How to Identify Car Leaks & Drips


Fluid leaks emanating from your vehicle will destroy pavement and give you a clear indicator that your vehicle needs repairs. Modern vehicles utilize many different types of fluid to keep a car or truck operating properly. Certain fluid leaks not only corrode paved surfaces, they damage the environment and can potentially harm wildlife and humans. Finding out what type of fluid that is leaking from your vehicle will allow you to diagnose where the leak is coming from.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Check the pavement directly underneath the vehicle's engine oil pan. Light brown or dark brown stains will indicate an engine oil leak. Over time, engine gaskets will deteriorate and allow engine oil to seep out of the engine.

  • Check the pavement toward the middle of the car or truck for transmission fluid leaks. Transmission fluid appears reddish-brown and has a thinner consistency than typical engine oil. If a reddish fluid appears to come from the very front of the vehicle, this may indicate a leaking power steering system.

  • Look underneath the entire vehicle for clear to slightly brown fluid. If the fluid has an extremely slick consistency, this may indicate a leaking brake system and requires servicing as soon as possible.

  • Check rear-wheel drive vehicles for a leaking rear differential. A thick black fluid dripping from the rear axle of the vehicle will indicate a faulty differential seal.

  • Check underneath the front of the vehicle for green, yellow or pink fluid standing on the pavement surface. This slimy fluid indicates a problem with the coolant system. Overheating will cause the engine coolant to boil over and spill into the environment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not be alarmed if small amounts of water is discovered underneath the vehicle after running the A/C system. The water leaking is natural condensation from the air-conditioning system.

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  • Photo Credit muscle car image by patrimonio designs from
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