Liquid is leaking from underneath car –

Is My Car Leaking Oil Or Another Substance?

It is important to determine which liquid is leaking from your car. There are various options that can be the mysterious fluid that has formed a puddle under your car, and each answer has a different problem and solution.

If the fluid is red, this usually means that it is transmission fluid that’s been stored in the car for a long time. In some cases, antifreeze can leak red, but it’s typically transmission fluid. If the leak is blue, then that looks like windshield wiper fluid that’s leaking. If the fluid is more of a pink color, then that’s usually a steering fluid leak.

If the liquid that is leaking out of your car is a dark brown color, then it’s usually motor oil or older brake fluid. Therefore, if you see a dark puddle below your car, you have experienced an oil leak and will need to determine why it’s leaking and how to repair it.


3. Coolant or Antifreeze Leaks

Coolant comes in many colors now; it used to be green, but now its color depends on the manufacturer of the car or the coolant. Honda provides a blue coolant, Mercedes uses clear, Toyota uses red, and I have seen orange, green and all the colors of the rainbow. Coolant has a sweet smell, like candy, and also a sweet taste. Don’t taste it—it’s half ethylene glycol, which is poison—but I have tasted it a few times in my career, not by choice.

Recirculation Button

Recirculation button (at left) next to the fresh air button (at right) (2011 Honda Pilot). The recirculation button should be on when using air conditioning, but should not be on otherwise; it will fog up your windows.


How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Leak?

Depending on the damage done by an oil leak and how long you have waited to start the repair process can influence how much you will have to pay to fix the oil leak. The average cost for an oil repair is approximately $150-$1,200. Obviously this is a huge range of prices, so you will have to go to a technician to gain an estimate and see what price you’re going to have to pay. The less damage that has been done to your vehicle by the leak, the less you’re going to have to pay.

If your main issues are a broken filler cap or a broken oil filter, the price would be only around $100 or so to fix the parts. For a damaged oil pan, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to remedy the problem. For a degraded or broken gasket, the price depends on which seal it is. If it is a blown head gasket, then this costs a lot more money and labor to fix, costing upwards of $2,000 to properly fix the gasket.

Unfortunately, the prices only go up from here. If you have a cracked engine block, you first have to decipher if the cracked engine block is even repairable. The average cost of repairing a cracked engine block is usually from $2,500-$3,500. After this, you also have to replace the engine. Replacing a regular motor costs between $4,000-$5,000, and upwards of $10,000 for a performance engine.

Brown or Black Fluid Leaking From Car: Oil

If you’re wondering “what is leaking under my car?” and notice that the fluid is brown, black, or amber in color, it’s probably engine oil. Get closer to the fluid so you can touch it. If it feels slick and is hard to get off your fingers, it’s likely oil. You should further investigate by taking note of where it’s coming from, since oil can leak from various spots that include the head gasket, oil filter, oil plug, and timing cover. Once you’ve determined it’s oil, check the oil level and refill as needed. Then you can either make plans to get your car to a mechanic fairly soon so you can find out why it’s leaking oil, or fix the issue yourself by adding No Leak Engine Oil Stop Leak. The biggest concern here is driving your car on little to no oil, which means you’ll have to check and refill the oil frequently until you make it to a mechanic.

Clear Fluid Leaking From Your Car

Many Clevelanders see a clear, odorless fluid that looks like water leaking from their cars. Not to worry; it’s usually not a problem! Why? Your air-conditioning system creates condensation, which can appear to be a leak, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. If you still want to get it checked out,

My Car Is Leaking Coolant

that runs through the radiator and around the cooling system to regulate engine temperatures. Without coolant, the engine would burn up. To avoid this unfortunate turn of events, change the coolant every 50,000 miles, do regular maintenance on it in between, and make sure your car isn’t leaking sweet-smelling orange fluid. (The leak might also be yellow, green or pink.)

The fact that your car is leaking antifreeze can be corroborated by checking the fluid level in the radiator once the engine has cooled. If the coolant level has dropped below full, add some coolant to the radiator.

The sources of a coolant leak include cracked and damaged hoses and hose connections. Adding BlueDevil Coolant Stop Leakwill help stop the loss of antifreeze and keep the vehicle in safe operating condition, sealing leaks permanently, guaranteed.

With the engine cooled all the way down, remove the radiator cap and turn up the heater all the way before adding Coolant Stop Leak. Secure the cap and allow the engine to run for 45 minutes before shutting it off and leaving it to cool for an hour. Coolant may have to be added if the level is low.

If the leak persists, it may be components other than seals that are responsible. The leak should be traced and repaired immediately before damage is done to the engine.

Yellow Fluid Leaking From Car: Coolant

One of the most common reasons you might think, “what is leaking under my car?” is coolant, which is a liquid that can be anything from yellow or green to pink. Since few other fluids come in these colors, you should be able to identify coolant right away. If you’re still unsure, note that coolant smells a bit sweet and feels slimy. This fluid might leak from the radiator, its overflow tank, the water pump, or hoses. If you think it’s coolant under your car, you can add Gold Eagle Cooling System Stop Leak to the system to take care of the leak. Be sure to add more coolant to the reservoir afterward.

What Does the Leaking Liquid Feel Like?

The next thing you’ll want to do is pick up some of the fluid with your fingers. You might want to wear gloves when you do this.

Oily Fluid Leaking

If you change your own oil, you might have some idea what consistency engine oil has. It’s, well, oily. Transmission fluid and power steering fluid are also oily, but thinner than engine oil. Differential fluid can be thicker than engine oil.

Slippery and Slimy Fluid Leaking

Brake fluid is even more slippery than engine oil and coolant is downright slimy.

Thin and Watery Fluid Leaking

Gasoline and windshield fluid are thin and watery (as is, of course, water).

My Car Is Leaking Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid cools and lubricates the transmission, the most expensive part of a car besides the engine. Losing this fluid can shut down the transmission and limit vehicle operation to a single gear. A transmission fluid leak should be repaired immediately.

A telltale sign of an automatic transmission fluid leak is red, crimson or dark orange droplets beneath the transmission – around the middle of the vehicle. Manual transmission fluid is more amber-colored.

Transmission fluid leaks are most commonly caused by a worn-out gasket in the fluid reservoir. BlueDevil Transmission Sealer permanently restores gaskets and seals fluid leaks in your transmission if you are unable to do a hard-part repair. With the engine off, pour BlueDevil Transmission Sealer into the transmission (one ounce per quart of fluid) and drive the vehicle until the leaks are sealed. This could take up to two days of drive time.

Other causes include a faulty transmission cooler line and a cracked transmission housing. Identifying the exact source of the leak can be difficult because it requires applying either black light or talcum powder to the transmission parts. The faulty parts will then need to be replaced.

How Much Does it Cost to Get These Leaks Fixed?

In almost all cases, having a mechanic repair your fluid leak will cost you an average of $100 or more. The cost to repair a leak depends on your location, your vehicle and the extent of the problem.

Still Not Sure What the Leak Is?

Still Not Sure What the Leak Is?

If you have an idea what the leak is, but you aren’t 100% sure, you could always compare it to the corresponding fluid from your vehicle. Other symptoms might also indicate what your leak is. Oil leaks might create a smoky smell in the cabin for example. If you’re having steering problems, it could be your steering fluid. An automatic transmission that doesn’t shift properly could indicate a transmission fluid leak.


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