8 Common Car Fluid Leaks to Look Out For

Ideally, car fluids should not leak. In practice, damage to hoses or loose connections causes fluid to leak from cars, resulting in sticky residue on engine components or odd-colored puddles under parked vehicles. Car fluid colors offer clues to the origin of leaks, as manufacturers use standardized colors for different fluids. Here’s a brief overview of the most common car fluid leaks and recommendations to resolve the issue. 

Transmission Fluid Leak

If you find red fluid leaking from a car and puddling on the floor, you likely have a transmission fluid leak. Depending on the manufacturer, transmission fluid may also be green or blue. Do not ignore small transmission fluid leaks, as small leaks worsen over time. A lack of transmission fluid can cause “slipping” or an increase in engine revolutions without normal acceleration. You may hear unusual noises from the transmission or detect signs of internal wear. 

Eventually, transmission fluid leaks can cause overheating and transmission failure, resulting in expensive repairs. If you find red, blue, or green liquid leaking from your car, have a Grease Monkey® service center check your transmission. 

Power Steering Fluid Leak

Red fluid leaking from your car may indicate something other than a transmission fluid leak. Power steering fluid also has a red color. Power steering fluid leaks often originate in damaged hoses or overfilled fluid reservoirs. Such leaks make steering difficult, increasing your risk of accidents. Grease Monkey technicians can identify if red fluid leaks stem from your transmission or power steering system and help fix the root cause of the leak. 

Coolant or Antifreeze Leak from Your Radiator

Coolant comes in various car fluid colors, including green, blue, orange, pink, and yellow. Puddles of this color suggest a leak in your radiator, coolant hoses, water pump, or gaskets and seals in the coolant system. Also known as antifreeze, coolant fluid is toxic and has a sweet taste, making coolant puddles dangerous to pets, wildlife, and even small children. If you detect an antifreeze leak, Grease Monkey offers coolant system repair services at participating locations. 

Windshield Wiper Fluid Leak

Windshield wiper fluid comes in seasonal varieties, each with its distinct color:

  • Blue wiper fluid is most common and intended for year-round use. 
  • Green wipe fluid is for summer driving. 
  • Yellow wiper fluid includes deicing compounds for winter driving. 

Windshield wiper leaks typically stem from a crack in the windshield washer reservoir, a transparent tank usually located near the windshield base. Grease Monkey can efficiently resolve wiper fluid leaks, replacing the reservoir if necessary. 

Engine Oil Leak

Engine oil leaks vary in color depending on the age of the oil. New engine oil tends to be amber-colored. As it ages, engine oil turns a darker brown. Engine oil leaks produce several possible symptoms, including: 

  • Light or dark brown puddles under the engine
  • Illuminated dashboard oil lights
  • Smoke from the engine
  • Overheating
  • Burning smells from the engine

If you detect a car fluid leak that suggests an engine oil leak, have your engine checked as soon as possible to prevent damage to your engine.    

Brake Fluid Leak

Brake fluid leaks range in color from light yellow to brown, and can be mistaken for an engine oil leak. Brake fluid has a slippery feel and often puddles by car wheels during leaks. In addition to pools of fluid, signs of a brake fluid leak include illuminated brake lights or check engine lights and a “soft ” feel to your brake pedal. Grease Monkey technicians visually inspect brake fluid levels during full-service oil changes, and we offer brake services at participating locations. 

Gear Lubricant Leak

Gear lubricant fluid is a light-brown fluid and often has a foul smell caused by sulfur-phosphorus compounds. Gear lubricant can leak from gearbox gaskets and seals, often due to excessive pressure within the gearbox. 

Water or Condensation from the A/C 

Some water droplets under a vehicle are to be expected after using air conditioning, as A/C units drain water away from your car. If you regularly see large puddles of water or detect condensation in the vehicle cabin, you may have an A/C leak.

Fluid leaking from a car should always be taken seriously, whether you are dealing with a motor oil, coolant, or transmission fluid leak. Contact your local Grease Monkey service center for help coping with car fluid leaks. We offer both fluid exchange services and engine diagnostics to help resolve leaks. Remember, no matter what car fluid colors you see, a leak is a sign of something wrong with your vehicle. 

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