Oil puddle on garage floor. Auto repair concept

Benjamin Franklin once said that a little leak could sink a great ship, and so is it true with our automobiles. Should we ignore or fail to see the leaks pooling up under our cars, a mess on our garage floor will be the least of our worries as we call for a tow truck to take our car to Master Muffler’s West Valley car repair center. 

“Aren’t fluid leaks sort of normal behavior for cars?” you might ask. And the answer is yes, it is incredibly common to see spots left behind on the pavement as a car pulls away. But not all fluid is created equal, and truly it is never good when reservoirs meant for holding liquid start to drip. 

What is Leaking?

When you notice a leak underneath your car, half the battle is being able to recognize what the fluid is or where it is coming from. With more than half a dozen different types of fluid being used by the car at once, all of which perform a different function, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, or how concerned you should be about it.

Below is a rundown of all the different types of auto fluid you or your car repair technicians put into the car, what it does, and how to tell if it’s the culprit. Remember, if there is a problem, the team at Master Muffler is able to not only diagnose the problem but repair it quicker and more efficiently than anyone else.


The most famous of the car’s fluids, a gas leak is never good. There is certainly no shortage of horror stories about what happens when gas is allowed to leak out onto the ground — especially in places that are significantly affected by heat or the summer sun. Luckily, gas may be the easiest of the fluids to identify, if only because of our close proximity to it on a regular basis.

  • Gasoline’s distinctive smell will be a giveaway.
  • A result of bad fuel injectors or a broken fuel line

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Another of the “famous” fluids, windshield wiper fluid is easily identifiable for most because of the big blue jugs we can buy at any grocery store that has a car section. This fluid makes it possible to keep the front and rear windshield clean during inclement weather.

  • This fluid is the most “watery” of your car’s fluids, as it lacks the distinct viscosity of something like motor oil.
  • It is often bright blue but has been known to come in other colors. 
  • A leak may have something to do with a broken line up to the windshield jets or a faulty reservoir cap.

Motor Oil

The last of the well-known fluids, motor oil (also known as engine oil) is the most common type of leak one can find under their car. This oil keeps all the moving parts of the engine lubricated and working properly. 

  • Leaks usually appear under the engine.
  • The liquid is black or brown and often has a burnt smell.
  • A leak could come from a number of different sources, including a broken oil pan or filter.
  • An engine oil leak may warrant a visit to our West Valley car repair shop to have the problem identified by a professional.


Antifreeze is, as the name suggests, a fluid meant to keep your engine from overheating, but can also keep it from getting too cold. It is usually mixed in a 50/50 solution with water.

  • Can come in a number of different colors, like red, green, or orange.
  • Usually has a sweet smell.
  • Leaks may appear under the engine or even out the tailpipe.
  • A leak may mean the radiator is broken or perhaps a water pump.
  • This leak should be seen by a Master Muffler technician immediately. 

Brake Fluid

One of the most important fluids in your car, brake fluid makes it possible for your car to stop once you step on the pedal. Thanks to the power of hydraulics, brake fluid helps press the brake pads to the wheels.

  • Rather generic in appearance, it can often be confused for power steering fluid. 
  • Because the brake system runs the entire length of the car, a leak can happen anywhere.
  • If you see a leak coming from the brake lines, make sure to have a mechanic at our West Valley car repair center tend to it immediately. 

Power Steering Fluid

An important fluid for directing the car where to go, power steering fluid is a hydraulic liquid that helps the steering wheel communicate with the tires. Without power steering fluid, we would have to brute force the steering wheel into turning. 

  • A red liquid with a sweet, burnt smell.
  • It is thinner than motor oil but may smell the same.
  • A leak may be caused by hoses becoming unhooked from the power steering reservoir.
  • You’ll know you’ll have a problem with the power steering if the steering wheel suddenly becomes difficult to handle.

Transmission Fluid

This fluid makes it easier for you to change gears as you move the gearshift. This fluid, like motor oil, is used to lubricate the various parts that operate within the gearbox so that the car changes gears without any significant grinding or wearing down.

  • Another red liquid but without any real smell to identify it.
  • This leak usually appears in the center of the car, between the engine and the transmission.
  • A leak could be due to a crack in the selector shaft.

Regardless of the fluid that is leaking, our West Valley car repair technicians will be able to fix the problem. The best way to avoid a leak in the future is to bring the car in for regular tune-ups. We look forward to helping you stay safe on the road.

Categories: Auto Repair

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