Columbia, Missouri
721 W. Sexton Rd.
Columbia, MO 65203
(573) 449-7941

How to Tell Where a Leak Is Coming From June 12, 2019

Columbia, Boone
How to Tell Where a Leak Is Coming From, Columbia, Missouri

Proper car care is essential to preserve your safety and keep your car in top condition. In addition to routine maintenance, like oil changes and tire pressure checks, even the most well-cared-for cars sometimes require repairs. One common issue is fluid leakage. Here’s how to tell what’s leaking based on the color. 

5 Car Leak Colors & What They Mean 

1. Pink or Red

If the fluid is red and thin or brown and thick, it may indicate a transmission fluid leak due to a damaged return line or worn out transmission seal. The transmission, like the engine, requires fluid to be properly lubricated. Otherwise, the friction of moving parts will cause it to wear out quickly. Use a dipstick to check the transmission fluid levels. If it is low or contaminated, take it to an auto repair shop. A few drops occasionally may not be a severe issue, but low transmission fluid or consistent leakage needs to be addressed right away.

2. Yellow or Light Brown

If the leaking fluid is slick and yellow or light brown, it may be brake fluid. This is usually found near the wheels. Cars don’t have much brake fluid, but it is crucial to making the brakes slow and stop the vehicle. The issue may stem from a damaged brake line or master cylinder issue. Because it is a severe safety issue, this needs to be fixed right away.

3. Green

carcareGreen fluid is antifreeze, one of the most common leaks car owners experience. The cooling agent keeps the engine from overheating. It is highly toxic to humans and animals, however, so a leak is hazardous. It typically seeps out when the car’s radiator or water pump has deteriorating or loose fittings, or worn hoses and clamps. Leaks may also occur if you’re using a fluid incompatible with your engine.

4. Brown

Dark brown or black liquid is typically motor oil, which is clear and golden when fresh but gets darker as it degrades and becomes contaminated with grime. Oil leaks usually occur near the engine. It may be an issue with the gaskets or oil pan. Have this examined by a car care professional right away as insufficient oil supply may wear out the engine. 

5. Blue

Pooling blue liquid is typically from the windshield wipers. The fluid can deteriorate their reservoirs over time, resulting in leakage. Although this isn’t an urgent issue, it’s essential to fix it as soon as possible. Inefficient windshield wipers may be a safety issue as it could inhibit visibility. 


For reliable car care in Boone County, MO, turn to Privitt Auto Service Center. Based in Columbia, MO, this auto shop provides a range of repair and car diagnostic services, from oil changes to tires and brake pads. Call (573) 449-7941 to speak with a friendly team member or visit the website to learn more about their car care services.