What to Do When Your Car is Leaking Fluid

April 8th, 2013 by

Finding a puddle beneath your car is never a good sign. At first you might try to brush it off as just water, but the iridescent shine it makes when the light hits it tells you differently. Your car seems to turn on fine, but you’re thinking you should maybe bring it into the shop. But it really throws a wrench into your day having your car at the mechanic’s. You’re hoping that it’s possibly one of those “fluids of lesser importance” that your car can maybe do less of.

Have All Leaks Inspected Right Away

First off, all leaks should be inspected by a certified vehicle technician, like those at the Cox Mazda service center, regardless of where they came from. A leak means there is a break somewhere in a line and fluid isn’t getting to where it needs to go. All fluid in your vehicle serves a special purpose, so knowing what each does can help you to realize the urgency of getting each checked out.

Be sure to clean up all fluid spills, too, as they happen. If you’re not quite sure of what they are, use gloves and don’t let any get on your skin or clothes. It’s imperative that you clean up spills because some liquids, like anti-freeze, smell appealing to pets like dogs. Ingesting this fluid though can be fatal.

Different Types of Fluid Leaks

  • Brake fluid: your brakes run off of hydraulic pressure. If there’s a loss of fluid in this system, then your brakes won’t function properly, or even at all. Having your brakes suddenly fail at 60 mph in busy traffic is something this author has been through and would like to help others avoid. Getting your brakes regularly inspected according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule can help you to avoid problems.
  • Anti-freeze: a miracle compound for your car, anti-freeze simultaneously prevents your car’s coolant from freezing in the winter and from boiling in the summer. If it leaks and gets low, though, it can allow your engine to overheat and take on damage.
  • Motor oil: the lifeblood of your car, your motor oil is essential to making sure your engine operates smoothly. If you’re low on motor oil, increased friction in your engine will cause heat build-up and damage.
  • Transmission fluid: this specialty fluid is present in both automatic and manual transmission vehicles and works much the same way as motor oil. It is different though and can’t be interchanged. For this reason, transmission fluid is colored either red or green to distinguish it from motor oil.