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How to Diagnose Your Vehicle Fluid Leak

All vehicles on the road rely on multiple fluids that are essential to keeping your vehicle operational. Some of these fluids include coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and even windshield washer fluid. As your car ages, these liquids are prone to leak as a result of worn hoses and fluid lines. 


If you notice a puddle near your parked car, it is imperative that you stay calm. Be sure to make a mental note of the leaking fluid’s appearance, smell, color, etc. It will help you and our team understand the nature of the problem quicker. 


Here are some of the major characteristics of each vehicle fluid:


Coolant, sometimes referred to as antifreeze, is always a bright color, usually green, pink, purple, or orange. Coolant leaks are more common in older vehicles. However, poor cooling system maintenance can lead to the development of leaks early on. You should be careful with this type of leak as it can quickly lead to overheating. Please take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.

Engine Oil 

A darker puddle under your parked car usually indicates a motor oil leak.Most oil leaks are caused by damaged oil pans or broken gaskets. Please have your oil leak repaired and fluid topped off to avoid engine damage.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is always a pinky-red color, so it's the easiest to diagnose based on color. Transmission fluid is similar to engine oil for your transmission system. To prevent excess friction and overheating, please have your transmission leak patched up ASAP.

Power Steering

Power steering fluid can be red, pink, or amber and more translucent than transmission fluid. However, the fluid can darken over time. While most cars are strictly run on electrical power steering systems now, you shouldn’t rule it out if you have an older vehicle. You may notice steering difficulty with the leak, so please get repairs immediately.

Brake Fluid/DOT Fluid

Brake fluid is light yellow, and it sometimes has an unpleasant, fishy smell. If you catch this foul odor around your vehicle, please proceed with caution. You should limit driving until you have your brake system inspected by a mechanic.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield wiper fluid is a clear pink or blue color. These types of leaks aren’t as common as the others, but they can occur when the fluid lines are damaged or worn. 


If you notice a fluid leak around your car, SUV, or truck, please bring your vehicle to Elite Auto Experts for repairs.

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