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Fluid Leaks



Things You'll Need: 

cardboard boxes 
clean rags 


Related Topics: 

Check and Add Fluid to Your Automatic Transmission

Troubleshoot Leaking Oil  

Diagnose a Leak Inside Your Car  

Change Your Motor Oil 

Check Brake Fluid  

Check Power Steering Fluid  

Check Windshield Wiper Fluid 

Check Your Oil 

How to Know if Your Car Has a Fluid Leak 

Except for gasoline and windshield wiper solution, the fluids in your car shouldn't get used up or go anywhere.
 If you notice that any are low, there's a good possibility of a leak. 


1. Understand that the fluids you may have in your car are gasoline, oil, coolant, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, gear oil, power steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid. All cars will have at least gas, oil and brake fluid.
Air-cooled engines (like old VW bugs) do not have coolant.
 Your model of car may or may not have power steering or automatic transmission fluid.

 2. Open the hood and visually inspect the engine and engine compartment.
 Many leaks are easily detectable with just a simple look.

3. Note that you don't need to know the name of the fluid that's leaking or the name of the part it's leaking from to be able to find a leak.

4. Inspect underneath the engine and the car with a flashlight. Look for wet areas or drips clinging to the underside of the vehicle's carriage.

 5.  If you don't see any signs of a leak, lay down a large piece of corrugated cardboard and park your car so that the engine sits over it. With a pen, mark the position of the wheels.

6. Remove the cardboard the following morning. Note the position of any drip marks relative to the wheel markings. This information will help your mechanic diagnose the problem. 


Green, sticky fluid is coolant.
 Bluish, watery liquid is windshield wiper fluid.
 Honey- or dark-colored, greasy fluid is engine oil.
 Honey- or dark-colored thick fluid with a chestnut smell is gear oil.
 Clear or yellowish liquid with a very slippery consistency is brake fluid. 
Slippery reddish fluid is automatic transmission or power steering fluid. 

 Gasoline will evaporate when it leaks out and may not leave any residue, 
but it's easy to smell. 


Ignoring a leak, even if there are no noticeable symptoms, can leave you stranded and/or cost you more in repairs later.


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The objective of this Web Page is to familiarize you with basic auto maintenance
-  in some common emergencies -
not to make you an expert in auto mechanics

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 I am in no way, shape, or form telling you to do this yourself. Your results may vary. If something goes wrong, it is not my fault!
These are just guidelines.