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How to diagnose a leak underneath your car

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How often do you back out of your driveway and see drops or puddles of water underneath your car. Should you be worried? We will teach you how to diagnose them in this episode of Hard.

View all of us Autoblog Wrenched video for more tips on diagnosing, fixing, and modifying cars from expert detailer Larry Kosilla. While you’re at it, check out Larry’s other auto maintenance and cleaning video series Automatic log details!

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Instructions (video recording):

[00:00:00] How often do you back your car out of a parking space and see drops or puddles of water, but what is it, where does it come from, and should you be concerned? Learn about this episode of Hard. Here’s what you’ll need to get the job done: catch cans or cardboard, dry oil, a rag, gloves, a flashlight, and your nose. I’m Larry Kosilla, detail expert and coach for the past 15 years but when it comes to what’s under the hood, I’m a student. Follow me for experts to guide me on how to diagnose, fix

[00:00:30] and car modification on Autoblog’s Wrenched. However, some cars have an open bottom tray, and when a leak occurs, it collects on the ground under or near the faulty part, giving the mechanic a good idea of ​​what the part might be and what needs to be done. where to find. The only problem is, your mechanic is usually not around when the leak occurs, so it’s up to you to decide if that’s normal, a concern, or a major issue. And remember that the original color of the fresh fluid may not

[00:01:00] current color of the old leaking fluid. As the fluids stay in the vehicle for a while, they collect contaminants and start to look similar, so confusion can be possible. When I first noticed some leaks underneath my car, what are some potential tips that could help me determine if it’s something scary or is it normal? – Up to eight different liquids are likely to leak onto the ground. Depending on the liquid, that should really give us a clue as to where the leak is coming from. – [Larry] Clear water coming out of your engine is usually condensate build up

[00:01:30] on your AC condenser on a hot day while blowing ice cold air in your car. This is normal, of course, and this type of sweat evaporates quickly, especially on hot pavement. Laundry detergent is usually light green in color and has little or no odor. This type of drip usually occurs shortly after filling the washing machine’s liquid reservoir as some may have spilled onto the floor. If you haven’t poured liquid recently, check the connections to the container for leaks and that you have the cap tight.

[00:02:00] This is harmless and nothing to worry about. If the fluid is pink or reddish, it could be power steering fluid or transmission fluid. Both need to be resolved quickly. If it smells like burning oil, it could be power steering fluid, but be sure to use the dipstick to check the level. Having a low register on the bar may further indicate that you have a power steering leak. If the leak is in the rear or towards the center of the vehicle, it may be worth looking into

[00:02:30] transmission for any obvious leaks as well. The infusion has a rather subjective odor. Some say burning oil, rubber or even mold. Regardless, it’s time to visit a mechanic. Antifreeze, on the other hand, is usually bright in color like yellow, green, or orange. It has a low viscosity similar to water and has a sweet syrupy odor. This substance is very toxic and should be cleaned up immediately or placed in a collection container or disposable tray under the leak. Check your reservoir to see if it’s low

[00:03:00] and your radiator hose to look for any leaks. Keep in mind that you may need to heat the liquid to expose the leak. If necessary, be careful not to burn yourself on any hot components. Due to the sweet smell, animals and even toddlers can mistake this liquid for something safe to consume, so don’t miss any drops. Brake fluid leaks are fairly easy to spot because they often drip on the inside of the rim, down the tire, and on the ground near the brake. Brake fluid is transparent and can turn amber over time. This is extremely corrosive

[00:03:30] and will eat through the paint quickly, so take care to avoid transferring liquid from your hands to the paint by mistake. Brake lines can wear out or become pinched or punctured over time, creating a soft or spongy pedal feel. Check your master cylinder and refill it if it is low. Then see your mechanic immediately as this is a major concern. Oil is probably the most common leak because it has the most failure points on the engine. It’s a bit thick and greasy

[00:03:59] and amber to dark brown depending on its age. Check your dipstick to see if the color and smell are similar. If you think that’s the culprit, use a flashlight and look for any obvious leaks to help your mechanic identify the problem, saving you time and money. Last, and possibly most concerning, is a gas or fuel leak. You can smell a leak before you see it because fuel is volatile and evaporates quickly. Look at the bottom of the car to see if there are long thin lines running from the fuel tank to the front of the car. They can rust and become brittle over time.

[00:04:30] Call a mechanic immediately and avoid leaving your car indoors overnight. For quick and easy cleanup, use cat litter, sawdust, or dry oil-absorbing clay. Likewise, if the leak persists, you can spread out a piece of cardboard, a drop of plastic, or a painted carpet to absorb the water droplets. But again, you need to get this problem resolved immediately from a professional mechanic. Quickly diagnosing which fluid is leaking from your car will help you determine where and where the leak is coming from.

[00:05:00] and if you need to find a mechanic immediately or otherwise there is nothing to worry about. For more videos on how to repair cars, visit I’m Larry Kosilla from As always, thanks for watching. (techno music)

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