Learn What's Leaking Based On Car Fluid Color

Under Car Leak

Have you ever noticed a puddle of something beneath your car and wondered what it was? Cars have a number of fluids that can all potentially leak. Learn how to diagnose what might be leaking based on the color of the puddle.

Light Brown to Black Puddle

If you see a light brown to black puddle beneath your car, this is likely to be engine oil. The first thing you should do in this case is to check the level of your oil before driving anywhere. Oil leaks can be fairly serious depending on how bad the leak is. Sometimes using thick oil additives can shore up the leak in a pinch.

Reddish Thin Puddle or Brown Thick Puddle

Pointing at Leak Spot

This is likely to be transmission fluid, and you should get it looked at in short order. If the leak isn't too severe, you can still drive the vehicle, but it may not drive properly, and this is especially true if the vehicle is an automatic.

Reddish to Light Brown Thin Puddle

You'll likely find this puddle near the front of your car, and it means you have a power steering leak. You can check the level of power steering fluid under your hood with the available dipstick. Extremely low levels of this fluid will cause your power steering to become unusable. This may cause your vehicle to be extremely difficult to steer.

Clear to Brown Slick

This puddle is likely to be brake fluid and you definitely should not drive your car if you find it. Your car's brake system relies on hydraulic pressure to work and if there's a leak, it will reduce the pressure, which could cause brake failure. If you see this puddle, get your car towed in for service right away.

Yellow or Green Puddle

Yellow or green is mostly commonly coolant, but it could be other bright colors like pink or orange. This is the fluid that runs through your radiator and keeps your vehicle from overheating. A coolant leak might mean that either your radiator or attached hoses are damaged or cracked. Driving your vehicle might cause it to overheat, so it's best to get it serviced.

Clear and Thin

This is most likely water, but you'll want to touch it to make sure. If it's slick, then it's more likely to be brake fluid. Water usually only forms a puddle under a car if the AC has been running.

Visit our dealership or schedule a service appointment to find out more about any suspicious leaks under your car.

Categories: Service
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