What is that fluid leaking out of my car? Name that puddle!

There are several fluids in your vehicle, we’ll help you figure out what’s leaking.

Engine Oil

  • Light brown to black in color, depending on age/use.
  • Puddles will appear in the front of the vehicle.
  • Sometimes easy to spot the source of leak. Pop that hood open and look around for oil leaks. Check out our social media for pictures of oil leaks. Keep in mind there may be multiple leaks.
  • To check engine oil level, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, insert dipstick again and check that the fluid level is between the max/min level. It is also important to note the color and consistency. Black color and gritty consistency is a sign of needing an oil change. On most newer cars, the vehicle’s instrument display panel will alert you of insufficient or low quality oil.


  • Vibrant color usually green, pink or yellow.
  • Can lead to an overheated engine. Keep an eye on your vehicle temperature and make sure the fluid level does not go below minimum amount. Have the issue corrected as soon as possible.
  • To check the coolant level, look for the coolant tank or reservoir with bright colored liquid and ensure that the level falls between min and max lines.

Transmission Fluid

  • Reddish to brown in color, usually leaks front to middle of car.
  • Check vehicles transmission fluid level. It is important to get this leak looked at quickly, preferably at a transmissions shop.
  • Common symptoms of transmission issues include hard shifts, delayed shifts, burning smell and noise while in neutral.
  • Checking transmission fluid is different in almost every make and difficult in most European cars, contact the mechanic if you feel the car is having transmission issues.

Brake Fluid

  • Clear to brown in color and very slick.
  • A brake fluid leak is critical to your safety, it should be looked at by a mechanic immediately.
  • Common symptoms include a spongy, softer than normal feel when you press the brake pedal.
  • Leaks are typically found near the wheels and rear of the vehicles, however brake lines run across the entire span of the vehicle.
  • To check the brake fluid locate the reservoir (probably a good idea to just Google where it is located on your specific vehicle), be careful not to let any surrounding dirt or debris enter the reservoir, open cap and check that fluid is within about a half inch from the top of the reservoir. Brake fluid should not be exposed to moisture so it is important to put the cap back on as soon as you are finished checking the fluid level and color. If the fluid is brown, it is time for a fluid exchange or brake flush.
  • If you plan on “topping off” your brake fluid be careful not to spill the fluid on the car since it quickly damages the paint.
Jackie TorresWhat is that fluid leaking out of my car? Name that puddle!