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Leaking Car Fluid?

November 29, 2018

Fluid leaking from a car could mean a variety of different things. Take notice of the color that is leaking from the car.  Once you get an idea of what color it is, we may be able to help you find out what area the vehicle is leaking from.

Red Fluid Leaking from Car

Red fluid leaking from a car typically indicates one of two things:

  1. The leak is coming from your transmission(transmission fluid).
  2. The leak is coming from your power steering system(power steering fluid).

For the car’s transmission, this could be due to a faulty transmission seal (gasket). However, red fluid leaking from a car is most commonly traced back to the power steering system’s hoses.  Power steering hoses can have all sorts of issues as they are constantly under high pressure, with pressure clamps usually attaching to either end.

This constant pressure could potentially cause ruptures in the hoses (hole in power steering line) and as the power steering fluid is returning to the reservoir tank, it leaks out.

Pink Fluid Leaking from Car
Just as red fluid leaking from a car, pink fluid leaking from a car also indicates that the leak is most likely coming from the power steering system.  As stated above, the constant pressure that power steering system hoses endure during normal usage could potentially rupture the hose; thus, pink fluid may leak out as a result.

Orange Fluid Leaking from Car

Orange fluid leaking from a car can usually be traced back to issues with a car’s transmission. As transmission fluid ages, it can lose its nice pink/red color and begins to appear orange. If rust develops in a vehicle’s radiator, it can cause leaking “condensation” or antifreeze to turn into an orange color. 

Yellow Fluid Leaking from Car

Yellow fluid leaking from a car is will almost always be radiator coolant. Radiator leaks can typically occur due to the several reasons:

  1. The hose pressure clamp is coming loose or breaking off.
  2. The pressure hose ruptures (due to a hole in the hose),
  3. There is damage to the O-Ring.

To prevent any excess problems, always be sure to use the proper specified fluid as mentioned in the owner’s manual.  If you fail to do so, the risk of more future leaks can escalate.

Green Fluid Leaking from Car

Green fluid leaking from a car is most likely an antifreeze leak (radiator coolant). Antifreeze generally leaks from a vehicle’s radiator, water pump, hoses, hose clamps, or fittings that have worn out over time. If the right antifreeze isn’t used as mentioned before, leaks are prone to happen.

Blue Fluid Leaking from Car

Blue fluid leaking from a car is windshield washer fluid. As time goes on, and ware and tare instill. The tubing (hoses) the transports the fluid to the system, can deteriorate. As these hoses age, they are more prone to leak the blue fluid you are seeing on the ground.

Clear Fluid Leaking from Car

Clear fluid leaking from a car is just water! Typically, clear fluid is the condensation build up on the vehicle’s air conditioning system.  This type of leaking is normal and should not be of any concern.

Dark Brown Fluid Leaking from Car

Brown fluid leaking from a car could indicate two areas of the vehicle may be damaged:

  1. The car’s engine
  2. The car’s brakes

As engine oil (motor oil) ages, it thickens and becomes dark brown in color.  Eventually, it can turn into a dark black color. Refer to our guide on engine oil for more information.

Brake fluid naturally has a darker brown appearance and is more likely to be to be the culprit of a dark brown fluid leak.  If the leak happens to be the brakes, we urge you to the have the vehicle immediately assessed, as brake failure is a very serious issue that can be dangerous!


Light Brown Fluid Leaking from Car

Light brown fluid leaking from a vehicle is typically associated with newer engine oil (motor oil) or gear lubricant. If the vehicle recently received an oil change this could be the cause of your leak.

However, if the fluid has an odor, the leak is most likely your car’s gear lubricant.  Gear lubricant tends to have a bad smell which allows one to distinguish from motor oil almost immediately.  Motor oil only really produces an odor when it is burning. So, if the fluid has an odor it will most likely be the gear lubricant.

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Disclosure: DriveSmart offers Protection Plans or Vehicle Service Contracts (VSC) may be referred as “extended car warranty”, or “auto warranty”. A VSC is not a warranty but provides repair coverage for your vehicle after your manufacturer’s vehicle warranty has expired. The VSC contract is with you and the vehicles owner and the VSC provider or administrator that will state what is covered in each plan.