Nothing concerns and even scares a driver more than fluid leaks under your vehicle. How can you simply identify these leaks of automobile fluids and figure out if they mean anything? Are they a danger to the mechanical well being of your vehicle and / or your pocketbook?
First of all is the residue new and fresh in appearance or does it appear to be just old soiled motor oil from a previous vehicle’s leaking oil pan. It’s pretty to tell by appearances in most case. Is it a fresh full puddle of oil or only a few drops?
If it is oil that appears to have leaked out – what is the volume – a lot or a little? It’s fairly easy to check the oil and transmission oil levels in your car. Best not to start the vehicle. If the fluid is very low you could cause substantial damage to your motor or in the case of the red hydraulic fluids to your transmission. Certainly do not start up your car and drive to the nearest service station, ignoring dash warning lights and hoping that “it will all go away”. Do not start the vehicle. It’s very simple to check the motor oil and transmission levels via the dipstick under the bonnet hood. If you do not know how to accomplish this procedure then it’s worth the wait either for a more experienced motorist to come along or to call triple A or your automotive dealer’s “roadside assistance” from yours or a handy cell phone.
Radiator and coolant system leaks and issues are an entirely different matter. If your motor overheats due to not enough cooling fluid substantial damage can occur.
Most people pull their cars over. It’s all fairly obvious both from dash temperature gauges, “idiot lights” on car and truck dash’s loudly announcing that the vehicle radiator fluid is critically hot, and even from a billowing cloud of steam emanating from under the car hood. Pull over, let the cars. Truck’s or SUV’s engine cool down. Then add additional antifreeze fluid or simple water if need be. Two words of extreme caution here.
First of all never take the cap off the engine radiator top when the rad is hot. Let it cool down even if it takes a fair amount of waiting time. Opening a hot rad is similar to opening a pressure cooker. Nothing happens, and then in whoosh out flies scalding hot water. This hot water which flashes from the rad as pressure is released by taking off the radiator cap reduces pressure in a flash. The hot scalding anti-freeze solution can cause severe burns to the unwary motorist however in its wake nearby the radiator.
Secondly after adding fluid in the summertime, ensure that come fall time you have your radiator antifreeze fluid checked for potency of glycol coolant. With the dilution of the glycol coolant with water your coolant may not provide full protection from freezing come the arrival of cold frigid winter weather from Canada. As a result of the freezing substandard anti-freeze solution, the radiator fluid may well freeze solid, cracking your engine block and causing major mechanical damage to your vehicle’s engine.
Lastly be most careful to mop up any of the residue and puddles of the ethylene glycol anti-freeze solution on the pavement or car driveway. Auto antifreeze is downright both tasty and deadly to family pets as well as wild animals who stroll across pavements and roads.