Finding a spot underneath your car is a common occurrence, but until you know what is leaking, you cannot successfully fix the problem. Just as the human body relies on different fluids to function, your car also has different liquids running through it that allow it to operate at its best. However, every once in a while the fluid starts to leak. Learning how to identify a mysterious spot under your car can help prevent small mechanical issues from turning into a bill worth thousands of dollars. Keep reading to learn how to decipher one leak from another.
Coolant or antifreeze
Coolant is pinkish or greenish but the green variety is more common than the pinkish variety. It can also be identified by its sweet smell and its thin consistency. Coolant leaks are one of the most common leaks on cars. While it might not be a serious leak, it is important to have it fixed. If the leak is not fixed, your engine will run low on its cooling agent leading it to overheat. Coolant can be deadly if an animal ingests it.
Oil is the most common fluid you will find leaking from your car. Used engine oil can be identified by its dark brown color and its slightly gas-like smell. Oil slowly sips into your driveway and leaves a dark residue. If you are driving a car with high mileage, you can expect minor oil leaks, but you can continue driving the car without experiencing severe problems.
Brake fluid has a slightly oily feel, medium thickness and is clear to yellowish. Brake fluid leaks are serious problems that can undermine your safety while driving. The car’s brake system works on a hydraulic pressure system where the brake fluid is the hydraulic fluid that maintains the pressure. Leaking brake fluid can result in a drop in pressure which could lead to brake failure.
Power steering fluid
Power steering fluid is yellowish and has medium thickness. It also has a slight mechanical scent. Power steering fluid is responsible for the ease in turning your car. The power steering systems also work using hydraulics. Once you turn the wheel, power steering fluid fills up a cylinder in the system which applies pressure to the wheel. Low power steering fluid lowers pressure in the system making turning your car a laborious task. In most cars, automatic transmission fluid is used in place of the power steering fluid. Automatic transmission fluid leak leaves a reddish stain on your driveway.
Windshield washer fluid
Windshield washer fluid can either be blue, green or orange. It is very thin and feels almost like water, but it has a slightly sweet smell. It soaks into the concrete quickly because of its low viscosity. It is not a serious leak, but you should have it checked out.
Now that you know how to differentiate between the different fluid leaks, you should identify the source of the leak and have it fixed. Identifying the type of leak is the first step, the next is fixing the problem before it gets worse. Contact us today to take a look at your vehicle.