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Q: Fluid leak.

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I noticed a substantial fluid leak under my car. I checked the oil and transmission fluid levels and all are ok. It doesn't smell like oil or transmission fluid. Can you tell me what you think this is?

My car has 3500 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: If you are positive that the fluid leaking ...

If you are positive that the fluid leaking from under your vehicle is not oil or transmission fluid, this would leave a few options remaining as to what could be leaking from your vehicle. The other fluids that your vehicle has would be engine and electric motor coolant and brake fluid.

  • If brake fluid were leaking from your vehicle, braking performance would decrease and other symptoms may exist.

  • If you had engine coolant leaking from your vehicle you may experience a sweet smell and the coolant is usually pinkish in color on hybrid vehicles.

  • The final possibility is that you may have just seen water leaking from your evaporator drain tube while your air conditioning was running.

It is a common misconception that something is leaking from the vehicle. The evaporator for your A/C system is located under the dash. When the A/C is running, the evaporator sweats like a cold soda can on a 100 degree day. This water gets drained through a drain tube and lands on the ground under your vehicle.

Hopefully that is all you were seeing. I suggest having a qualified mobile mechanic come to your home or office to inspect the leak and quote the best path to repair.

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