A Comprehensive Color Guide To the Various Car Fluids

There are different car fluid leaks that a car owner can encounter. Some are harmless and requires no or minimal effort in fixing. While there are some leaks that are extremely dangerous and needs immediate attention. Car leaks can happen on different parts of the vehicle. Knowing where it is, the color and texture will help you identify the problem.

Engine Oil/Motor Oil (Light brown to black)

Typically smells like cooking oil. Its appearance is light brown to black and its consistency can be semi-thick, thick and slippery. You’ll spot this kind of leak on the front part of the car. Small drops of engine oil are not dangerous. However, if there are oil drips that smells like gas and the engine oil level is below its mark. Bring the car over for a check-up as there is a possibility that there’s an underlying problem.

Brake fluid (Light yellow to dark brown)

Brake fluid starts out clear to light yellow and becomes darker as it ages. It typically smells like fish oil. This leak can be found in the middle or near wheels. Brake fluids are slippery than an engine oil. As soon as you notice that the brake fluid is leaking, have the vehicle repaired right away. Losing even a small amount can affect how well your breaks will work.

Steering Wheel Fluid (Red or reddish)

If your car leak is reddish in hue and smells like a burnt marshmallow with a hint of fish oil, it must be the steering wheel fluid. Power steering fluid will leak from under the front and middle part of your car. The steering wheel fluid is thin in texture. Bring the vehicle for repair as soon as you can.

Transmission Fluid (Orange / Reddish / Dark Pinkish (Thin) or Brown (Thick))

If the leak is from the center of your vehicle, and the fluid looks thick orange to reddish brown, it could be transmission fluids. An indicator that transmission fluid is leaking is when your car is revving up but it’s not going into any gear. Orange leaks can also be rust from your radiator mixing with an antifreeze. It will be thin and leaks can be from different locations.

Coolant (Yellow, Green or Pink)

This bright candy-like color and taste are the easiest to spot at the front part of your vehicle. For old vehicles, a little drip is normal especially when the engine gets hot. But if your vehicle is new, the coolant shouldn’t be dripping, therefore, it’s time to bring the vehicle for a check-up. Do not attempt to drive the car if the coolant is dripping because the coolant regulates the engine’s

Windshield Washer (Blue / Green / Orange)

The color depends on the kind of solvent used for your windshield. This is harmless and same with water there is nothing to worry about unless there is a serious leak. Check the tubes that carry the solvent and see if there are leaks.

Fuel (Light Gold/ Amber with Bluish Tint) 

Fuels leaks have a strong gasoline smell that makes it easily identifiable. Fuels leaks can happen on any part of the vehicle. If you notice an excessive amount of leaking, it might be that the gas tank is damaged. Bring the vehicle immediately for repair.

Water (odorless and odorless)

If the vehicle has been running with the car’s a/c on full blast on a hot weather, you can expect a puddle of water to under the car. It’s perfectly normal because using a/c creates water condensation. This is harmless and will not ruin the car.


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