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Tips for Identifying the Fluid Leaking from Your Car Onto Your Driveway

Last updated 5 years ago

It’s not uncommon for even the most well-maintained vehicles to develop a leak once in a while. Some leaks are nothing more than water from the air-conditioner, whereas a more serious leak will require you to take your car to a repair shop immediately. Read on to learn more about the different fluids that may be leaking from your car and how to identify them.

Engine Oil If you see a black or dark brown fluid leaking from the front of your car, you probably have an engine oil leak on your hands—the most common type of vehicle fluid leak. Engine oil will feel slippery to the touch, and might smell a bit burnt if it has not been changed recently.

Transmission Fluid This type of fluid is similar in consistency to engine oil, and will come from the front of the car. It will have a petroleum smell and be either brown in color if it hasn’t been changed recently, or red if it is relatively new.

Brake or Power Steering Fluid These two fluids look and feel like thin engine oil. If you ever see clear or yellowish fluid coming out of the power steering hose or near the wheels and brakes, tow your car to a repair shop immediately. If it is a brake fluid leak, you run a huge risk of brake failure.

Anti-Freeze If the fluid coming from your car has a sweet smell, looks red or green, and has a slick feel to it, you have an anti-freeze leak. This leak will come from the front of your car, near the radiator.

Washer Fluid Solvent If you see a colorful, watery fluid coming from the front of your car—usually purple, red, pink, blue, or orange—your windshield wiper reservoir, or the hoses that are connected to it, probably has a leak.

To get your car diagnosed and repaired by ASE-certified car repair experts in the Mountain View area, come to A-1 Auto Tech, Inc. Call our repair shop at (888) 722-1970 if you have any questions, and visit our website to see all of the services we have to offer you.


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