Something Leaking?

What is that Liquid?

Cars are designed to let us know when something is going wrong so that we can determine the issue while it’s small and repair it before it turns into a bigger and more expensive issue. When you notice something that seems out of the ordinary, fixing it quickly is in your best interest!

Sometimes, liquids leaking from your vehicle can be a sign of a larger problem, and if enough liquid drains from your car, you could be in serious trouble. Take a closer look, and with these tips, you may be able to identify the problem today.

Where is the liquid coming from?

Just because you notice a liquid underneath your car doesn’t mean that there is an issue – it may have been coming from the vehicle that was sitting there before yours. Take a flashlight and look under the car. Can you tell where it’s coming from?

If you’re not sure, leave a piece of cardboard, preferably white, under your vehicle to see if you can catch any drips. Understanding where the leak is coming from may also offer some insight as to where the problem is.

What are the color and consistency of the liquid?

Different liquids are different colors and consistencies, and they can signal different kinds of problems. Looking at the white cardboard you left under your car is a great way to determine the correct color and consistency! These are the six most common liquids you’ll find leaking from your vehicle.

– Engine oil is usually light brown or black, depending on how long it has been since your last oil change. The consistency will be thicker than room temperature vegetable oil.
– Transmission fluid thin and red, or thicker and brown.
– Power steering fluid can look similar to transmission fluid, but it’s usually darker. It tends to be reddish or light brown and relatively thin.
– Brake fluid is generally slippery and clear, but may have a brownish tint.
– Coolant is the most colorful liquid you’ll find; it tends to be pink, green, or yellow. It also tends to be pretty slimy.
– Water leaks look like water – they’re clear and thin.

What does it mean for your car?

Adding more of whatever liquid you believe is leaking from your vehicle is a good idea, but it’s also a temporary fix. The cause of the leak should be dealt with quickly, because it could be a sign that part of your vehicle is breaking down. Speak with your car repair technician if you have questions.

 

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