What Type Of Fluid Is Leaking From Your Car?

Posted on: 4 November 2016

What do you do when you notice that your car is leaking? Immediately take your car into the shop? Panic because you just know the engine is about to blow up? Or, do you remain calm while trying to determine the location of the leak? Before you do anything else, you need to determine the leak's location. This way, you don't try to drive a car with a leak that could cause a major issue. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to determine what type of leak your car has if you know where to look.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid resembles cooking oil — in both color and texture. It's typically clear to yellowish in color, has a medium thickness, and an oily feel. Brake fluid leaks should stain the pavement near the tires or directly under the brake pedal. If you aren't sure the leak is brake fluid, place newspaper on the ground under your car — near all four tires and underneath the brake pedal. Then, pump your brakes several times to force the fluid out. If you have a leak in your brake line, the newspaper will be saturated.

If your car is leaking brake fluid, you shouldn't try to drive it at all. As the fluid leaves your brake lines, so does the pressure in your hydraulic braking system. So basically without the fluid, your car won't stop. Don't drive it. Have it towed to the nearest mechanic.

Engine Oil

Engine oil leaks also need to be repaired immediately. If you don't fix the leak and you run the car while it's low on oil, you could find yourself in the market for some new engine parts. Of course, you can save money by purchasing used engine parts instead of new, but it's probably a lot easier to have the leak repaired before you need any new parts. If your engine is leaking oil, you'll notice the stain on the pavement directly under the engine. If you've recently had an oil change, they stain may be a lighter color, but if it's been awhile since you've changed the oil in the car, you might notice dark brown stain. Clean oil is yellowish in color and the dirtier it gets, the darker and thicker it gets. Remember, if you've let an oil leak go for awhile, you may need to have a few engine parts replaced. Talk to your mechanic about purchasing used of aftermarket parts to save money.

Transmission and Power Steering Fluid

Both power steering fluid and transmission fluid are a reddish color, which makes it difficult to tell them apart. You can drive a car that's leaking power steering fluid without causing additional damage, but you shouldn't drive a car that's leaking transmission fluid. So to determine what type of fluid is leaking from the vehicle, you need to see where the leak is located. Transmission fluid leaks from the middle of the car, while power steering fluid leaks from the front of it.

When you notice your car is leaking, it's important to determine the cause of the leak as soon as possible. Avoiding the problem could cause you to need a completely new engine or transmission in the future. For more information, contact local professionals like Dean's Auto Repair Inc.