Tips to Help You Identify the Fluid Leaking Out of Your Car

You are already running late. The last thing you need is to see spots on your garage floor as you back out. Something is leaking out of your automobile. Is it okay to drive it? Accurate Auto advises that in nearly all cases, you shouldn’t drive an automobile that is leaking fluid because you run the risk of damaging the engine or system from which the fluid is leaking. Let’s talk more about fluid leaks and how you can identify exactly what is dripping from your car.

Use a White Cloth or Paper Towel

There’s a reason why the fluids in your automobile are different colors. It’s easier to identify the fluid leaking out of your car, truck, van, or small or large utility vehicle based on the color of the spots on your garage floor. The problem is the concrete in your garage floor can affect the hue, so grab a white paper towel or old rag and sop up some of the fluid spots on the floor. This gives you the exact color of the fluid leaking from your car.

The Color Will Tell You the Fluid

Unfortunately, this isn’t 100 percent full-proof because there are some fluids that are the same color. Still, you can get a general idea of the fluid based on its color and location. Let’s go down the list:

  • Clear fluid is water that evaporates from your air conditioner and tailpipe. It is nothing to worry about.
  • Light brown fluid is brake fluid, gear oil, or motor oil. It is something to worry about.
  • Dark brown fluid is old brake fluid, gear oil, or motor oil. It is also something to worry about.
  • Blue fluid is windshield washer fluid. It is nothing to worry about.
  • Blue fluid can also be coolant, as can green, blue-green, red, orange, or yellow fluid. It is something to worry about.
  • Red fluid is power steering fluid or transmission oil. Some brake fluid is also red. It is something to worry about.
  • Pink fluid is transmission oil diluted by coolant. This is definitely something to worry about.

Where the fluid is leaking from can help you identify it. For example, brake fluid will leak near your wheels, whereas motor oil will leak from underneath the engine.

Check Under the Hood, Too

If you suspect the leak is coolant, pop the hood and check your radiator (only when your engine is cold) and overflow reservoir. You can also check your oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid reservoirs to see if they are low. Transmission fluid is harder to check, generally, because the dipstick is under your car. 

Accurate Auto is located in Beaverton, OR, with two other auto service shops in Hillsboro and Lake Oswego. If you would prefer, we will find which fluid is leaking from your automobile and fix the leak so you don’t need to worry about it anymore.

Photo by MarkD800 from Getty Images via Canva Pro