Name That Fluid... So You Don't Get Stuck!
It’s not uncommon to see fluid leaking from your vehicle, especially as it gets older. Whether it’s a cause for concern or not however, depends on identifying the leaking fluid. I can’t tell you how many times customers have come in thinking their vehicle is leaking coolant for instance, only to find out it is transmission fluid.
A leak could mean that fluids simply need to be topped off or that a repair needs to be made so that you don’t get stuck on the side of the road. How soon you need to repair a leak depends on what fluid is leaking, how much is leaking and what the fluid is leaking onto.
Here is a guide to help you identify what fluid may be dripping onto your garage floor.
Bright Green Fluid
is normally radiator coolant, it smells semi-sweet and is slippery to the touch (coolant can also be pink or red in color).
Bright Blue Fluid
is usually windshield washer fluid (can also be orange, pink or yellow).
Light Brown Fluid
if there is a strong odor that smells like rotten eggs, the fluid can be 90 weight oil or gear lube. This fluid is used in axle housings and differentials.
automatic transmission fluid and power steering fluid often share the same type of fluid; this fluid has a lighter feeling than engine oil. Other red color fluid can also be long-life coolant for the radiator or water pump.
can be power steering fluid or water. Power steering fluid is a type of oil and will feel very slippery. Water commonly drains from the air conditioning condenser unit.
Light Yellow Fluid
new brake fluid is yellow in color and turns a muddy brown color as it ages and absorbs water.
can be gasoline. You should notice the distinct odor of gasoline before you see fluid on the ground. Even a small leak under the car will typically produce strong fumes.
Give Your Car Some Breathing Room
Did you know that your car breathes, in a sense, a lot like you? It does. In fact it’s a critical part of the engine’s operation. Without air, the gasoline or diesel in your fuel tank can’t burn and create the explosion needed to power the engine. And like us, it needs to take in clean air. Through the intake system or manifold, modern cars must take in clean air in a very precise ratio of air to fuel. If the engine doesn’t get the right fuel mixture, (instead gets more fuel than air) the fuel mixture runs “rich” which puts strain on the engine.
Guess what ensures that your car gets this clean air for the precise fuel mixture it needs? The air filter. Yes, that paper-like accordion-shaped part filters out harmful dirt, dust, grit and debris, so that your vehicle can get the air it needs. That’s why it is so important to inspect your air filter at least every 3,000 to 6,000 miles and change it at least once or twice a year. A dirty air filter will not only hurt your gas mileage, it can also affect your emissions control system and foul up your spark plugs. Give your car more breathing room this summer by changing its air filter!
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