Almost every one of us experienced some fluid leak under the vehicle.
While some of these leaks might be very simple and almost no problem, others can be very critical and require immediate attention.
Thus, if you noticed any fluid leaking under your vehicle, you must perform a visual inspection, determine the potential culprit, and take quick action.
Usually, the color of the fluid can indicate the source of the leak. Therefore, as a driver, you must educate yourself on the different types of fluid colors in your vehicle.
This way, you don’t need to get too concerned if the problem is not very serious.
This article provides you with a detailed list of car fluids colors along with the source system in your vehicle. We also list the potential causes for fluid leaks in each system.
How do you tell what fluid is leaking from your car?
One of the quickest ways to determine what fluid is leaking from your vehicle is performing a visual inspection.
Usually, the fluid color provides you the best insights about what is going on with your vehicle. Each fluid in your vehicle comes in a unique color, to some extent. Thus, here is what each color mean:
Red fluid leaking under your car
If the fluid color is red, then it’s the transmission’s power steering’s fluid.
To confirm, you can check potential locations of power steering fluid leak like the power steering rack’s seals and gaskets, the reservoir and rack junctions, or the power steering pump.
Usually, power steering leak happens over time of use as the gaskets and seals age, especially at higher mileage. As they age, they can break up and create some flakes that could move throughout the steering system and damage it.
Thus, you need to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic and immediately resolve the leak problem.
Sometimes in smaller cracks, people suggest using cooling system repair products to pour inside the steering system to take care of any cracks. But, usually, these options are temporary and do not work on larger cracks.
Orange fluid leaking under your car
If the fluid leaking under your car is orange, it can be a little more challenging to define the culprit.
This is because usually, orange color indicates rust or corrosion. For example, the radiator’s antifreeze can turn orange if there is some rust in the radiator.
In this case, a professional mechanic is your best way to go to confirm the leak source.
Yellow fluid leaking under your car
Now, if the fluid color is yellow, it is most likely the coolant is the culprit.
A coolant leak can occur at any location around the hoses, the radiator, the thermostat, and any other cooling system component.
There are many reasons causing coolant leak; some of the common leak causes include:
- A blown head gasket
If you don’t already know, the head gasket is a thin metal plate placed between the engine’s block and the cylinders.
This part can blow out due to extreme temperature generated from both the engine itself and the cylinders.
With a blown head gasket, the coolant can lead to the cylinder and leave the vehicle somewhere from the tailpipe.
- Cracks in the radiator
As your radiator gets older, there is a high potential for cracks due to tear and wear in the brittle hoses. Thus, coolant can leak from weak locations and around junctions.
Green fluid leaking under your car
The green color might also indicate antifreeze leaks potentially from the water pump, the hoses, the clamps, and any related component.
If you are not choosing the right antifreeze for your vehicle’s make, model, and year, you will most likely deal with antifreeze leaks regularly.
Therefore, you must look into the vehicle’s owner’s manual and determine the name and quantity of antifreeze to use in your cooling system.
Blue fluid leaking under your car
If the fluid leaking under your car is blue, you need to check your windshield wiper fluid level.
It is not rare for this fluid to leak from the tubing or the reservoir where the windshield wiper fluid is transported and stored.
In that case, you need to have your windshield components inspected by a professional mechanic to determine the leak source best and resolve the problem.
Clear fluid leaking under your car
The best scenario for the fluid leak is to have a clear fluid leaking from your vehicle.
This is because a clear fluid usually doesn’t indicate an actual problem; it just means there is some water condensing from the air conditioning system.
If you are concerned about the amount of clear fluid leak, it won’t hurt to have the air conditioning inspected by a professional mechanic.
Dark brown fluid leaking under your car
Like the orange fluid leak, a dark brown fluid leaking from your vehicle can mean many different things, which makes it a little more challenging for you to pinpoint the culprit.
For instance, as the motor oil gets older, it can turn into a dark brown color. Similarly, brakes fluid can also become dark brown over time of use.
