The weather is still a bit too cold these days, so you’re going to want to start noticing your car’s fluids. Vehicle fluids are susceptible to cold temperatures and could even end up freezing without you realizing it so it’s important that you know what’s up with your fluids at all times. Fluid leaks are a big deal, but knowing how to detect them is also important. Any kind of fluid can end up leaking from your car, especially after getting into an auto accident, so you may want to take these three tips on how to track those leaks down to heart. Think you may be experiencing a fluid leak? Here’s how to check your car to see if the issue is there.

Fluid Leak

Think you may be experiencing a fluid leak? Here’s how to check your car to see if the issue is there.

#1 Check for Spots

First, you should look at the spots on the ground beneath your car, which may mean inspecting your vehicle in your driveway or garage to see if there are any patches of liquids left behind. If you’re uncertain, you can try using some newspaper or cardboard to sit under your car and see if anything accumulates. Let your car sit overnight and check in the morning to see if anything stands out. Depending on what liquid ends up coming out, you can start to figure out what’s leaking by thinking about the color, consistency, and smell of the leaking liquid.

Engine Oil

Engine oil is the most common type of fluid leak. If the puddle of liquid is towards the front of your vehicle, its source is probably the engine. Dip your finger or a piece of paper towel into the liquid. If it is engine oil, the fluid will be brown or black, slick to the touch, and have a slightly burnt odor. Look underneath your vehicle to ensure that the oil pan plug is properly in place and that the oil filter is secured. If neither of these parts is the culprit, you may need to take your vehicle to a mechanic or a quick oil change garage to have the oil pan inspected. A cracked oil pan can cause the oil to leak, as can faulty engine valves. Until then, add a quart of the appropriate engine oil to replace any that have been lost because of the leak.


Another common fluid to leak from vehicles is antifreeze. Like engine oil, the source of an antifreeze leak is usually in the front part of your vehicle, close to the engine. Antifreeze may also leak from your exhaust pipe at the tail end of your car. The consistency of antifreeze is thinner than oil but slightly thicker than water. It is usually red or green in color. The easiest identifying characteristic of antifreeze is that it smells sweet. Be careful not to make contact with your mouth or eyes if you need to sniff the fluid to determine that it is antifreeze. 

If you notice this type of auto fluid leaking from your vehicle, take it to your mechanic immediately. Leaking antifreeze can be caused by radiator or water pump malfunction and may eventually lead to further damage to your engine.

Transmission Fluid

This type of fluid leaks will appear closer to the center of the vehicle. Transmission fluid is sometimes difficult to distinguish from oil; however, this fluid has more of a reddish color and smells similar to gasoline. If you determine that your leak is transmission fluid, take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. The transmission fluid may need to be replaced or the leak could be caused by a more serious engine problem. Drive your vehicle as little as possible until you can get it to the shop.

#2 Look at Your Reserves

After doing spot tests, you also want to look at your owner’s manual and see if it has any info. This should highlight what fluids your car needs and where you can find them. Park your car somewhere level, pop your hood and check your dipstick. You also want to look at your engine coolant tank, your brake fluid, and your power steering fluid tank if you’ve got it. Lastly, take a look at your windshield washer fluids and see if the levels have changed dramatically, which may indicate a leak.

#3 Swing By A Trusted Auto Body Shop

At the end of the day, you may need to go to an auto body shop. Fixing fluid leaks isn’t always difficult and it’s important you get your car back into working order. If you tried your best to fix it but the warning lights came back on, it’s a sign that you need to bring your car into a shop and get those vital fluids checked out. This is important in driving safely and preventing auto accidents.

Drop By Sudden Impact Auto Today!

Sudden Impact Auto is here to assist you. As a larger repair and paint shop working within the Las Vegas area, our expert technicians are capable of tackling every element of collision repair. We love working with our community and beyond, so drop on by and give us a visit! We can be contacted by phone at 702-457-3002.