The color or smell of the fluid that is leaking from your car is a good way to tell what the fluid really is, and perhaps where it is coming from. In order to get a sample, it is a good idea to place a piece of white cardboard on the spot. This cardboard will give you the color, but also will give you an idea of where the leak is coming from.

The most common leaks that can be found might include water, which may be leaked from the passenger compartment because the air conditioning system takes the moisture out of the air and sends it to the ground through a rubber hose. This is something that is supposed to happen and not a cause for worry. Coolant can be leaked from anywhere under the engine because it can come from anywhere in the hoses. It is generally blue in color. Motor oil can show up as any color from light amber, all the way to dark brown. It can actually be quite difficult to determine where a motor oil leak is. Differential fluid or gear oil has the appearance of honey and is very thick. Transmission fluid is generally pink or red in color and power-steering fluid is another fluid that is light amber in color. It puts off the smell of burnt cooking oil. Brake fluid is another liquid, but it is not common for a puddle to form under your car with this.

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