What's Leaking From My Car?

July 14th, 2016
You go out to your car, start it up, pull out of your parking space and see a puddle of...something...where you were parked a moment ago. This is never a good feeling. What could it be? 
 
Fortunately, some automotive fluids are dyed different colors to make this a little easier to narrow down. 
 
Does it appear to be water? Were you recently running your A/C? Chances are that's just condensation from the A/C system, which drips out through a rubber tube and is perfectly normal. No worries there. 
 
For years, antifreeze was dyed a bright green to make it easy to identify. Today, other antifreeze formulations can be colored pink or orange, but it's still not hard to figure out -- antifreeze has a sweet-ish, unmistakable smell due to its ethylene glycol content.
 
Gasoline is a pale yellowish or orange color, and also has a distinct smell that you'll recognize right away. Gasoline evaporates quickly and may feel cool on your finger if you dip it into the puddle. It's also, of course, very flammable!
 
Motor oil is honey-colored or perhaps darker, depending on how long it's been in the engine, and is slippery when rubbed between thumb and forefinger. Transmission fluid has the same slippery feeling as motor oil, but is dyed a magenta color and may have a somewhat sweet smell. 
 
Power steering fluid is clear and often may feel more slippery than motor oil. Brake fluid is also very slippery and may have a more hazy yellowish color. 
 
What To Do About A Leak
 
If you regularly see a puddle under your vehicle that's bigger than an inch or two across, slide a sheet of cardboard under the engine and between the front wheels when you park it in the evening.
 
Leaks can be difficult to pin down on a vehicle that's already grimy and oily underneath (especially since the path of the leak will be blown backwards while driving). One way to isolate the source of a leak is to safely lift and secure the vehicle, get underneath it and clean the bottom of the engine and transmission with brake cleaner or a similar solvent. Spray the entire area with foot powder, which should then clearly show where the leak is originating. 
 
Leaks can be troubling, but older vehicles with high mileage tend to have gaskets and seals which dry up and shrink, causing at least minute leaks. Got any concerns? Make an appointment with us and let us track down that leak and fix it!
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
Adirondack Tire & Service
240 Washington St.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518-584-1441
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
1025 Route 9
Queensbury, NY 12804
518-793-8871
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
1478 Route 9
Clifton Park, NY 12065
518-371-5960
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
371 2nd Avenue
North Troy, NY 12182
518-235-1041
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
1020 State Street
Schenectady, NY 12307
518-347-1609
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
2015 Central Avenue
Colonie, NY 12205
518-869-5800
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
198 Morris Road
Colonie, NY 12303
518-370-4175
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
1214 Curry Road
Rotterdam, NY 12306
518-355-0088
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
4833 New York 30
Amsterdam, NY 12010
518-842-5600
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
1610 Western Avenue
Guilderland, NY 12203
518-452-6560
View Location
Adirondack Tire & Service
55 Strongs Avenue
Rutland, VT 05701
802-775-1944
View Location

Make A Tire or Auto Repair Appointment Today

Adirondack Tire & Service proudly serves the local NY and VT area. We understand that getting your car fixed or buying new tires can be overwhelming. Let us help you choose from our large selection of tires. We feature tires that fit your needs and budget from top quality brands, such as Michelin®, BFGoodrich®, Uniroyal®, and more. We pride ourselves on being your number one choice for any auto repair. Let us earn your business. Schedule an appointment today.