Diagnosing Vehicle Leak Meanings

Particularly for those who aren’t too car-savvy, there’s nothing worse than finding a leak coming from your vehicle. There are several different liquids in a given car, and those of us who aren’t automotive professionals might be intimidated in these situations.

Luckily, the pros at Jerry Lambert Automotive are here to help. Our services include everything from battery replacement to brake repair, oil changes and more, and we can also identify and address any leak issues taking place. But we also want to help relieve any stress or panic you might have upon first noticing the leak to begin with – with that in mind, here are some basics on the common sources of leaks, plus what the appearance of the leak can tell you about what your next steps should be. 

Leak Source

The first step when you discover a leak from your vehicle is determining where it’s coming from. For starters, you have to ensure it’s actually your vehicle itself – there can be times where previous vehicles in a given parking space leave oil or other residue that looks like it came from your car. 

If you’re not 100 percent sure here, simply get down and take a look yourself. Use either a flashlight or your cell phone light to examine the underside of the car, checking for any noticeable dripping or leaks. You may have to remain down there for a few minutes if the leak is slower-moving. 

Leak Appearance

Once you’ve confirmed that the leak in question is indeed coming from your car, it’s time to get a bit more specific and figure out how concerning it might be. To do this, get a piece of white paper or cardboard, and stick it under the leaking area so it picks up some of the fluid dripping out. From here, move the paper to somewhere with good light, and assess the color of the liquid. Here are what a few common leak colors might mean:

  • Orange: Orange fluids leaking from the vehicle often mean rust is taking place, commonly on the radiator – this kind of event can turn antifreeze or condensation orange, which may leak off the car. In other cases, orange fluid may signal that your vehicle’s transmission fluid is leaking. Never ignore orange fluid, instead always contact our shop immediately. 

  • Red/pink: Reddish or pink hues generally mean you’re dealing with either transmission fluid or power steering fluid. This usually means our pros just need to seal one or two basic holes for you to fix the issue.

  • Yellow: Yellow leaks are usually coolant, often the result of you using the wrong type of coolant based on your radiator’s needs.

  • Brown: Dark brown fluid might mean brake fluid, but it also could mean older motor oil. Light brown, on the other hand, is almost always motor oil. Any brown hues should cause you to call our mechanics. 

  • Clear: This is the least concerning of any color, and you generally don’t have to bring the car to the shop if you see it. In most cases, clear liquid just signals condensation coming from your AC system, which is totally normal. 

For more on how to deal with fluid leaks in your vehicle, or to learn about any of our auto repair services, speak to the pros at Jerry Lambert Automotive today. 

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