Spotting a car leak is important and, at times, stressful. Sometimes it’s an innocent leak that you don’t have to worry about, or it could be something you need to have fixed immediately. To help you identify how serious the situation is, we’ve put together this guide to the many types of car leaks.
Seeing a leak below your car can be commonplace due to air conditioning use. If you see a clear liquid gathering underneath your car, don’t panic, it’s just water. This is from condensation created by the air conditioning system. If it’s clear and has an unusual texture, however, it may be brake fluid.
If you spot a colorful liquid underneath your car and it has a distinctly sweet smell, then it’s probably coolant. The actual color of coolant can vary, sometimes it’s bright red, pink, blue, yellow or even green. In other words, if the ground beneath your car looks like the neon-clad gang from Batman Forever, you may have a coolant issue.
Motor oil is the darkest liquid you’ll see leaking from your car. The specific color ranges from light brown to dark black. Additionally, it will be accompanied by a distinctly putrid smell.
If the leak is coming from the center of your car, it may be transmission fluid. It’s a thick liquid that is typically colored orange or red. If you determine this is what the leak is, it’s time to take your car in for service as soon as possible.
The color of brake fluid varies depending on how long it has been in your car. If it’s new, then it will appear clear. However, over time it darkens into a yellowish color before becoming a light brown shade. To make sure it’s not simply water (if clear) or oil (if dark), observe the texture of the leak. Brake fluid is known for its distinctly slippery texture.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is typically red in color. The texture won’t be quite as thick as some of the other liquids listed above and will be accompanied by an odd burnt smell.
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