Your vehicle is leaking some kind of fluid, but you don’t exactly know what it is. Obviously, not everyone is a car expert, but there are few tricks to determine what’s leaking based on fluid color. If you want to know the different types of car fluids and their color- then this article is for you.
If the Fluid is Colored…
1. Amber, Brown or Black
Engine oil is slick when touched and is hard to wipe off of your fingers. It can be amber when still fresh, light-to-dark brown or if it hasn’t been changed for a while, it can be black. Engine oil is the most common of all leaks, but you should pay special attention to it if it’s happening in large puddles because it can lead to larger problems.
2. Clear, Yellow, Light Brown, or Brown
Brake fluid is very slick and should be treated as an emergency if you see it because this liquid is vital to your vehicle’s braking system. When the fluid is new, it’s more of a clear color, but will transition to yellow, light brown, or brown because it darkens as it ages. If you happen to see brake fluid on the ground, get your vehicle checked out immediately.
3. Red or Reddish
Power steering fluid is normally a red or reddish color and on some vehicles, it’s the same exact fluid that is used for the transmission. You can look for leaks by checking the fluid level in the power steering reservoir and examining the hoses coming from it.
4. Bright to Dark Red (Sometimes Orange)
Transmission fluid is a slick substance with the consistency of engine oil that is usually tinted as a hue of red and ranges in color from bright to dark. Like power-steering fluid, in some vehicles, transmission fluid can be used interchangeably. Transmission fluid can also come in other colors like orange, that will be lighter or darker based upon how long it’s been since it was last changed.
5. Green, Yellow, or Pink
Engine coolant can be green, yellow, or pink and feels like slimy water. Some coolants can be other colors, however, so the best bet is to be sure to check your coolant overflow tank- that way you can see what’s in your radiator. Another attribute to engine coolant is that it has a sweet smell.
Windshield washer fluid is generally always a blue color and has the consistency of water. The tubes from the reservoir can degrade and cause leaking over time and usage. This can simply be checked during your regular oil changes and check-ups.
Water isn’t generally a tricky fluid to pinpoint, but its meaning depends on the location that it’s been discovered by. For example, if it’s located under the passenger side seat towards the front- don’t worry. This is condensation buildup from the air-conditioner and is a usual result when running the AC. Water is clear, has no smell, and feels like a normal liquid substance with no slime.