Car Care 101: How To Identify the Mystery Liquid Dripping From Under Your Car

finding that mystery liquid dripping from your car

By Derrick Johnson

Picture this: you walk into your garage and right before you hop into the driver’s seat of your car you spot a puddle of weird-looking mystery liquid dripping onto the garage floor, you also notice that it came from underneath your car. How will you know if your car is safe enough to drive and that it will not explode in a huge fireball?

Knowing the types of mystery liquid that have the possibility of leaking from underneath a car is a basic knowledge that the manliest of men should know, so here are the ways you can identify the weird puddle from underneath your car and diagnose what problem your car may have.

Engine Coolant or Antifreeze

Coolant/antifreeze is usually green in color, but sometimes it comes in orange or pink, and it has a slightly thick and sticky feel to it when you rub it in between your fingers. If your car’s radiator runs out of coolant then the engine will overheat and break down; keep in mind that it’s cheaper to fix a leak in the cooling system than having the engine overhauled. Check your car’s radiator, radiator lines, because they are the most common causes of these leaks.

Gasoline

It is quite easy to know if your car is leaking gasoline, just use your nose. You will surely smell spilt gasoline even if you do not see a puddle of this flammable liquid. Though it sounds life threatening, a gasoline leak is still not a very serious problem; in fact lots of cars leak gas in some form or another. But there is still the danger of your car exploding 10 feet into the sky if you leave the fuel leak unchecked.

Oil

New motor oil is slightly reddish in color; old oil turns brown and sometimes pitch black. It is only natural for your car’s engine to leak oil, but only if you find it seeping out from in between the engine block and valve cover. If you notice that oil is actually dripping down from your engine compartment then you have a problem. This may be the result of a cracked gasket, improperly fitted oil filter, or it may be less serious like leaving the oil cap loose.

Brake Fluid

If you find a pale yellow liquid that has a slightly oily feel to it on the garage floor, then your car is leaking brake fluid. In cases like this it is better to have your car towed to the mechanic’s because you sure can’t drive it there! You may have a ruptured brake line, most likely near the wheels. The leak may also come from directly underneath the brake pedal. Do not even attempt to drive your car if you suspect that you are leaking brake fluid, it’s not worth it.

These are just some of the most common selection of mystery liquid that you will find dripping from underneath a car and you would do well to become familiar with them. Knowing what kind of fluid is gushing out from your car may one day save your life!

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