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Leaking Fluid - What Does It Mean and What Do I Do?

Leaking fluid underneath your vehicle can be a cause for concern - and leave you with more questions than answers. Leaks can actually stem from a number of different components, with some leaks being much more damaging than others. 

If you see a leak underneath your vehicle, the first thing to do is determine the color of the leak. The color can usually give you an idea of the source of the leak. 

Red - A red fluid leak is usually from the transmission or power steering system. This can be caused by a broken transmission seal or a hole in the power steering lines. 

Orange - An orange leak can be caused by a couple of different components. The usual culprit is leaking antifreeze. It can also be condensation from a rusty radiator, or could be transmission fluid if the fluid is old and dirty. 

Yellow - Yellow fluid indicates a radiator coolant leak. This leak can be caused by a loose hose clamp or a damaged o-ring. 

Green - Green fluid can also point to an antifreeze leak. Antifreeze can leak when certain hoses, fittings, or clamps are worn out or broken. 

Blue - Blue indicates windshield wiper fluid. Over time, the fluid reservoir and tubing that carries windshield wiper fluid can wear out and corrode, leading to leaks. 

Clear - If the liquid has no color, then this is just condensation from your air conditioning system and is nothing to worry about. 

Dark Brown - Dark brown fluid can be old motor oil, which can appear dark brown and thick. Brake fluid can also appear to be dark brown. Both are leaks that need to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Light Brown - Light brown fluid is usually caused by new motor oil or gear lubricant. A bad smell can point to gear lubricant. 

Pink - Pink fluid is usually from power steering fluid or transmission fluid. These leaks are caused by a worn seal or a hole in the return line.

Note down the color of the leak. Any leak that has a color should be inspected by your local trusted mechanic as soon as possible. Driving with leaking fluid can cause major damage to internal components that may be extremely expensive to repair. Fixing the leak as soon as possible will help you avoid these costly repairs and keep you safe on the road. 

If you notice a leak underneath your vehicle, give our experts a call here at Family Auto Service at one of our convenient locations in La Jolla, Alpine, La Mesa, or Santee, CA. We will be happy to help! 


leaking fluid
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