It’s happened to all of us. While backing out of your driveway, you peer over the hood of your car to see a mysterious puddle that your vehicle has left behind. “What’s leaking from my car?”, “Will I make it to work on time?” Before these questions start flooding your head, let Master Tech ease your mind. Most of your questions can be answered by identifying what kind of fluid your looking at. Read on, and we’ll let you know exactly what your car needs.
Brake fluid is typically clear or yellowish in color. Brakes run off of a hydraulic system, using fluid in the brake lines to create the pressure that your brakes need to operate. If you think that you have located brake fluid under your vehicle, it is important not to drive the vehicle to a mechanic, but call a tow truck instead. A leak could cause a loss in hydraulic pressure, making it impossible to bring your vehicle to a stop.
The transmission of your vehicle allows it to shift from one gear to another. Finding transmission fluid may not be a sign of a serious issue, but running your transmission while it is low on fluid could cause major damage. Try to determine how fast the fluid is leaking. If your leak is slow, you should be able to add some fluid and drive to a shop yourself. If the leak is more substantial, making a long trip could be detrimental and cause permanent damage. Transmission fluid is red and has an oily feel when it is touched.
Gas won’t necessarily have a color to it, but you will be able to notice it based on smell. Leaks near the rear of the car will typically indicate a leaky gas tank, rather than a leak in a line. Not all gas leaks mean that your car is in imminent danger, but with the price of gas these days, it’s best to get them fixed as soon as possible.
Based on the age of the oil, its color will range from yellowish brown to dark brown or black. An oil leak can be coming from a variety on the vehicle. It could be a serious issue such as high oil pressure, or something that can be fixed at home like a loose oil filter. Oil is the main component that keeps your engine running smoothly, so if you do see it under your vehicle, top off the oil and visit a mechanic to find the issue.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid looks very similar to oil and can have a similar feel when touched. This fluid allows your cars steering wheel to turn easily without much effort. While driving without power steering fluid will not damage your car, it will greatly inhibit your ability to control your vehicle. With this in mind, it is not recommended that you try to drive your vehicle to a mechanic when there is a power steering issue.
A Coolant leak from your car will be green in appearance. Depending on the amount of coolant that you see, it may not be recommended to drive your vehicle to a mechanic, but get a tow instead. Coolant is the main component in keeping your engine cool while operating. Driving while it is low could lead to an overheated engine and costly repairs. If you do decide to top off your coolant level, turn off the vehicle and wait till the engine has completely cooled before removing the radiator cap.
If you can’t see out of your windshield, you simply can’t drive safely. Washer fluid is very easy and inexpensive to refill, so don’t leave home without it! Washer fluid is blue and watery to the touch. Washer fluid reservoirs typically have a lid with a picture of a windshield on it; simply remove the cap and fill to the “max” line and you’re ready to go.
If you are unsure about the fluid that you are seeing under your car, give us a call and make an appointment. We would be happy to assist you with all of your vehicles’ needs.