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Q: Leaking fluid on driveway, isn’t engine oil

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My 2008 Ford Escape started leaking oil in my driveway the other day. I thought that maybe an oil line or something came loose, but when I checked I didn’t see anything leaking under the hood. I read online that the transmission cooler on this year Escape was prone to breaking and causing the fluid to leak out. I am pretty disappointed, as my vehicle has less than 55,000 miles on it. Does this sound like a failed transmission cooler or should I have a more thorough inspection done?

The main thing to consider in your situation would be the color of the oil that is leaking onto your driveway. If the oil is golden, brown, or black it could be engine oil. If the color of the fluid is red of any shade than it is indeed transmission fluid. One way to know for sure if your transmission is leaking would be to note how the vehicle drives. If shifts do not feel as precise as before or if your RPMs go up and you don’t feel the vehicle accelerating, then you likely have a transmission leak. I would recommend against driving the vehicle for a long period of time however as this could cause internal damage to the transmission. Having an expert mechanic from YourMechanic inspect your vehicle for leaking transmission fluid would be the first step to resolving your issue. Transmission cooler lines are usually fairly easy to see so the mechanic performing the inspection should have an answer for you relatively quickly. If the transmission cooler lines are not the issue, there may be another leak in the transmission somewhere or even a power steering leak. Be sure to have your entire transmission and power steering systems inspected before making a repair decision. Also, be sure that the correct type of fluid gets put back in your vehicle after the repair has been completed. On Ford Escapes the transmission and power steering system both require Mercon V transmission fluid.

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