Diagnosing leaks, is the first step, in determining, where and what needs to be fixed.

It may surprise you, but, diagnosing leaks, isn’t really that difficult.

In fact, the color of the leak or the smell it gives off; will usually point you in the right direction.

So, properly diagnosing leaks, can help you discover small problems, before they turn into a major repair bill.

In many modern vehicles, a warning light will appear, if certain fluids are running low. In other words, in some cases, can indicate a leak.

Oil, coolant, and washer fluid, warning lights are common. As a result, if any of these lights come on, you should check the levels and refill them. While running out of washer fluid is normal, if the oil or coolant warning light illuminates; you should have the system inspected for problems.

Common Places To Check

Gasoline Leaks

So, we know what gasoline smells like. But, it will look like water on the ground and may appear to be colorful in direct sunlight. This type of leak indicates, an issue with the fuel pump; fuel injector or a leak in the fuel line or gas tank.

Transmission Fluid

So, when diagnosing leaks, transmission problems are not great, and a puddle of dark red or brown; will indicate an issue with the transmission pan gasket, fluid lines or seals.

Power-steering Fluid

So, leaking power-steering fluid, has the smell of burnt marshmallows and is oily to the touch. The color is usually pink or red, sometimes brown if the fluid is old.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid, is usually clear or yellow, sometimes brown if it is old. It should feel oily to the touch, but, the big giveaway is its unmistakable fishy smell.

Transparent Fluid

The most common car leak color, is transparent or clear. Although, if you park on a dark surface such as a street, you may think it is something else. Fortunately, that fluid, isn’t a leak at all. Instead, what you have is water condensation from the air conditioner. Reach down and touch the fluid and you’ll see, it is nothing but water.

Engine Oil Leaks

This leak should look black or brown and will feel thick and slippery between your fingers. A slight acidic smell might also be a good indicator. Any of this under your vehicle tells us, there’s an issue with a leaking oil filter seal; a loose oil pan plug or a worn/leaking gasket and sometime a head gasket.

Coolant or Antifreeze Leaks

Firstly, when diagnosing leaks, look for a puddle of neon green, pink blue or orange. Consequently, it is slightly slippery, between your fingers and smells slightly sweet. This leak indicates an issue with your radiator; water pump, coolant reservoir, heater or radiator hoses.


Choose Your Diagnosing Leaks Help Topic Below

Fluid Leak – What Is That Fluid Leaking Under My Car

Coolant Leaks – The First Symptom Of Trouble Is Engine Overheating

Fuel Leaks – If You Smell Gas This Could Be A Sign Of Fuel Leaks

Head Gasket Leaks – Are Any Motorist’s Worst Nightmare

Manifold Gasket Leaks – Intake And Exhaust Are Both Bad

Oil Leaks – Are Something You Cannot Afford To Ignore

Vacuum Leaking – Allow Unmetered Air To Enter The Engine


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