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There is a lot of fluid in your car and engine, including the engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, gas, coolant, water, brake fluid, window washer, etc. The list goes on and on. All of these liquids have a specific purpose to make sure everything in your engine is properly lubricated and running smoothly. But what happens when one of these very important fluids starts to leak?

When identifying leaks, looking for colour, texture, smell, and location will help you know what it is and where it’s coming from. It also helps to place some newspaper on the ground around the general areas where you think the leaks may be coming from to analyze all of the liquid properties.

We’ll help you identify three of the most serious leaks that could be coming from your car. It’s important to fix any of these three as soon as possible, as they are all crucial to the driveability of your vehicle:

1. Brake fluid

Without the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work! If the brake pedal is hitting the floor, or it’s just plain hard to stop, you will want to check for leaks. With the engine turned off, push several times on the brake pedal to be sure fluid is coming out and there is a leak.

Location: Check the master cylinder, the calipers, or brake lines for visible liquid.

Colour: Clear or yellowish. The darker the colour, the worst condition it is in.

Texture: Medium thickness.

Smell: Has a mechanical-type smell.

2. Transmission fluid

Many transmission leaks can be caused from a pan that wasn’t tightened properly, or from a drain plug. Tighten the pan or plug, and check for cracks as this could be the cause as well.

Location: Front or middle underneath the car.

Colour: Red. It will become browner as it ages.

Texture: Slick or oily.

Smell: Very sharp. It could be similar to a petroleum smell as well.

3. Power steering fluid

Your power steering fluid works with hydraulics and the steering rack to help push and pull the wheels in the proper directions you want them to go. When this is compromised, your driving and steering abilities will be very difficult, or completely unusable.

Location: Power steering leaks typically come from any of these four components: the high pressure line, return line, power steering pump, and the power steering rack.

Colour: Similar to brake fluid, it is clear or yellowish in colour.

Texture: Medium thickness.

Smell: Very dull smell, but may smell a bit mechanical (again, similar to brake fluid).

Have you ever had to deal with a serious leak? Did you learn how to fix it yourself?

The AutoShack.com blog has a purpose to educate and inform, and is in no way responsible for any vehicle damage or misdiagnoses. Consult a licensed technician for further advice on vehicle related issues.

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