Auto Fluid Leaks Traced by Color
The color of the fluid you see leaking can be traced back to a specific part of your vehicle that needs repaired. Here is an easy way to remember:
Blue: Most likely windshield wiper fluid, which means your vehicle may have a hole or crack in the fluid reservoir or a malfunction in system-related tubing.
Clear: AC condensation (which is thin like water) or newer brake fluid (which has a medium consistency and an oily feel). For AZ residents who use their air conditioner more than the heater, it’s not unusual for a little clear condensation to escape your A/C system.
Dark brown: Brake fluid or motor oil. Touch it to help determine the cause. Brake fluid: it’s easy to confuse older brake fluid with motor oil, however a brake fluid leak is a serious problem. If you suspect the liquid beneath your vehicle, usually around the wheels or just under where the brake pedal is located is brake fluid, call your mechanic. Brake fluid will have a more slimy feel than greasy. DO NOT take the risk of driving.
Motor oil: Oil leaks at the front of your vehicle can include a worn gasket, corroded oil line, improperly attached oil filter, or a stripped or leaky drain plug. Check your oil before driving any further.
Green, orange, pink, red or yellow: Antifreeze or radiator coolant. Why so many colors? All are for different models. A severe leak could indicate a faulty water pump, loose clamp, damaged hose, or worn O-ring. Since antifreeze is poisonous to pets and local wildlife, such leaks always merit a call to a mechanic.
Light brown: Gear lubricant (which has a bad odor) or newer motor oil. Old automatic transmission fluid may turn brown with extended use. An issue with gear lubricant leakage is often on or near the wheels and suggests a worn seal or that it is time to service the gearbox.
Red: transmission fluid. This leak will happen around the front of your vehicle and means you have a faulty fluid line or worn seal and it is usually accompanied by a high pitch whine.