Automobile Fluid 101

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What is leaking on your garage floor? If you can tell what color it is you can tell which fluid it is. Accurate Auto is happy to provide this guide to automobile fluids, and they are also happy to fix any leaks because leaking fluid can damage crucial systems in your vehicle.

Light Brown, Dark Brown, or Black

The first instance you see fluid spots on your garage floor, grab a white cloth or paper towel and dab some of the fluid onto it. If the fluid is light or dark brown or black, it’s likely motor oil, which can be a serious leak if not attended to. Have the leak inspected as soon as possible to avoid engine damage.

Reddish or Brown

Transmission fluid is also brown when it’s dirty. You’ll notice a thick consistency to the brown fluid, as well. If the fluid is clean, it will be red and thin. Transmission fluid or oil lubricates transmission parts, so you don’t want it leaking out of your vehicle. Have a leak checked out to prevent further damage.

Reddish or Light Brown

Power steering fluid is also red and it’s always thin. You might also see light brown fluid leaking from the power steering system. The spots on the garage floor will help you identify the fluid. Power steering fluid leaks from the front of your car, whereas transmission fluid leaks from the center of the vehicle.

Clear or Brown

Brake fluid is light to dark brown. The fluid is also slick, so you can tell the difference between brake fluid and motor oil by its consistency. If your vehicle is leaking brake fluid you should have it fixed right away. Your vehicle cannot stop without brake fluid and low fluid can affect how well your vehicle stops.

Green, Pink, or Yellow

Slimy and green, pink, or yellow fluid is likely coolant. The leak might be overflow from an overheated engine or a rusted radiator. You might also have a worn seal or hose. As with brakes, you want to make sure your radiator system isn’t leaking because low coolant will overheat the engine. 

Clear or Blue

If the fluid is clear or blue you can breathe easy. Clear fluid is condensation. There is no fluid in any vehicle system that is clear so you can rest assured this is just water. Blue fluid is window washer fluid, which you don’t necessarily want leaking from your car but if it is, it isn’t the end of the world.

Stop by Accurate Auto’s Beaverton, Oswego, or Hillsboro, OR, shop to have your vehicle leak inspected. Our shop numbers are 503-773-5334, 503-506-6513, and 503-850-2878, respectively.