Your car runs on a complex system of fluids. If you see residue under your car after driving, it could be a sign that one of these fluids is leaking. It’s challenging to know the type of fluid your car is leaking or where it’s coming from, but understanding the fluid’s appearance can help. Continue reading to learn how to know what fluid your car is leaking and what type of mechanical issue is behind it.
Clear fluid is usually condensation from your air conditioning and isn’t likely a mechanical issue. Alternatively, a clear fluid with an odor can indicate a gasoline leak from your fuel system.
A brown fluid indicates an oil leak from your engine. An engine leak will smell like gasoline and have a thicker consistency. If you require new engine parts and leave the leak unfixed, the fluid will appear black over time.
A yellow fluid indicates that brake fluid is leaking from your brake system. Brake fluid can appear light brown if you leave the leak unresolved and will have a fish oil smell.
Blue or Green Fluid
If your car is leaking a green or blue fluid, your windshield wiper fluid is leaking from the washer fluid reservoir. The fluid will also have a distinct smell of winder cleaner. Also, fluorescent colors like bright green or pink can indicate coolant fluid leaking from your cooling system. You can tell the difference because coolant fluid is thicker than wiper fluid and has a sweeter odor.
Red or Brown Fluid
Both the power steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid appear red. How to know what fluid your car is leaking is through the different consistencies. If the power steering fluid is leaking, the fluid can be red to reddish-brown and have a thinner consistency. If the automatic transmission fluid is leaking, the fluid will be bright red in color and will become brown if left untreated. Power steering fluid also has a distinct burnt smell.
If you suspect a leak from your car, the best next move is to contact a professional mechanic. While not all car leaks are dangerous, it’s important to stay safe and not drive your car until you know what type of fluid is leaking and the mechanical issue you may have.