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Q: Car has been sitting

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My car has been sitting for a while, but still runs great. I do, however, have fluids leaking, though I am not quite sure from where.

A: Hello. If you have leaks, it is best to det...

Hello. If you have leaks, it is best to determine what fluids are leaking. Engine coolant usually has a green or orange color, depending on the type of coolant used. It is usually sweet-smelling, if it is relatively clean. Engine oil has no particular odor, and is usually tinted brown, or may be black if it requires changing. Transmission oil for automatics is usually tinted red, and also has no odor. Gear oil on manual transmissions and differentials, is usually dark green or black, and has a significant sulfur odor.

Cleaning the drivetrain top and bottom will help to find the source of the leaks. If the vehicle has been sitting for a while, gaskets and seals get dry and harden, causing the following parts to fail: front and rear crankshaft seals, oil pan gaskets, water pump seals, transmission input and output shaft seals, and transmission oil pan gaskets. There are so many potential causes, it is best to clean everything up before making a detailed inspection. Auto parts stores have dyes in different colors, including florescent colors that can be seen with a black light kit, but these are expensive, so it’s probably best to hire a qualified technician to correctly diagnose and repair your leaking fluids.

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