When Your Car Is Leaking Oil: 6 Possible Fluids That May Be Leaking From Your Car
That mysterious puddle appears beneath your car, but with all of the fluids constantly running through it everyday, how do you find the source of the leak?
A leak can be one of the first signs of problems occurring under the hood, most of which are in need of attention right away to prevent larger issues that may leave you stuck on the side of the road.
Read along to learn about the 6 most common types of leaks and how to spot them!
1. ENGINE OIL
Engine Oil keeps your engine lubricated, preventing it from breaking down.
COLOR: Amber when new, turning to a dark brown or black over time
CONSISTENCY: thick and slippery
OTHER WARNING SIGNS: Leak appears directly below the engine
2. TRANSMISSION FLUID
A hydraulic fluid that can look similar to engine oil used to lubricate and better operate the transmission.
COLOR: can be red or clear when new and may turn brown over time.
CONSISTENCY: oily and slick consistency, thinner than your engine oil
OTHER WARNING SIGNS: Shifting is delayed when the engine is cold. Leaks can originate from the transmission directly or the lines going to the radiator or cooler.
3. ENGINE COOLANT
Coolant helps to keep your engine at the right temperature.
COLOR: Bright vibrant colors ranging from green, orange, pink, to blue-green
CONSISTENCY: Slimy texture
OTHER WARNING SIGNS: Your car is running hot or overheating when in use.
4. POWER STEERING FLUID
A hydraulic fluid that makes it easier to steer your car and can often be mistaken with transmission fluid.
COLOR: clear or red and may turn brown over time
CONSISTENCY: thin and oily
OTHER WARNING SIGNS: It can cause difficulty turning your steering wheel while driving.
5. BRAKE FLUID
Brake fluid leaks can potentially be a very serious issue and should be addressed right away as it’s crucial to properly operate your brakes.
COLOR: Transparent yellow to brown over time
CONSISTENCY: Oily and very slippery
OTHER WARNING SIGNS: A red “BRAKE” symbol may appear on your dashboard to indicate a leak.
Commonly comes from your AC unit as condensation builds up and is simply your car draining out the excess fluid. There is no need to worry, it means your AC is doing its job.
Now that you know how to spot the leak, how can you determine how serious the issue is?
To help indicate the severity of a leak, it’s important to note how large the puddle is. If you see a puddle that is 3 inches or wider under your car, that could be a serious leak that requires immediate attention. For all other leaks 1 and 2 inches wide, you may be catching the issue early on before the problem becomes more severe and more expensive. Brake fluid is an exception to this size guide as they should be addressed right away regardless of the amount leaking.
OOROO is here to help you be better informed about your vehicle and what is happening when unexpected surprises come up! Our auto repair specialists are here for you to determine the cause of the problem and find the right solution.