Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: It started an oily substance leak but oil level reads full. It soaked a piece of cardboard and gravel underneath in one night.

asked by on

It started an oily substance leak but oil level reads full. In one night it totally soaked a huge piece of cardboard and gravel underneath. Oil pan and other parts of car are wet as well but as I said oil level reads full. What other things can cause an oily substance leak?

My car has 140000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Even though the level reads full, it could ...

Even though the level reads full, it could still be an oil leak. It only takes a very small amount of oil to make a huge mess. Even just a few ounces would make a huge mess, but would be hard to distinguish the loss of it on a dipstick. It could also be transmission fluid, power steering fluid, or even potentially brake fluid. I would check all of your fluid levels, and make sure that they are full.

Next time leave a white napkin on top of the cardboard, to help determine what color the leaking fluid is. Red to dark red fluid is usually automatic transmission fluid, golden brown to dark brown is usually engine oil or potentially power steering fluid, and light amber fluid is usually brake fluid, though could also be power steering fluid.

Since it seems as though the leak could be severe, it should be diagnosed by a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They can then also evaluate the severity of the leak and provide a repair suggestion and if you can wait or not.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Heater core or head gasket 2001 Ford Mustang

Hi there - from your symptom description, it sounds like there may be a blown head gasket or cracked head/block, leaking into a cylinder or the exhaust (i.e. not into the crankcase). Check the coolant for the presence of combustion...

Q: Fuel tank leak

Fuel tanks can not be repaired. If one is found to be leaking or damaged it should be replaced before continuing to drive the vehicle. A proper gas tank inspection should be performed to ensure no other damage has come...

Q: transmission shifting rough

Hi there, thanks for writing in about your 2004 Cadillac DeVille. Hard shifting can be caused by several items. I don't feel like the pickup screens are contributing to your concern. The transmission uses hydraulic pressure to control the shifts....

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.