If you’ve noticed a leak in your car, it’s important to identify the fluid as soon as possible, especially if you’re not familiar with cars. It can be quite alarming to pull out of your garage and find that your car has left a pool of fluid behind. But don’t worry, as mechanics, we’re here to guide you through the process and provide some handy tips on how to identify the mystery fluid.
Identify the fluid A great way to identify the fluid that’s leaking from your car is to pop a piece of clean white paper underneath the leak and grab a sample of whatever it is.
Engine oil leak Engine oil will have a greasy texture with a darkish brown appearance and it’ll be found underneath your engine. Oil leaks can be caused by a few issues like a worn-out gasket, an incorrectly fitted oil filter, a corroded oil line, or even an incorrectly secured oil plug. If you find this leak in your car, make sure your oil is topped up until you can get to a mechanic, which should be your next priority.
Water leak When you pull your piece of paper out, it will have a watery texture and will usually be found underneath the air conditioner. This is the fluid that is probably the best outcome for finding a leak and can be quite common in the Australian climate. That’s because we have to use our air conditioners! Water leak is usually condensation that melts after your air conditioner has turned off. If you’re concerned about this, feel free to book in for a check.
Coolant leak If you have a coolant leak, the fluid on your paper will be watery and slippery in texture and will have a green, red, or blue color. The fluid leak will be found underneath your engine. Coolant is usually green in color but it can come in blue or red colors as well. If you have this leak, make sure your coolant is topped up and visit a mechanic as soon as you can.
Fuel leak A fuel leak will have a slightly yellowed appearance and will smell like petrol or diesel. It’ll be found underneath the engine or towards the center of the vehicle. It can be a bit difficult to track the root cause of a fuel leak due to how fuel travels throughout your car. Due to the unstable nature of fuel, we recommend getting your car to a mechanic as soon as you can.
Auto transmission fluid leak This will have a greasy texture, be red or pinkish, and located underneath your engine. The color of this fluid will greatly depend on its age. If it’s been replaced recently, it will have a more pink look to it, whereas the older it is, the deeper its color will be until it reaches a dark red-brownish color. Your auto transmission fluid is vital to protecting your transmission; it works as both a lubricant and a coolant to your transmission. So if it’s leaking, you run the risk of burning or grinding your transmission, which will soon become quite a costly issue to fix. This is an issue that you’ll want to get looked at soon rather than later if you want to keep more cash in your wallet.
Power steering fluid leak This fluid will be oily and have a pink, red, or clear appearance and will be found towards the front of your car just under the engine. This fluid keeps your driving experience nice and smooth, and if your steering has any pulls or difficulties, this could be a sign of a power steering fluid leak. A risk with this comes when the lack of fluid damages your fluid pump, which can be costly to repair. It’s best to get this one looked at by a mechanic sooner rather than later to save you money in the long run.
Brake fluid leak This fluid will have a light