Help! I Don’t Know What’s Leaking Out of My Car!

Your day is getting off to a bad start. You’re already running late and you see fluid spots on your garage floor when you back out of the garage. What on earth could be leaking out of your automobile? John’s Auto Care lists common automotive fluids and their colors below.


If the fluid is blue, pop your hood and check the color of your engine coolant in the radiator overflow compartment. If that color is blue, it could be engine coolant. Otherwise, blue fluid is most likely the washing solution that is used when you wash your windshield using the wiper blades.


If the fluid is light brown, brown, or dark brown, we recommend that you don’t drive your automobile. The most common automotive fluids that are brown are brake fluid, gear oil, engine oil, and dirty transmission fluid. It could be dangerous to drive your car, truck, utility vehicle, or van.


Clear fluid is most likely water. It could be condensation from your air conditioner or steam dripping out of the tailpipe. The only other clear fluid is gasoline, so smell the fluid to make sure it doesn’t smell like gas. If it does, it’s not safe to drive your automobile. It’s better to call for a tow truck.


Green fluid is antifreeze/engine coolant. This fluid can also look blue-green or green-blue. Driving your automobile when it is leaking antifreeze/coolant opens you up to the possibility of the engine overheating, which can damage the engine and create the need for expensive repairs.


There isn’t an orange fluid in your automobile. Most likely, the orange hue is being caused by rust coming from the radiator. Chances are your radiator’s bottom has rusted through, and what you’re looking at is engine coolant of another color mixed with rust that makes it look orange.


The most common fluids that are red in your automobile are your power steering fluid and your transmission oil. Both of these fluids can turn dark red to brown as they age. It is possible that the red fluid could also be brake fluid or antifreeze/coolant.


Finally, some brake fluid looks yellow when it is brand new. In most cases, however, the yellow fluid leaking from your automobile is antifreeze/coolant. Again, it isn’t safe to drive your automobile if it is leaking brake fluid or coolant. It’s not worth taking chances.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that John’s Auto Care in Roseville, CA, can find where the fluid is leaking from your automobile and fix the problem. Call us today for an appointment.

Photo by andreygonchar from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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