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What Are Common Causes of Water Leaking from Under a Car?

My Car Is Leaking Water

Whenever you are dealing with your car leaking water, you will want to resolve the issue as soon as possible. You need to confirm that water is the leaking substance and then get to the root of the problem so you can stop the leak from continuing. Remember that water leaking from car can be a minor fix or it may require a more complicated repair.

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Take a minute to learn about the most common causes of water leaking inside or even outside a car. With this information in mind, you will have a better idea of whether you can fix the issue yourself or if you’ll need to bring your auto to a mechanic.


Always Confirm It Is Water


Your first step anytime you notice your car leaking water should be to confirm that it is actually water. It’s also possible that it’s another fluid, such as coolant or oil.


To check which liquid it is, place a bit of paper underneath the leak. Once you catch a little of the fluid, you can look at its color and density. Coolant is usually blue and oil should be recognizable. While it is possible that your car will leak fluids other than these, if it is not coolant or oil, then it is likely water.


The Air Conditioning Is the Most Common Culprit


The air conditioner is among the most common reasons for water leaking into cars. You may notice the car A/C leaking water on the floor or leading to water in another location. The car A/C leaking water can happen when the moisture in the air accumulates on your air conditioning unit’s parts. That accumulated moisture will drip down in the area by the rear of the engine.


You can minimize the risk of water leaking inside the car when the A/C is on by using the unit’s recirculation setting instead of the fresh air option. This way, you will not be bringing fresh air with additional moisture content into the vehicle.


A/C Leaking Water Inside Car


In addition to causing exterior leaks, sometimes you will find that your car is leaking water inside because of the air conditioning. This may happen if the drain tubes in the air conditioning system get blocked. In that case, the condensation will just pool within your A/C box. That could lead to a musty smell that lets you know your car is leaking water into the passenger side floor or another area, or you may even notice a deluge of water suddenly.


You could resolve that problem just by removing the drain tube blockage. Just keep in mind that even without the blockage, your air conditioning will still produce moisture and can lead to a car A/C leaking water ground.


The Exhaust


The answer to why is my car leaking water underneath may also be the exhaust. The fuel combustion process may lead to the system propelling out a small quantity of water. This is completely normal and absolutely nothing to worry about. In this case, you would notice that the water comes from the tailpipe.


There is one caveat when you notice water coming from the exhaust, however: You need to look at your coolant level to confirm that the fluid is not really coolant. As long as your coolant level is fine, water from the exhaust is likely water and completely fine.


The Cooling System


You may also notice your car leaking water when parked due to an issue with the cooling system. In this case, you will likely want to take a second to confirm that the liquid that is being leaked is water, not coolant.


As with when you notice water leaking from the exhaust pipe, just confirm it is not coolant by checking the coolant level in your system.


There are a few potential causes of leaks in the cooling system, including a hole in the coolant reservoir. There may also be a hole in the radiator.


The Windshield Washer System


It is also possible for the water to come from your windshield washer system.


In this case, you can generally ignore the leak as it will not indicate any serious problems.


Physical Damage


Of course, if you notice water leaking into car when it rains, then you may be dealing with physical damage to your car that lets the water inside.


In this situation, you would most likely just notice the car leaking water inside when it rains because the water would come from an external source. You may also notice water leaking into car from roof or water leaking into the car from the windshield if you are parked by a sprinkler or go through a car wash.


In the case of physical damage, you can stop the car door leaking water by repairing the damage. Your mechanic will let you know what repairs are necessary.


Other Potential Causes


There are also some other potential causes in addition to all of the above common causes of your car leaking water.


For example, it may be due to a leak in the water pump or a hole in the water jacket.


How to Tell Why Your Car Is Leaking Water


With so many potential reasons for a car leaking water, you will need to know how you can tell the various reasons apart. Ask yourself the following questions, each of which will give you some insight into whether the fluid is water and what likely caused the leak.


What Color Is the Liquid?


As mentioned before, you may think you have a car leaking water underneath but it is not actually water. Take a closer look at the water leaking under car, paying close attention to its color.


If the liquid is yellow, blue, or green, then it’s most likely coolant. If it’s clear, then it is likely to be water condensation. The exception is if you use pure water in your cooling system: In this case, it is still water, but it might be a coolant system leak.


Where Is the Puddle?


