Automotive Fluid Color Guide So You Can Tell What’s Leaking From Your Car

1 Dec
Automotive Fluid Color Guide So You Can Tell What’s Leaking From Your Car

Automotive Fluid Color Guide So You Can Tell What’s Leaking From Your Car

Few things can ruin your day more than backing out of your garage and seeing spots on the floor. Automotive fluid leaks are uncommon, unless your vehicle has a ton of mileage under its belt. Even if it doesn’t, there’s no need to panic. The fluid color will tell you where the leak is coming from and we here at DOC Auto can most likely fix it. Here’s an auto fluid color guide to help you identify the leaking fluid.


Ninety-nine percent of the time, blue automotive fluid is your windshield wash. As your vehicle ages, the reservoir or tubing can crack, and you will end up with a washer fluid leaking on your garage floor. This isn’t the end of the world. The leaking components can be replaced.


Clear fluid is just condensation leaking from the air conditioner. When you run your AC, condensation builds up on the parts and then drips off them once you park your car. You might also see condensation dripping from your tailpipes. These things are not a cause for concern.

Dark Brown

Dark brown fluid is a cause for concern. Dark brown fluid could be your brake fluid, differential oil, or motor oil. It could also be very old and dirty transmission fluid. If you have dark brown fluid leaking from your car, have the leak fixed and the fluid changed right away.


Antifreeze is the only green fluid you will have in your car. Leaking antifreeze most likely comes from the cooling system, but the antifreeze also runs through the air conditioner system – the heater core specifically – and the transmission. Have the leak found ASAP.

Light Brown

Gear lubricant and motor oil are both light brown when they are new. Brake fluid is also amber or light brown. The fluid might be new, but the leak should be found and fixed right away. Any of these leaking fluids will damage your vehicle when they get too low.


Antifreeze and engine coolant are both orange, especially if your radiator is rusting, and transmission fluid can look orangish-brown as it ages. If a rusted radiator is turning your coolant orange, the radiator probably has a hole and you’ll need a new radiator.


If you see pink spots on your garage floor, the fluid is either leaking from the power steering system or the transmission. If it’s leaking from the transmission, the transmission oil is being diluted by coolant and this is a sign of serious transmission trouble.


Red fluid is also power steering fluid or transmission oil. If the leak is coming from the transmission, you’ve got a faulty pan gasket, seal, or a hole in the transmission pan. The transmission lines can also leak, as can the power steering fluid reservoir.

Call DOC Auto in Fredericksburg, VA. We’ll find your vehicle’s fluid leak and fix it.

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Chatham Heights
175 Chatham Heights Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405
(540) 899-3732

Courthouse Road
10734 Courthouse Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
(540) 710-0173

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