When moving your car from its parking spot, you may notice that a puddle has formed. A car leaking fluid could indicate a number of issues.
The location and color of the leak can help you and the car repair shop you take your vehicle to determine what is leaking and the culprit.
Types of car fluids
Antifreeze: Antifreeze can be blue, green, red or yellow, depending on the vehicle. The fluid helps prevent the engine block from freezing and cracking, or running too hot.
Brake Fluid: Brake Fluid is clear, yellow or brown. A hydraulic fluid, it applies pressure to your braking components. Don’t drive your vehicle if you notice brake fluid near the wheel well. It may be a sign that your brakes are failing.
Coolant: Coolant is used to maintain the temperature of your vehicle’s engine. When you see a puddle that’s green, orange or pink, it could indicate that your coolant is leaking. It can be red or yellow for some vehicles. The coolant can begin to leak if a water pump or hose fails. Some electric and hybrid vehicles have another coolant system that runs to the back to keep the electronics cool. You can get a coolant leak near the back of the vehicle, which most people aren’t used to.
Engine Oil: Engine oil can be yellow, brown or black. If it’s leaking, there might be a failure with a gasket or seal. If you have had an oil change recently, bring your vehicle back to the auto repair shop.
Transmission Fluid: Transmission fluid allows the transmission to shift gears, based on pressure demand. It cools the transmission and prevents contaminants from settling, as well. It appears as gold, pink, red or black. If any of these colors are seen near your vehicle, it could mean that a seal or gasket isn’t working.
You might also see clear water, and that’s generally from your air conditioner, where the moisture is condensing and the fluid is draining out from underneath your car. That isn’t something you should be concerned about.
How to address a car leaking
The steps you should take if you notice any of these fluids depends on what’s leaking, the amount, and how the vehicle is operating.
For example, if you notice a small amount of brown fluid and it’s engine oil, you could probably just drive to our Woodbridge auto repair shop. However, if the brake pedal is soft, that is a car you don’t drive.
Whether you can drive a vehicle that has transmission fluid leaking out also depends on the situation. If you have red fluid the size of a half dollar but it doesn’t seem like it wants to shift as you are putting it in reverse, we recommend you tow it.
If you aren’t sure if your vehicle is driveable, contact a mechanic or local auto repair shop. Our Woodbridge mechanics are able to perform a variety of services, including transmission repair and brake repair.
HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.