We usually begin to notice car fluid leaks when our automobiles get older and we start neglecting them. It’s not unusual though, even for relatively new vehicles to leak fluid for numerous reasons. Car fluid leaks, however, are not only an eyesore on our driveways or parking areas, they are also ecologically harmful and potentially damaging to our vehicles. In fact, those of you who are residents of a condominium, townhouse, or other strata property, are most likely aware that car leaks can also result in warnings and fines.
At Norlang Auto, we have always encouraged our customers to visit us as soon as they suspect they are experiencing car fluid leaks of any sort. By dealing with leak issues immediately, you can avoid costly damages to vital car components and a host of safety issues.
Common Car Fluid Leaks
Engine oil leaks are amongst the most common car fluid leaks and most neglected since people assume that if they top off their oil reservoir every so often, their vehicle will be ok. However, as we’ve already mentioned, these are extremely harmful to the environment and your problem will most likely get worse.
Evidence of a brownish-blackish greasy stain beneath the front half of your vehicle, needing to refill your oil reservoir on a regular basis or the odour of burnt oil, are signs of an engine oil leak.
Engine oil leaks are usually caused by bad or worn engine gaskets, oil pan leaks, oil seals, incorrectly attached oil filters or improperly secured oil plugs. What’s more, the PCV system which controls the engine’s breathing can plug up and fail, resulting in leaks.
Brake fluid is under constant hydraulic pressure, so if you have a leak, it can result in loss of pressure and brake failure. Consequently, you need to address any brake fluid leaks immediately since they are amongst the most serious car fluid leaks!
Leaks should be suspected if your brake pedal feels soft or goes all the way to the floor. What’s more, if you notice a clear to brown or a slightly yellowish slick stain near a wheel or in the area directly under the brake pedal and your brake fluid reservoir is a little low then you most likely have a leak.
Brake fluid leaks can be caused by a damaged reservoir, valve, brake line, caliper, wheel cylinder or brake hose. The damage could be the result of normal wear and tear, improper installations or due to road debris damaging a brake component.
Car Coolant leaks are also amongst of the most common car fluid leaks in both new and older model vehicles. As with all car fluid leaks, you need to deal with them promptly since, if the coolant fluid does not circulate properly, it can result in your engine overheating, your car stalling and leaving you stranded. What’s more, coolant is extremely poisonous and, due to its sweet taste, it can be hazardous to small animals which may ingest it.
Coolant stains or puddles under your vehicle can be a clearish fluid with a yellow, green, pink, red, purple or even blue colour depending on your vehicle manufacturer. The warning lights or temperature gauge should also be illuminated if you have a leak which leads to a drop in your coolant reservoir. Naturally, if you notice that your coolant reservoir tank does not contain as much coolant as it should or that your car begins to overheat, then you may have a coolant leak.
The causes for coolant leaks can be both external and internal. By external, we mean that there may be a hole in the radiator, split/broken hose or a damaged water pump, heater core or engine freeze plugs. In addition, there is the possibility of a crack in the coolant reservoir which can slowly leak coolant. Another external source could be a loose or damaged radiator cap from which coolant can leak out. As for internal leaks, unfortunately, they are not easily visible since they usually occur in the head, block or from a leaky head gasket. Internal leaks should be suspected if you find yourself refilling your coolant tank on a regular basis.
4. Fuel Leaks
Fuel leaks are potentially the most dangerous of the car fluid leaks due to their highly flammable nature. They should never be ignored since they are the most common cause of vehicle fires.
Fuel leaks can be identified by both smell and sight. If you have a fuel leak you will notice a stain underneath your parked vehicle. There should also be a strong gasoline odour. These leaks can also be detected in the form of unburned gas exiting the exhaust system as vapor. Keep in mind that a fuel leak can occur at numerous points along a vehicle’s fuel system.
The most frequent causes of fuel leaks are your vehicle’s fuel lines and their fitting which can be damaged or crack due to normal wear and tear. Fuel tank leaks are also common since fuel tanks can be damaged by road debris or even begin to corrode. What’s more, your fuel injection system could be a source of fuel leaks if it has been damaged.
Damages to your vehicle’s transmission can be costly therefore you need to ensure that it is constantly lubricated. Transmission fluid not only lubricates to enable your car to shift/change gears smoothly but also acts as a coolant in the transmission and helps protect your gears.
Transmission fluid leaks are normally found near the front or middle of your vehicle. These fluid leaks are usually reddish if your vehicle has an automatic transmission or brownish if it has a manual transmission. They should be located near the transmission filler tube, near the transmission fluid drain hole and at the selector shaft. A transmission leak can also occur between the transmission and engine as well.
Transmission leaks can occur as a result of damaged seals or gaskets which tend to crack due to pressure and excessive heat. Additional causes could be a damaged transmission fluid pan or a loose drain plug. Your transmission fluid line could also be damaged by road debris or crack due to heat. There is also the possibility that your transmission torque pump could be damaged and leak fluid as well.