Have you ever walked out to your car in the morning and found a strange pool of liquid underneath? That mystery liquid can be quite disconcerting, and it may even make you fearful of getting in your car and driving away. So, it’s of extreme importance that you are able to identify that strange pool of liquid for what it is. Luckily, most fluid leaks from underneath your car will be one of only a few. I put together this list of the most common fluid leaks to help you make an educated guess and, thus, an educated decision as to what you should do next to get it taken care of.
Engine Coolant or Antifreeze
The most obvious sign that you have an engine coolant leak is the color of the liquid itself. Most antifreeze is green, bright green actually, though it is also sold in pinks and oranges. The coolant also has a thick, almost sticky feel to it, if you were to rub it between your fingers. This one is easy to identify and to fix. Remember that fixing a leak in your coolant system is much cheaper than replacing an entire engine that seizes up because it overheats on the road.
The easiest way to identify if that mysterious liquid is gasoline is to take a big whiff. Yes, gasoline has a very distinctive odor and can be identified very easily by its smell. Though it sounds serious, a gas leak is a fairly easy and inexpensive fix. But be careful, any gas leak is potentially life threatening if not taken care of immediately.
Oil can be tricky to identify as it changes color over time. New oil is often red in color or perhaps a rust color, whereas old oil becomes brown or even black. It is natural for an engine to leak some oil, so don’t fret right away, but if your car is leaking a considerable amount of oil, it is something to worry about. A large leak is probably the result of a broken gasket or poorly fitted oil filter.
Brake fluid is yellowish in color and has an oily feel to it. Often mistaken for an oil leak, a brake fluid leak is often immediately recognized by a driver when he or she tries to come to a full stop. Often the brake pedal will go further to the floor than normal before the brakes catch and stop the vehicle.