What's That Puddle Under My Car?
Nobody likes seeing a puddle where their vehicle was parked. It’s not always a cause for alarm, though. Here’s a quick rundown of things that might leak out of your vehicle and make that puddle…
Water: if you’ve been running your air conditioner, it’s perfectly normal for water to leak out of the A/C system’s weep tube. That’s just condensation from the A/C process and it’s not anything to worry about. If you were to dip your finger in it and give it a sniff, you’d find that it was almost as clean as tap water.
Motor oil: oil is going to leave a darker spot…anywhere from honey-colored to the color of black coffee, depending on the condition of the oil. In an older engine, the seals and gaskets are going to dry out and shrink, making leaks almost unavoidable. A leak that’s the size of a silver dollar is no big deal, but a leak the size of a saucer or dinner plate is more of a problem. Seal conditioners are available as a one-shot solution; they will swell shrunken gaskets to head off a leak. Failing that, a repair may be necessary.
Coolant: usually bright green and with a distinctly sweet smell, coolant leaks will be from the front of the engine behind the bumper. Bear in mind that coolant is very tempting to pets and very toxic!
Transmission fluid: dyed magenta to differentiate it from motor oil. A transmission fluid leak will be farther back toward the rear of the engine.
Brake fluid: usually clear or slightly yellowish, with a more slippery feel than oil. Brake fluid is also a very effective paint remover! Obviously, if you’re leaking brake fluid, it’s a cause for immediate concern and should be fixed right away.
Tip: if you’re not sure where the leak is originating, what it is or how much is actually leaking, slide a sheet of cardboard under the vehicle overnight. You should then be able to pin down the origin of the leak a lot more easily.
Don’t just put up with that nasty leak – make an appointment with us at D.W. Campbell Tire & Auto Service!