What Fluid is Leaking From My Car?

What Fluid is Leaking From My Car?
You go out to your cable car in the dawn or at the end of the study sidereal day, and there are drops of liquid, or worse even, a big pool, underneath it. You wonder what ’ s leaking and how bad is it ? You don ’ triiodothyronine inevitably need to call a machinist or have the car towed off the bat. With a little cognition and some testing you can figure out what the fluid is and what to do about it .
inaugural you ’ ll want to capture the leaks. It will be unvoiced to get a full expression at them on dark pavement, so put down a piece of butch newspaper, newspaper, cardboard or aluminum foil underneath your car to catch the leaks. Park the car somewhere flat and level, and weigh down your drip catcher so it doesn ’ t get blown away by the wind. Once you ’ ve caught some of the fluid, it ’ south time to identify it. To do this, you ’ ll have to use your senses of sight, touch, and possibly even smell .
Car Fluid Leak Identification Chart

Identify Where the Leak Is Coming From

The first hint you ’ re going to use to identify your leak is where it ’ mho coming from. If you have a rear roulette wheel drive fomite ( common for pickup trucks, some sports cars, and most classics ), a escape coming from the rise of the cable car is most likely differential gear fluid. A leak in the raise could besides be coming from the flatulence tank.

There are a few fluids that could come down from the engine bay. One of these is brake fluid which might tend to leak near the back of the locomotive bay, where the brake passkey cylinder is, or along the brake lines. Power steering fluent and coolant are more probably to leak from the front man of the locomotive bay. oil can leak from throughout the engine bay, but most often tends to leak from the petroleum pan at the buttocks of the engine itself. Windshield windshield wiper fluent will tend to leak around the windshield fluent tank, which can have different locations in the locomotive bay, depending on what model of cable car you have .
The transmission is normally located behind the engine so a leak at the back of the engine bay or slightly behind it could be transmission fluid. Water dripping off the air-cool evaporator will besides land around the middle of the car .

What Color Is the Leaking Fluid?

following, take a count at what color your leak is. different fluids have different colors, which can be a big help in identifying your leak .
Brown or Black Fluid Leaking
vegetable oil starts off brown, but tends toward black as it ages .
Pink, Red, or Brown Fluid Leaking
Both exponent steering fluid and transmission fluid start off as pink or red, but can turn brown with old age .
Clear, Yellow, or Brown Fluid Leaking
Brake fluid starts off clear or yellow, but again, can turn brown over clock .
Yellow, Green, Pink, or Orange Fluid Leaking
coolant can vary in color, but is normally yellow or green. Less normally, some coolants are pink or orange .
Blue, Green, Pink, or Orange Fluid Leaking
Windshield washer fluid is normally blue or greens, but is sometimes pink or orange .
Clear Fluid Leaking
Gasoline itself is clear, but additives and dyes can make it any act of unlike colors. Color international relations and security network ’ t very your best strategy in identifying a gasoline leak .

What Does the Leaking Liquid Feel Like?

The future thing you ’ ll lack to do is pick up some of the fluid with your fingers. You might want to wear gloves when you do this .
Oily Fluid Leaking
If you change your own oil, you might have some mind what consistency locomotive anoint has. It ’ second, well, greasy. Transmission fluid and world power steering fluid are besides buttery, but thinner than engine petroleum. Differential fluid can be thicker than engine oil .
Slippery and Slimy Fluid Leaking
Brake fluid is even more slippery than engine oil and coolant is downright despicable .
Thin and Watery Fluid Leaking
Gasoline and windshield fluid are thin and watery ( as is, of course, body of water ) .

What Does the Leaking Fluid Smell Like?

A couple of fluids have distinct smells you can use to identify them. No motivation to stick your nose good in it, merely take a little sniff of what ’ s on your glove .
Gas Smell

You ’ re probably well familiar with the astute, stinging olfactory property of gasoline. Transmission fluid is petroleum based, and so besides might smell slightly like gas .
Cooking Oil Smell
The smell of engine petroleum might be most alike to cook oil .
Fish Oil Smell
Brake fluid can smell slenderly fishy – think of pisces anoint .
Sweet, Maple Syrup Smell
coolant tends to smell gratifying, about like maple syrup. That ’ second why it ’ mho specially crucial to clean up coolant leaks if you have pets or minor children .
Sweet, Burnt Marshmellow Smell
power steering fluid can besides smell dessert, but with a burn touch, like burned marshmallows .
Glass Cleaner Smell
Windshield washer fluid smells like family glass clean .

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Still Not Sure What the Leak Is?

If you have an estimate what the leak is, but you aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate 100 % surely, you could always compare it to the corresponding fluid from your fomite. other symptoms might besides indicate what your leak is. Oil leaks might create a smoky smell in the cabin for example. If you ’ re having steering problems, it could be your steering fluid. An automatic rifle transmission that doesn ’ triiodothyronine lurch by rights could indicate a transmittance fluid leak .

You’ve Identified the Leak, So What Do You Do?

Your following step is going to depend on what the escape is .
Brake Fluid Leak
If you ’ re leaking gasoline or brake fluid, it ’ s not dependable to drive your car. Have it towed to a shop class or fix the problem yourself. For a brake fluid leak, you may need to replace the bracken cylinders or brake lines. If you need to replace the brake lines, you can find helpful tips on how to by rights flare bracken lines and how to bend brake lines by watching our how-to video .
Gasoline Leak
A gasoline leak will most likely come from a hole in the gas tank, but might besides come from the fuel pump or fuel lines. Check out our how-to videos and find a video recording specific to your year, make, and model in our how-to video recording library .
Power Steering Fluid Leak
You besides want to get a baron steering fluid leak fixed ASAP. That might involve replacing your steering rack or the power steering pump. You can learn about how the exponent steering system works and why fixing leaks are important by reading our article, and you can learn how to replace a power steering pump by watching our how-to video .
Coolant Leak
A coolant leak can lead to overheating, which might damage even more of the car or leave broken down on the english of the road. The badness of a coolant leak in truth depends on the size of the leak, though. You might be able to drive with a modest leak, but make certain your coolant level international relations and security network ’ thyroxine dropping besides promptly. You ’ ll want to find what part of the coolant system is leaking ( common sources include the radiator, water pump, or radiator hoses, all of which we have how-to videos for ) .
Transmission Fluid Leak
abject differential fluid or infection fluid can wear on the gears inside those parts, so, again, the crucial thing is to keep the flat high adequate. The most likely causal agent of a differential fluid leak is tire to the differential gear binding, and changing the differential gear cover is relatively slowly. A transmittance fluid escape could indicate a trouble with your transmittance fluent pan, and changing the transmission anoint pan is besides relatively easy.

Water Leaking
As we briefly alluded to before, sometimes body of water drips off your A/C evaporator. This can sometimes leave the biggest puddles of all, but it ’ s actually not a problem at all. The cold refrigerant in the A/C system causes urine to condense on the outside of the A/C evaporator and that water drips off into the A/C evaporator housing. Sometimes the house lets a lot of that water out at once through a valve at the bottom. It makes a big puddle that might be badgering, but it doesn ’ thyroxine indicate that anything ’ s amiss with your car. so if you run your A/C on a hot, humid sidereal day and you have a watery, clear, odorless leak, it may fair be water system and no cause for concern .

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