Common Fluids Found Pooling Under a Car

July 15, 2020 8:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

No one wants to walk out to their car in the morning, only to find a suspicious puddle underneath it. While it might not be a dangerous or even particularly annoying situation, that initial moment of panic and diagnosing the problem is not how most people want to spend their days.

Here’s how to tell what the fluid is that’s leaking from your car in Salt Lake City, UT, and how to gauge whether it should be cause for concern.

What to do first

If you’re parked at home and you only have one car, it’s pretty easy to determine that your car is the source of the leak—but if you’re in a parking lot or garage, it might not be as obvious. You need to get a flashlight and look underneath your car to see if the leak is actually coming from your undercarriage, as opposed to being left there by the car before you.

If you decide that it looks like it’s your car that’s leaking, your next step is to determine the fluid color and type.

Fluid colors and types

To figure out what color the fluid is, slide a piece of white cardboard under your car and let the fluid drip on it. Then pull it out and try to figure out what it is. Water, transmission fluid, motor oil, gear oil and power steering fluids are the most common. Although brake fluid isn’t a common leak, it is very serious—if you see a light amber fluid that smells like fish oil, you need to address the problem immediately:

  • Water: Typically, you don’t need to worry about water leaking from your car, especially if it’s hot out. Water leaks when your air conditioner has been working overtime, and the car is designed to get rid of the moisture that collects.
  • Transmission fluid: Transmission fluid is usually red or pink and will leak in copious amounts. This is a leak that needs to be addressed right away.
  • Motor oil: Motor oil ranges in color from amber to dark brown. If you think you have a motor oil leak, check your dipstick before driving and see a mechanic as soon as possible.
  • Power steering fluid: Power steering fluid varies in color, depending on your car manufacturer—some use proprietary blends, some use transmission fluids and some use standard power steering fluid. Check the reservoir to see how high your fluid level is—if it’s low, you may be dealing with a power steering leak. Take your car in to pinpoint the source and the cause.
  • Gear oil: Gear oil is dark amber or brown, and smells like a car repair shop or a truck stop. This can leak from a number of different places in your car, so if you see and smell this unmistakable oil, see a mechanic right away.

AMR Auto Repair & Towing can help you diagnose the puddle under your car in Salt Lake City, UT—call us or stop by today to get the assistance you need!

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