It’s always alarming when you pull out of your driveway to find a puddle of fluid where your car was just parked. However, fluid leaks are a common problem with vehicles, and can often be easily repaired. It’s important to be able to identify such fluids, though, to help our local automotive mechanics diagnose the problem so it can be fixed. Here’s a quick guide to identifying leaking fluids:
Clear: This is most likely power steering fluid or water from the condenser on the A/C unit.
Light Yellow: New brake fluid is a lighter yellow color, but as it runs through the system it becomes a dark brown from absorbing water. It’s important to keep up on this fluid, regardless if it’s leaking or not.
Light Brown: While gear lube may employ a lightish-brown color, it’s most observable quality is its strong odor of rotten eggs. This fluid may be leaking from the manual transmission or the rear axel.
Light or Dark Brown: Engine oil will be a caramel color when it’s new, but will soon change to a darker brown. If you discover your car is leaking oil, this can be both dangerous and expensive. Remember to change your oil every 3,000 miles or every 3 months.
Green: Any green fluids leaking from your car will be radiator coolant, which is also very slippery to the touch.
Red Fluid: This could either be transmission fluid or power steering fluid. But note where the leak is coming from—it could be long-life coolant.
Amber: This will most likely be gas, but you’ll probably recognize the smell before anything else.
If you have discovered a leak, have an ASE-Certified technician at your local White Bear Lake, MN auto repair take a look at it. They’ll be able to locate the problem and advise you on the best course of action to get your car back to operating the way it’s supposed to.