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Identifying Car Leaks and Common Fluids

What’s that fluid leaking out of your car? Is it dangerous? Is your car in total disrepair? Well, no. But it is in danger. See this list on common car fluid leaks.

Knowing how to identify common automotive fluids is a crucial aspect of being a responsible car owner. After all, cars aren’t cheap, and having one repaired can cost you between a day’s wage to a month’s worth. 

Save yourself a few thousand pesos when you follow proper maintenance schedules, get insured with comprehensive car insurance in the Philippines, and be knowledgeable on the following leaks to look out for:

Water 

Clear water is the most common fluid leak from cars. It is usually caused by moisture accumulated by a car’s air conditioner. Don’t be alarmed as it’s pretty normal, unless a considerable amount flowed out of the vehicle in a single hour. In this case, it could be the result of either a blockage or a hole in the A/C’s drain tube. Although it is easy enough to fix, resolve the problem as soon as possible to avoid further inconveniences.

Engine Oil

Found dark brown or blackish spots underneath your car? Chances are your engine oil is leaking. As oil is the blood that keeps your vehicle running, make it a habit to always check for marks where you parked. 

When you see black marks, try to determine where it is coming from. It may be challenging as some aren’t as easy to pinpoint. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to have a mechanic to sort it out. Just remember to find out how much oil your car has left before driving it out with the use of your oil dipstick. If there is not much left, avoid driving it as it may lead to more damage.

Transmission Fluid

A red or brownish-red colored liquid, the transmission fluid generally affects the car’s overall performance. It lubricates the car’s mechanical parts, allowing your vehicle to shift gears without wearing it down. 

Keep in mind that some transmission fluids turn dark brown over time, making it difficult for non-experts to distinguish it from engine oil. If you suspect your car’s leak to be transmission fluid, request for assistance or avail home repair service instead of going on the road.

Brake Fluid

Your brake fluid determines how well your car’s braking system works. Driving with a low amount of brake fluid in the car can lead to accidents, making it crucial to check every time you’re about to drive.

Once you see a light yellow stain, don’t risk driving until you have your vehicle checked.

Coolant Fluid

Coolant fluids usually come in green, orange, yellow, or blue. It is usually more watery than oil and has a sweet scent, a contrast to the heavier gas-like smell of transmission fluid. As soon as you determine you have it leaking, get a mechanic on it immediately. Without a functioning coolant, your car can overheat within minutes during use.

Power Steering Fluid

You’ll know if your power steering fluid’s leaking if you start having a difficult time turning the wheel. Unfortunately, it’s also difficult to try and identify power steering fluid because it’s similar in color with transmission fluid. Although these two hydraulic fluids are similar in many ways, you can’t mix them up because their formulation is specially tailored to their respective jobs. 

Gasoline

Gasoline is a little tricky since it comes in either clear, yellow, red, or something else as a way to differentiate its octane rating. If you find yourself going to the gas station far more than usual during your daily trips, check for leakage in your gas tank. Have it fixed immediately before the risk gets worse. 

How do I check the color?

Since fluid color can be tricky to guess from the concrete floor, you can take a piece of paper and let the leak trickle down to see what’s up. The only reason you’d want to do this is to distinguish the fluid in scent, color, and texture. If it’s water, you’re in good hands. But, if it’s anything else, have it checked as soon as possible.

How long do repairs take? 

Depending on the damage and the jobs lined up at the shop, it could take between one hour to one day. Financially, it won’t be much of a bother if your car’s insured. Usually, insurance policies with comprehensive coverage can get a decent deal on car repairs, plus financial assistance for loss of use if the repair duration will stretch to a week. 

What can I do to prevent this in the future? 

Your car is an investment. Take good care of it, do proper and regular maintenance, and consult your trusted car experts if you see anything out of the ordinary. 

Fluid leaks are problems that’s small in scale, but have a tendency to get out of control overtime. Every leakage should be treated seriously, because the one thing worse than your car breaking down is unknowingly putting yourself in danger.