4 Fluids That Might Be Leaking From Your Car

If you notice a wet spot of fluid underneath your vehicle, there are several different fluids that could be dripping from the car. Here are four common leaks drivers should be aware of. 

1. Engine Oil

If the fluid is brown or black (not red), it could be engine oil. It is easier to tell by rubbing a little on your fingers to check the consistency. If the fluid is slippery and hard to wash off, the leak is likely oil. 

Vehicles that are functioning properly should not be leaking oil. If you do find oil under your car, it is worth a trip to your local auto repair shop to find out why. A leak in the engine oil system could mean the car needs an expensive repair, but a minor fix might be able to resolve the issue.

In either case, an engine oil leak should not be ignored. If the engine were to completely run out of oil, the moving parts within could become irreparably damaged and the car could get totaled. 

2. Water

If you notice clear fluid dripping out under the vehicle, it could be as harmless as water. This is most likely to occur after the air conditioning system has been running. Running the air conditioning in hot weather can cause condensation, which can form a puddle after the vehicle is stopped. 

If you haven't been running the air conditioner, water could also come from the windshield washer system or simply wet weather. Water dripping below the vehicle is typically nothing to worry about. 

3. Power Steering Fluid

If the leak below your vehicle smells slightly sweet and looks reddish-brown (like thin maple syrup), it could be fluid from the power steering system. A serious leak or a drainage of power steering fluid will result in the steering wheel feeling stiff and difficult to turn. 

Temporarily refilling the power steering fluid could forestall the issue of difficulty steering, but it's worth having an auto service professional check the system. A small leak may also be fixed with a fluid designed to stop leaks. 

4. Coolant

Another reason a puddle may appear beneath your vehicle is a coolant leak. Coolant is usually a bright color, such as yellow, pink, or green, making it one of the easiest fluid leaks to recognize. It also smells somewhat sweet and has an oily texture to it. 

Coolant could leak from various places in the engine system, including hoses, the radiator, or water pump. While a leak-stopping fluid could also work well in this situation, the safest course of action is to check in with an auto service center to determine where the leak is. Additionally, be sure to refill your coolant anytime it's leaking to prevent engine overheating and damage. 

To learn more, contact a repair shop like Northern Brake and Transmission.