What's That Puddle Under My Vehicle?

August 24th, 2016

You pull out of a parking space and notice a puddle of…something…that’s spread out under where you were just parked. What is it?Oil Leaks in Humble TX

Here’s a quick rundown of things that can leak and leave that puddle.

--Water: Your air conditioner has a drip tube to drain off the condensate that forms while the A/C is running. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

--Antifreeze: For years, antifreeze was dyed green to make it easy to identify. Newer formulations may be dyed pink, orange or yellow, but antifreeze will always have the same sweet, pungent odor.

--Transmission fluid: Automatic transmission fluid has always been dyed magenta and usually has a slightly sweet smell.

-- Motor oil: Motor oil is honey-colored and slippery, and may be darker (like the color of coffee) if it’s been in the engine for awhile.

-- Gasoline: Easily identifiable by its smell, and very flammable, of course.

For an older vehicle, small leaks are normal. Gaskets dry out and shrink over time, and their seals will tend to seep somewhat. A leak that’s bigger than a half-dollar, though, is cause for concern. When you need to isolate where that leak came from, you can slide a sheet of cardboard under the vehicle overnight and see where the leak lands on the cardboard. Better yet, you can get under the vehicle and clean off the oil pan and transmission with brake cleaner. Spray foot powder on the underside of the engine and transmission, which should make it much easier to trace the leak’s origin.

Got a troubling leak? Make an appointment with us at BIGTEX Tires and Offroad! 

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101