Wear and tear happens to all vehicles eventually, and it’s not uncommon as this happens to encounter problems every now and then. A frequent issue found in older cars comes in the form of fluid leaks, usually noticed as puddles that have formed under the vehicle when it’s been parked for a period of time. While it is concerning to find fluid under your parked car, it may not necessarily be a crisis.
Still, there are certain steps you should take to be able to identify what type of fluid is leaking. Once you’ve figured it out, you can decide upon a course of action, whether it be simple maintenance or a matter of repair. To help you with fluid leak identification, our knowledgeable staff here at Westbury Toyota has put together a quick and comprehensive guide.
You don’t have to be a mechanic to find the source of the fluid leak. All you need is a flashlight that you can use to get a good look at the underside of your car. If it’s a slow leak, says the writers of Axle Addict, grab a piece of plywood or cardboard and slide it under your car in order to pinpoint where the leak is. Once you’ve got the board in place, check the spots where the fluid is falling. Without removing the board, look directly above to liquid spots to determine the precise location of where the leak is. In addition, this method will let you see the color of the fluid, which is also something you need to know to determine just what the problem is.
One of the easiest ways to tell what kind of leak you’ve got going on is to check the color of the fluid, explains the experts over at Pep Boys. (Note: this might be tough to do if you notice the fluid at night or if it’s already dried). If you use the aforementioned method of catching the leaking fluid on a piece of cardboard or plywood, however, it should be easy to see the color. The different fluid colors are described below:
If you’ve got the knowledge, the time, and the know-how, you can probably fix the leak yourself if it’s not something too complicated. If you’re not all that mechanically inclined or you suspect it’s a bigger issue than you can handle yourself, it’s probably a good idea to bring your vehicle in to one of our expert technicians in order to get it looked at. It’s not recommended that you drive your car when it’s leaking fluid, as in some circumstances driving it can exacerbate the problem, leading to a more costly fix down the road.
As you can see from our guide, leaking fluid can be the symptom of a number of different problems, but you can narrow down the origin of the leak by checking both the liquid color and where it’s coming from. Once you’ve got that narrowed down, you can fix it yourself or take your car in to a professional. It’s important to address a fluid leak as soon as you notice it in case it’s an indicator of a more severe problem.