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What Do You Really Know About Your Car's Fluids?
Every day when you head out in the morning you almost take it for granted that you'll be able to get in the car, start it up and go. Certainly we know enough to get it a (fairly) regular check up at the mechanics and many of us have enough car knowledge to know when to head to an auto car part retailer to buy certain parts to fix a problem with the air conditioning or heating system, or to replace a broken headlight cover.
What we often do not do is pay enough attention to the fluids that help keep the car going on a daily basis, which means more than just giving them the occasional top off. Fluids need to be replaced on a regular basis to stop them going bad and you also have to be careful not to overfill them, something that can be just as bad for the health of your car as too little fluid can be!
Troubleshooting Fluid Leaks can Save Your Car
Fluid stains on the garage floor can me a messy eyesore but they can also be the first sign of trouble within the car and should not just be ignored. But how can you tell which fluid might be leaking and just what that means? Here are a few pointers:
Bright Green - Most radiator coolants are bright green - although they may be orange, purple or red on some newer cars - and such a stain should never be ignored as a blown radiator cause all kinds of problems and even a small crack can be the beginning of something much worse that will end up being far more expensive to fix than a trip to a car parts retailer to pick up a few odds and ends!
Light through Dark Brown - This kind of stain is often common motor oil (how light or dark it is will depend on when your last oil change was.) and may be caused by anything from an incorrectly fitted oil filter (easily fixed) to a cracked oil pan which is far more serious.
Pale Yellow through Dark Muddy Brown: This will often indicate that your brake fluid is leaking, with the color again depending on how old the fluid is. This is not something you should try to guess at though, as the brakes are so crucial to your personal safety as well as that of your car. Instead take the car to a mechanic as soon as possible for a professional going over.
Amber - An amber is usually made by a petrol leak but you should be able to smell that it is petrol as well. A small petrol leak may be caused by something as trivial as a badly fitting petrol but it can also indicate breaks in you car's fuel lines or small holes in the petrol tank. Again, a professional should be consulted rather than trying to second guess the problem yourself.