If your leak is light yellow

Brake fluid:This hydraulic liquid starts out as light yellow, then gets increasingly darker over time and also can finish up dark brown if it’s not maintained. Brake fluid will certainly feel oily to the touch, is exceptionally slippery, and also might smell prefer fish oil.

IMPORTANT:If you uncover this, it isn’t safe to drive your car. Instead, gain it to a mechanic, wright here the brake mechanism have the right to be inspected.Brake linesor other components might require repair or replacement.

If your leak is brown

Engine oil:This starts out as a light brown shade once new, then transforms darker brown over time, eventually coming to be virtually babsence after picking up dirt and also byassets of burning as it circulates with the engine over countless miles.Engine oilhas actually a distinctive smell (inspect your engine dipstick to gain a whiff and compare), and also feels thick and also slippery to the touch. You have the right to keep your oil level topped off if the leak is minor, yet it’s important to acquire even a smalloil leak inspectedand resolved sooner fairly than later.

If your leak is clear

Water:This liquid looks and also feels choose … water! It’s likely the result of condensation draining from your air conditioner, and also is no reason for alarm.

Gasoline:You can ideal detect gasoline by itsdistinctive odor, not its texture.

IMPORTANT:If you detect a gasoline leak, it’s unsafe to drive your automobile. Call your mechanic for advice on how to continue.

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General liquid leak tips

A puddle that is 3 inches or bigger under your automobile is thought about a significant leak and calls for prompt attention.A puddle in between 1 and 2 inches wide is referred to as "seepage" or a "drip."Unmuch less it’s brake liquid or gasoline, the problem isn’t as serious.The morning after your car is serviced, check underneath the auto for fresh fluid. If there's still a leak, automatically speak to the repair facility.

Indevelopment offered by Repair Pal