Because your car uses a lot of components that require fluid to keep them running properly, chances are good a leak will develop at some time. Though automotive leaks are common, cars are designed not to have any leaks at all. A leak could mean more expensive repairs down the road if the problem is not addressed. Here is more information on how to identify leaks and determine which components are affected.
Watery Green Fluid
Thin, watery bright green fluid flowing out from under the engine compartment means a coolant leak. You will likely notice it almost immediately after you shut off the car, unlike oily leaks which often appear overnight.
Coolant leaks frequently happen under the radiator or hoses unless they're small or blocked by another part. If you see green fluid leaking from the engine, the leak could indicate a blown head gasket. If a coolant leak is not repaired promptly, you could risk overheating your car.
Medium-Thick Oily Red, Rust-Colored, or Orange Fluid
If the leak is of medium consistency with mostly reddish fluid, then you likely have an automatic transmission fluid leak. Depending on if you have a front wheel or rear wheel drive car, you will see these leaks near the front of the car or closer to the back of the engine area or the middle of the car.
Transmissions frequently leak from a worn oil pan gasket, but sometimes they can leak out of servos and other seals. Depending on how severe the leak is, you may also experience shifting problem.
Thick Brown or Black Oily Fluid
Thick and dirty brown or black fluid is one of the more common leaks you will find under your car and usually indicates an engine oil leak. Oil can leak from anywhere on the engine, but is most likely to leak from the oil pan or valve cover gasket. Severe oil leaks can severely damage your engine by either failing to provide adequate lubrication or by leaking into or onto other parts.
Thin and Oily Clear or Yellowish Fluid
Leaks that are fairly thin and clear or yellowish in color are often power steering leaks, especially if they are directly under the steering mechanism or pump reservoir.
For most cars, these leaks will appear near the front of the vehicle. In some vehicle models, steering-related groaning or similar noises may also increase. Failure to repair this problem could mean expensive steering pump replacement and difficult steering.
Thin Pink or Blue Fluid
Thin, watery pink or blue fluid near the front of the engine compartment on one side is a sign of a windshield wiper fluid leak. This fluid often smells like window cleaner or some other type of cleaner.
The liquid is most likely leaking from the reservoir tank which, on most cars, is made of plastic. Leaks of this type are mostly harmless in regards to long-term damage to your vehicle except when you need the fluid to clean your windows.
If you're seeing clear water, this is one leak that you likely don’t need to be concerned about. Clear water generally means condensation, most likely from the air conditioning or defogging system.
If you've been driving around all day in hot and humid weather or using your defogger in the winter, you will likely see clear water under your engine, particularly under the air conditioning compressor or hoses.
No car should be leaking and leaks should be repaired as soon as possible. Until you get the problem fixed, keep an eye on your fluids and keep them topped off so you don't run low. See a mechanic about repairs before any damage occurs.
Huntington Beach Transmissions & Auto Repair not only specializes in transmission issues, but also in general car repairs. We can identify the leaks and recommend a repair so that you can keep your car running.