Next, evaluate where on your car the leak is occurring based on where the puddle formed.


If it is by the back of your engine compartment, then the culprit is likely condensation from your air conditioning. If it is by the muffler or tailpipe, then it is likely condensation from the exhaust.


If the water puddle is anywhere else, then it is likely due to wicking that comes from another location mentioned above.


Is the Air Conditioner Running?


You will also need to think about whether you are dealing with water leaking from car when the heater is on or if car leaking water occurs when air conditioner is on.


Remember that it is completely normal to see some mild condensation occur when the air conditioning is on. This condensation can result in a small puddle under your car with normal operations.


How Hot Is It Outside?


You do not even need to have the air conditioning on to deal with a car air conditioner leaking water inside or outside your car. On hot days, the same condensation may accumulate even with the unit off, leading to puddles.


How Cold Is It Outside?


Cold weather can also lead to you wondering why is my car leaking water. That is because the exhaust tends to produce more condensation on cold days. If this is the case and the exhaust is the culprit, the condensation should clear up after you warm the muffler up.


In cold weather, if you notice the moisture or condensation does not go away, then you should probably take your car to a mechanic. This condensation should be gone by the time you have driven for a while; if it has not, there may be a serious problem.


What to Know About a Car Leaking Water Versus Coolant Leaks


As mentioned, you may think that you are dealing with water leaking in the car but really be dealing with a coolant leak. Remember that finding water under your auto is not usually a big concern, but coolant leaks can be.


Unfortunately, it can be somewhat challenging at times to determine what type of fluid is leaking from your auto. This is particularly true if you are in a parking lot, asphalt driveway, or any other dark and uneven surface.


You can likely rule out oil-based on touching the mixture, but this is not usually the case for water versus coolant. Additionally, even on a finger, it can be hard to tell the difference in color.


Look for Smell and Color


The most important differences to look for when determining if you have a car leaking water or coolant are the smell and the color. Coolant or antifreeze will have a smell that is sweet while water should be odorless.


To tell the color, use a drop cloth, a piece of paper, or a pan. Collect some of the liquid and you should be better able to tell the color. Most colorless liquids will be water. If it is colorful, it is probably antifreeze, with common colors including blue, yellow, and green.


Water Can Leak from the Coolant System


Keep in mind that liquid coming from your coolant system does not necessarily mean that it is coolant. It is possible if you used a combination of antifreeze and water instead of just coolant. Even then, however, you would likely leak a mixture of the two liquids, not just water.


If you think the coolant system is to blame and it looks like water is leaking, then check the reservoir. Examine the antifreeze in the radiator and confirm that it does not appear to be pure water. If it does look like just water, you should take your car to your mechanic.


Why Would Coolant Leak?


If you are dealing with a coolant leak instead of a water leak from the cooling system, there are a few potential causes. These can include leaky gaskets, worn bearing seals in the water pump, holes in the coolant hose, or a corroded radiator.


How to Fix a Coolant Leak


If the problem is a coolant leak, then the solution is as simple as getting to the source of the problem and fixing it. This typically includes replacing a worn or faulty component.


Coolant Leaks Can Be Serious


Keep in mind that while most cases of water leaking in cars are not serious, the same is not always true of coolant leaks.


Your car relies on the coolant to let the cooling system continue to function. Without that system functioning, your car may overheat. As such, if you have a coolant leak, you need to check the coolant levels and watch your temperature gauge.


If you notice water leaking from car engine, then make sure you do not have a case of your car leaking water but not overheating, as that could indicate a coolant leak instead of a water leak.


We Will Buy Your Car

We Will Buy Your Car


Whether you have established that your car is leaking water into the passenger side floor when it rains from physical damage, you have a car radiator leaking water or coolant, or the A/C is causing water leaking from under the car, we will buy your auto.


We buy autos, regardless of their condition. So whether you have a mild case of water leaking from the bottom of the car due to mild condensation from the A/C unit, severe physical damage causing water leaking inside the car’s driver side, or a coolant leak, we will buy your car. You will not have to make any repairs ahead of time as we buy your auto as-is.


We make selling your car quick and easy, so you can get cash in your hands right away and have one less thing to deal with. Instead of worrying about water leaking into the car passenger side, you can have money to put towards a new auto or another form of transportation.


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