What's That Puddle Under The Car?
February 17th, 2017
So you pulled your car out of its parking spot and noticed a mysterious puddle…or maybe a pool of some kind of liquid in the garage? Let’s talk about it…because there are several possibilities.
Water: If you notice a puddle of clear, odorless water under the vehicle and you’ve been running the A/C, this is not something to worry about. A/C systems rely on condensation and evaporation to provide cooling. The condenser features a rubber weep tube that drains condensate (aka plain ole’ water) onto the ground – in other words, that puddle of water is completely normal.
Coolant: Usually coolant is green in color, although some newer formulations may be pink or orange. Coolant has a sharp, sweetish smell that’s unmistakable, and will be leaking from the front of the engine compartment. NOTE: clean up any coolant spills right away, as it’s very tempting and toxic to pets!
Motor oil: If you find slippery brown or coffee-colored leak, chances are that’s motor oil. The gaskets and seals on older engines will dry out, shrink and begin to leak; a puddle that’s a couple of inches across is not a big deal. A puddle that’s the size of a saucer, on the other hand, can be cause for concern.
Transmission fluid: Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is dyed magenta to make it easy to differentiate from motor oil.
Gasoline: You’ll notice this one right away due to its unmistakable odor. Gasoline evaporates quickly, so if you notice a gasoline leak it had to have happened pretty recently. Don’t take chances with a problem like this – have the leak diagnosed and repaired right away!
Brake fluid: Usually brake systems are pretty resilient and will last the lifetime of the vehicle. Sometimes a leak can occur, however, from the master cylinder, the brake lines or a wheel cylinder. Brake fluid is yellowish and slippery in consistency. Again, this one is a safety issue!
Here’s a hint: if you’re not sure where that leak is originating, just slide a sheet of cardboard under the vehicle overnight.
Got a leak that you’re concerned about? Make an appointment with us at Miracle Tire and let’s get that leak repaired!