When you notice a fluid leaking from your vehicle, or see a puddle on the ground where your car was, it can be concerning. Finding out what the fluid is, where it came from, and what to do about it is essential to keeping your car in good shape. Here are some common fluid leaks and some key ways to identify them:

Engine Oil

Oil leaks can be due to a few different factors, such as a bad oil pan gasket or worn-out seals. An engine oil leak is typically dark brown or black and will likely be underneath where the engine is. Not only are oil leaks an environmental hazard and look unsightly, they’ll damage your engine too. When you notice an oil leak, get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible to prevent a small leak from getting worse.


A leak that is bright green, orange, or pink is most likely coolant. This could be because of a damaged radiator hose or head gasket, or damage to the radiator itself. Coolant keeps the engine’s temperature cool, so when it’s leaking, it can cause the engine to overheat. Therefore, you should get this fluid leak fixed as soon as possible.

Transmission Fluid

Often times, transmission fluid can look similar to engine oil, but it tends to be more red than brown. Your transmission fluid could be leaking due to a gap in the system, a pan leak, broken seals, or cracked fluid lines. This is another leak that could turn into a big problem, so have a mechanic check out the issue.

Power Steering Fluid

Over time and as more miles are put on your car, the O-rings and seals lose their form and can’t do their job properly, resulting in a power steering fluid leak. This fluid will have a pink or red look to it, similar to transmission fluid, but it has a thinner consistency. You’ll notice problems with steering as well—without this fluid, you’ll have to use some force to turn the steering wheel. The power steering pump could also be broken because of a lack of fluid, so take your car to a repair shop right away to prevent further problems.

Brake Fluid

A brake fluid leak will appear around the wheels of your vehicle and is a light yellow or brown color. This leak affects the brake system’s ability to work properly, making driving dangerous. Whether it’s because of damaged hoses or worn rotors and drums, a brake fluid leak needs immediate attention from a professional.


As long as it’s just a small amount, there’s nothing to worry about if you notice some water underneath your car. It’s likely condensation from the air conditioning system or exhaust, so there’s no cause for concern unless there’s a large amount of water.

The ASE-certified technicians at Auto Works are happy to take a look at your car’s leaking fluids and provide a solution. We’re The Place Your Neighbors Trust!