How to Identify Leaking Fluids

If you notice something dripping underneath your car, you need to figure out what it is as soon as possible to keep your car from becoming even more seriously damaged. Here are some ways to identify leaking fluids from your car.

Color, smell, texture, and even taste are all characteristics that can help you figure out what a fluid is. Engine oil, for example, ranges from light brown to black in color, depending on when it was last changed, and it feels oily to the touch. You can identify the smell by pulling out the dipstick and comparing.

Transmission fluid can be mistaken for engine oil if it’s brown or black, though newer transmission fluid may be pink or red. It also feels slippery to the touch. Power steering fluid is a reddish brown, also easy to confuse with transmission and engine oil, but its consistency is thinner.

Brake fluid is easily identified by its clear or light amber color that looks similar to vegetable oil. Coolant is nearly always bright green or red and usually has a sweet smell, though in recent years the formula for the smell has been changed to keep dogs from eating it.

If you notice plain water dripping from your car, don’t worry about it—it’s most likely dripping condensation from your climate control system.  As always, contact our service department with any questions!

identify leaking fluids

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