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Identifying Car Fluids and Common Leaks

Identifying Car Fluids and Common Leaks

While moving out of your garage or parking lot you notice a puddle where your car was parked. Is it leaked oil or some other automotive fluid? Here are some tips to identify common car fluids and the potential source of the leak.

Light Brown to Black: Engine Oil

If the spot is amber to dark brown or black in colour it is likely to be engine oil. If the oil is older it will be dark brown or black. Oil leaks often comes from auto parts such as gaskets or seals in the engine, valve covers or the oil pan. It is advisable to have a mechanic look into the issue before a small one blows up int something big.

Red or Brown: Transmission Fluid

If the fluid is in amber colour and has a strong odour it is likely to be transmission fluid. It looks like engine oil, but manufacturers add a red dye to identify it. Transmission fluid leaks can be from the transmission lines going to the radiator or cooler. Irrespective of its origin, it is especially important to fix the leak quickly as possible.

Clear, Red or Brown: Power Steering Fluid

Fresh power steering liquid is generally clear or red but turns into a brownish colour as it gets older. It is easily confused for transmission fluid, and some vehicles too use the same fluid as the transmission fluid as well as the Power Steering Fluid.

Because it is difficult to identify the fluids it can always be helpful to identify spots location. If it is nearer to the drivers sear it likely to be power steering fluid. Examine the power steering reservoir and hoses for any cracks or leaks or if the fluid is low. 

Transparent Yellow to Brown: Brake Fluid

Fresh brake fluid has a transparent yellow (almost clear) colour whereas older ones have a brown colour. The key trait is the slipperiness of the liquid. Check the reservoir to check exact level of brake fluid and thereby identify any possible leaks. Such leaks are potentially dangerous and should be fixed immediately.

A few drops of oil or huge bright coloured puddle, whichever be the case knowing and identifying the common automotive fluids  and the related auto part can help you fix the issue on time. 


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