Diagnosing driveway drips

One way to troubleshoot leaks that you may find on your driveway or garage floor that could be causing problems with your car's lubricants and fluid levels is to look at the color. If you find discharge, check the color against the following guidelines to determine where your car may have a problem.

583 × 389Bright Green: Antifreeze/coolant. May also be pink or reddish color. Without coolant, your engine is prone to overheating, which can cause catastrophic damage. While this situation doesn’t require an immediate/emergency visit to the service department, it’s definitely not something you want to put off for long.

974 × 650Light or Dark Brown Fluid: Engine oil can range from a light gold color to nearly black, depending on how long it has been in your engine. The darker the color, the longer it’s been used. Typically, you don’t need to bring your vehicle to the service department as an emergency, but you should definitely make an appointment quickly.


974 × 454Bright Blue Fluid: This is your windshield washer fluid. Your reservoir tank may be cracked, or the hoses may have leaks. Unless it’s the middle of winter and there’s a heavy amount of road salt making your windshield difficult to see out of, this isn’t a problem that requires a quick fix.



974 × 966Light Brown Fluid: If this fluid has a very strong, peculiar smell, it’s likely that it’s gear oil. It could be leaking from the rear axle center section or out of the manual transmission. Get your vehicle to the service department soon.



625 × 466Red Fluid: If the puddle resembles fresh blood, it’s likely that it’s transmission fluid. You’ll need to visit the service department within a few days.



974 × 608Clear Fluid: If you see it in the summer time when you’ve been running the A/C, it’s just condensed water from your A/C unit. No need for a visit to the service department. However…if you touch the fluid and it has a slight oily feel, it could be power steering fluid which will require a visit to the service department.  



974 × 729Yellow Fluid (could vary and even be muddy brown): This is likely brake fluid. Changing your brake fluid once a year is a regular maintenance requirement. When it’s new, it’s light yellow (almost clear), but as your brakes get used and the system absorbs water, it turns to a dark muddy brown. If you see a brake fluid leak it could be coming from your anti-lock brake system, from the reservoir, or the lines (which could be rubber or metal) for the master cylinder, or wheel cylinders or calipers. Please note that brake fluid is really nasty stuff. If you drip it on your vehicle’s paint, it will damage the finish. If you get drips of brake fluid anywhere, clean it up immediately because it can corrode your tires as well. Be sure to take your vehicle to the SVG Service Department soon if you suspect a brake fluid leak; not having brakes is a significant safety concern.



974 × 729Rainbow colored: Of all the leaks your vehicle can have, gasoline is potentially the most dangerous. When the ground is wet, gasoline will take on a rainbow appearance; if the ground is dry, it'll be a very light amber color. You'll likely smell a fuel leak before you see it; it’s difficult to visually find the source of fuel leaks since gasoline evaporates quickly. Because gasoline is such a volatile fluid and can cause a vehicle to catch fire or even worse, explode, this is a situation that requires immediate attention. If you smell a strong fuel odor, it’s important to make an appointment with the SVG service department immediately.



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