Unfortunately, a dark brown fluid leak requires a professional mechanic to perform the diagnosis using certain tools and equipment. Thus, you must get your vehicle to the closest repair shop.
Light brown fluid leaking under your car
If the fluid leaking from your car is light brown, there are two potential culprits: a new motor oil or issues with the gear lubrication.
To confirm which one is leaking, you can smell the fluid; usually, the gear lubrication fluid comes with a very bad smell. The motor oil only smells bad if it was burned.
Your gear lubrication usually leaks due to excessive oil. On the other hand, your motor oil might leak due to a degraded engine gasket, issues with the oil filter, the oil filter cap, the drain plug, or the oil pan.
Whatever the cause of the problem is, you never want to drive a vehicle with the required engine oil amount.
If your engine doesn’t receive the right lubrication, its internal components can wear out against each other, causing significant heat production. As a result, your engine can get self-destructed in no time.
Pink fluid leaking under your car
Finally, a pink fluid leaking from your car indicates either a problem with the power steering fluid or the transmission fluid.
Both problems happen due to cracks in the brittle or worn out hoses or connections.
There are many causes for transmission fluid leak, including:
- A degraded transmission pan gasket
- Breaks in the transmission lines and hoses
- Issues with misalignment
- Problems with the seals and other gaskets
It would help if you got your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible to prevent further damages to your transmission that could require very high repair costs.
How to confirm its water leaking from your car?
A water leak is one of the most common fluid leaks in your car. This problem is usually not very serious and is expected as the air conditioning condensing.
There are several signs you can check to confirm its water leaking from your vehicle, not something else:
- The fluid color is clear
- Locate the fluid leak source. Usually, water leak occurs somewhere behind the engine’s block
- You can also confirm that its water leaking by monitoring the leak as you turn on and off your air conditioning
- Some water leaks occur during hot days as the water is condensation inside the air conditioning compartments. Thus, you don’t always need to have the air conditioning turned on to confirm its water.
- Similarly, water might also leak on very cold days as it condenses in the exhaust system.
How to fix fluid leaking from the car?
Depending on the fluid leak source, you can determine the right repair approach. While some repairs can be done at home, others usually require a professional mechanic.
For instance, some of the small cracks and fluid leaks in the radiator can be resolved by a cooling system repair product. All you do is select the right product for your vehicle, pour it in the radiator, let your vehicle run for a couple of minutes, ensure you have the right coolant level, and leave it to sit overnight.
On the other hand, if the leaks are major, simple repair kits might not work as a big puddle under the vehicle.
In some instances of severe coolant leaks, you won’t be able to drive your car an inch, and you must have it towed to the repair shop.
Thus, when it comes to repairing car fluids leaks, you will most likely need a professional mechanic to confirm the problem and repair it.
Is it worth repairing fluid leaking from the car?
The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors that could potentially help you decide whether it’s worth repairing your vehicle or not.
For instance, if the fluid leak is just clear water, there is potentially no problem related to condensed water from the air conditioning.
However, if the problem is more serious, like a transmission fluid leak, you need to set back and look into other factors before deciding on the repairs.
Some of the questions that you might ask yourself to include:
- Are there any other problems with your vehicle?
- Does your vehicle have high mileage?
- What about repair costs? Are they getting close to the value of your car?
Answering one of the mentioned questions with “yes” indicates that it’s not worth repairing your car, and you’d better sell it and use the money as a down payment for a better car.
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Fluid leaks are one of the most common issues that you might face as you drive your vehicle. Some of these leaks might be concerning, while others can be very simple and require small to almost no repairs.
One of the best ways to determine the leak's problem source is by visually inspecting its color.
Each fluid in your car usually comes in a unique color. For instance, the antifreeze is usually green, and the engine oil is light brown, the transmission fluid is pink, the AC condensing fluid is clear, etc.
In this article, we summarized the meaning of each fluid color and the potential causes for this fluid leak.
Fluids are put inside your vehicle for a purpose, and most of the time, the vehicle’s performance drops significantly as these fluids’ levels drop. Therefore, when you notice signs of fluid leaks, you must take immediate action and have your vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic.