Occasionally we’ll have a customer come to the shop wanting help with identifying a leak under their car. First off, good job bringing your car to an auto repair shop. Addressing fluid leaks early will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. We see some fluid under the car and we wonder if it’s something serious or normal. Depending on where the leak is originating from, it can be difficult for vehicle owners to definitively know what kind of leak they’re dealing with and how serious it is. While a windshield wiper fluid leak may not be a very big deal, a leak in your coolant or brake lines can be detrimental to your car’s health not to mention a safety hazard. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend to all vehicle owners that whenever you find fluid under your car, and you’re sure it’s not condensation dripping from your car’s AC system, contact an experienced mechanic near you to troubleshoot the issue.
Common Vehicle Leaks People Encounter in Humble, TX
Water: By far the most common liquid people in Humble, TX notice underneath their car is simply water that has dripped down from their AC system. If it’s hot out, and you’ve been running your car’s AC during your drive – even if just a short drive – you can expect to find a decent sized pool of H20 on the ground about directly beneath the car’s engine compartment. Don’t worry, you’re not doomed!
Engine Oil: Oil leaks are fairly common and indicate your oil filter or drain plug are not tightened properly, or it could be something more complex like a problem with your crankshaft seal or your valve cover gasket. If you spot an oil leak early then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about as long as you resolve the leak in a timely manner. Extended oil leaks can lead to engine damage if left unchecked. If you know your car has a slight oil leak, you should check the dipstick regularly to ensure the oil level doesn’t go below the recommended minimum. Oil is colored differently depending on usage and age of the oil in your car’s engine. If it’s fresh oil, it will have an amber hue. If it’s older oil, needing to be changed, it will appear very dark – almost black in color.
Radiator Coolant or Antifreeze: Coolant leaks are usually pretty easy to identify if you have a white tissue handy. Coolant is colored green, orange or even blue in some instances so color is one way to get to the bottom of it. Checking your coolant levels can tip you off as well, although you should never open the radiator cap when the engine is hot. Doing so could cause the cap to burst off and shower you with burning hot radiator fluid causing severe burns. The place you’ll want to look is the overflow reservoir. Check to see if the coolant has dropped to the minimum or lower mark. If so, you likely have a coolant leak on your hands. An experienced mechanic will be able to identify exactly where the coolant leak is coming from and fix it. Most often times, the leak is coming from a coolant hose or the radiator itself.
Transmission Fluid: Transmission fluid leaks can happen occasionally around axle seals. It’s usually colored red or reddish brown if it is aged. So if you see pinkish or reddish fluid under your car, we’d recommend that you check your transmission fluid dipstick to see if the levels have gone down. If you aren’t sure where the transmission dipstick is located, because it can be buried down pretty deep in the engine compartment, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Power Steering Fluid: Power steering fluid can be a little trickier to identify and isn’t all too common. If you notice your car start to whine when you are making turns, then that usually indicates that your power steering fluid is too low and that can be a dead giveaway. Always be checking your power steering fluid reservoir, and all fluid levels for that matter, to ensure that you aren’t losing any fluid unknowingly. If checking your fluids is something you do regularly, and we highly recommend that you do, then you should be able to detect right away when one of your systems is losing fluid because you’ll be so used to seeing the fluid levels at the same, consistent levels.
If you car is leaking liquid onto your garage floor, in the parking lot, your driveway or the street, whether or lot or just a little, you should have your car inspected as soon as possible. Contact an experienced mechanic today by calling (281) 812-3085. We look forward to hearing from you!