Car Fluid Leaks: How To Identify The Cause MILTA Technology

Car Fluid Leaks: How To Identify The Cause

Spotting a puddle of unknown liquid underneath your car can be a heart-stopping moment. It’s essential to try and figure out what the fluid is before you drive off. Depending on what the fluid was, your car may not work correctly. If you have a transmission fluid leak, then driving could be dangerous and damage your automatic transmission. Here’s a quick guide to help you identify the source of the leak.

Check It’s From Your Car

The first thing you need to figure out is if the fluid really is from your car. You can do this by shining a torch on the underside of your vehicle. It the leak is from your car you should be able to see either a drip or the shine of fluid on your car, not just under it.

Look At The Colour

Identifying the colour of the liquid in the puddle is the quickest way to narrow down where the leak is coming from. If it’s hard to tell what colour it is, you can use a torch. Shining the light around the puddle can help to highlight the colour of the fluid.


This is most likely just water. A small amount can leak from your exhaust or air conditioning. If this is the case, there is nothing to worry about. 

Coolant can look clear, but has a smell to it, and often has a shimmer of colour when you shine a light on it.


If the puddle looks to be amber in colour but almost has a rainbow sheen to it, then you most likely have a fuel leak. If this is the case, you should not turn your vehicle on at all. A spark might ignite the leak.


Red liquids are most likely from your transmission. You should not drive if you have this sort of leak. With an automatic gearbox, you might not be able to get your car in gear, and driving can cause a lot of damage.


This is probably an oil leak. Check your levels; if they’re sufficient, you can drive to a garage to repair the issues.


This is likely from your power steering. It will also smell a little sweet and burnt. If your levels aren’t too low, you can drive safely.


Coolant comes in all the colours of the rainbow, so for green/yellow fluids, this is the best bet. If the leak is small, you are safe to drive a short distance.


A very slippery brown liquid could be brake fluid. In this case, do not drive; you may not be able to stop your car when you need to.

If you’re not sure what the fluid is, then don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call Milta Technology, who will be happy to offer free advice to keep you and your vehicle safe.

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