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How To Know What is Leaking From Under Your Car: A Color Chart

By Edited Jan 18, 2016 1 1

Before you take your car into the mechanic, it helps to be informed. If you know where the problem is coming from, it will help you to determine if your auto mechanic is honest or if it's time to find for a new mechanic for your car and wallet. You may not know how to fix your car, but at least you will know where the problem is stemming from. It is very easy for anyone to determine what part of their car has a problem. Sometimes automobile mechanics will sense that you have no idea what you are talking about and try to take advantage of you. If you walk into the auto mechanic shop armed with just a tiny bit of knowledge about your car and possible problems, they will be less likely to try to con you into something you don't need and can't afford for your car. This is a very handy little color chart to determine what is leaking from under your car.

Things You Will Need

This color chart

 White paper towel

The Colors in the Puddle and What They Are

Brown or Black  – Typically signifies and oil leak especially when the fluid’s consistency is thick.

Clear with a Hint of Amber -- If you have a gas leak the puddle under your car will be a clear amber color. If a gasoline leak is suspected, smell the liquid for the telltale gasoline odor.

Light Clear Brown or Thin Black – Usually this is a brake fluid leak

Thick Reddish or Clear --  If you have a power steering fluid leak the puddle under your car will be a red color. Be aware some mechanics will use transmission fluid interchangeably with power steering fluid.

Reddish-Pink -- If you have a transmission fluid leak the puddle under your car will be a pink red color. The transmission fluid may have a burnt smell signifying a real problem with your transmission.

Green, Orange, Blue or Red with a sweet smell -- If you have an antifreeze leak the puddle under your car will be a bright blue green in most cases. Antifreeze always has a very bright almost neon color to it. It does come in other colors, but the most common is a bright blue green.

Determining the Color

To determine the color of what is leaking from under your car especially if your car is parked on blacktop, use a white paper towel to soak up some of the puddle.

Don't be alarmed if you have a clear water puddle under your car if you have been using your air conditioner, it is most likely condensation dripping from the air conditioner and is perfectly normal.

Now What?

Once you determine the color of what it leaking from under your car, it can be very helpful to do a Google search or a Bing search on the color of the leak and any other symptoms your car may have. The search result will at least narrow down the possibilities even further. Don't forget to put the make, model and year of your car into the search.

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Oct 22, 2009 12:52pm
Great tips to save money by knowing the colors. TX thumbs up post!
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